Swim Report – December 22, 2013 – Happy Winter 2013!

For the first winter swim of 2013, I decided to hightail it on down to the south wall at Montrose Beach. And that turned out to be the best possible spot given a very vigorous east wind that made most of the lakefront unswimmable.

The lake temp came in identical to the air temp – both at a brisk 33F. Fortunately, the ladders were clear of ice, so getting in and out was no challenge at all.

It was just me initially, so I climbed down into the water and started swimming east with the current. Shortly after, Martin showed up and joined me in the lake.

We swam westward into the current for about 1/4 mile before heading back. Although we had some decent sized swells, they were pretty easy to navigate since we were nowhere near the shore area where they were breaking.

I got out as soon as my fingertips started to get uncomfortably cold. After I changed out of my neoprene, I went back to the lakefront just in time to see Martin do a quick swim without a wetsuit. Kudos to him, but I’ll wait until next time!

Swim entry point – complete with my morning coffee

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Martin arrives!

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In-swim shot

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Foggy vista

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Blue skies – for an instant

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Martin in the lake for an encore

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Back on dry land

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Swim video clips!

Swim Report – December 15, 2013 – Deep Freeze

We’ve officially hit the “slush zone” out at the lakefront. The lake temp came in at a crisp 32F/33F – far warmer than the 17F air temperature. And it’s still not even winter yet!

Anyway, after debating the best way to navigate the Arctic-like ice masses on the shoreline, Nick, Mike, and I were able to get in a 1/4 mile swim before having to turn back.

Once again, the only factors limiting our time out there were the cold on our fingertips and the pack ice that we ran into (literally) at the half way point. Otherwise, we could have been out there for hours!

Deliberating the entry point

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The gateway

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Nick and Mike at the swim start

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At the half way point – and in the giant Slurpee!

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A casualty of the ice!

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Today’s video compilation

Swim Report – December 13, 2013 – New Ice Monster!

Dave and Mike met up with new Lake/Ice Monster Helen earlier today out at Tower Beach. Helen first gave it a whirl in her wetsuit, but then decided to forego the neoprene altogether for a 5 minute swim – which probably felt like an eternity in the 33F lake!

Regardless, since you got in a swim in the sub-35F zone, you’ve earned your Ice Monster stripes, Helen!

Helen, Lake Monster 283 and Ice Monster 13 (congrats!)

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Dodging the ice

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Helen and Dave post-swim

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Swim video

Swim Report – December 1, 2013 – Happy December!

Dave and I met out at Tower Beach this morning for my first sub-40F swim of the year. The lake temp came in at a crisp 38F, and the weatherman lied to us about the calm conditions – it was pretty choppy! Nevertheless, we got in a quick swim, and I got to test out my new gloves. Fortunately, they held out this time!

Tower Beach

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Dave post-swim

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Yours truly with the “winter crate”

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This morning’s video:

Veterans Day 2013

Be sure to thank a veteran today.

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Swim Report – November 3, 2013 – Still in the temperate zone

Five of us met out at the lakefront for our first swim of November. The air temp was a biting 36F, but we had clear skies and no wind – a good sign. We were all expecting the water temperature to come in at around 48F, but instead it produced an amazing 51F.

As with last week, I decided to do only a 1/2 mile. The entry at Oak Street Beach was as bracing as ever, but I had the sun on my right the entire slog back to L1.

None of us dawdled much after getting out of the water. We packed on layers and drank lots of hot beverages while running in place and shaking out our arms and legs in a futile attempt to stave off the afterdrop.

But it was all worth it, as you can see by the pics!

November sunrise

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Long shadows

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Post-swim

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Another bright and clear autumn morning!

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Pre-swim video:

Swim Report – October 27, 2013 – Still above 50F!

We’re still above 50F in the lake, folks! The air temperature, though, was a different story at a rather arctic 35F…

A resilient group of Lake Monsters met out at L1 at around 7:15am – just in time to catch a dazzling sunrise. I want sans wetsuit this time and decided to only do a 1/2 mile from the beach back to L1.

The 50.5F lake was a bit of a shock at first, but I was fine after about two minutes. I did cheat a little with some petroleum jelly slathered rather liberally on my neck and torso, but it most certainly did take the edge off of the cold during the swim.

After the swim, there was the predictable afterdrop which creeped in after about 10 minutes. But I had some strong coffee – and some intense sunshine – that managed to keep that beast at bay for the most part.

Hope to see more of you out at the lake soon!

Fall colors

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Sunrise!

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Lake Monsters pre-swim

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Mike and Jane, Lake Monsters 281 and 282 (way to go!)

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Sunrise video!

Swim Report – October 19, 2013 – The Big Chill Arrives…

Indian Summer was fun while it lasted…

It sure felt like a true fall morning out at L1 with the overcast skies and the 46F air temperature. Indeed, we all were a bit lethargic at the start – and quite reluctant to leave the comfort of our sweaters and parkas. But we somehow managed to muster enough courage to get in the 56F lake. And once we did, we were glad we took the plunge.

The lake was mirror flat and amazingly clear. So it was easy to get a decent swim rhythm going without having to burn excess energy fighting off swells or chops. And while the sun stayed behind the cloud bank the entire time we were in the water, it did come out in full force later on.

Just in time to help take the edge off of the afterdrop!

Chilly skyline

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Taking the plunge

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The sun finally comes out – after the swim, of course!

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Gary, Lake Monster 280 (congrats!)

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Self-portrait in the “aquarium”

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One last look back!

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Pre-swim video

Swim Report – October 12, 2013 – Sunrise!

Once again, we beat the storms!

Ma Nature gave us a crisp and choppy lake at 7:00am, so things were a bit slow going at first since it was almost impossible to get a decent swim rhythm. But she made up for her fickleness with yet another amazing sunrise which provided the perfect backdrop to our journey to Oak Street Beach.

All in all, there were around 15 of us who made it out to L1 – including new Lake Monsters John, Mandie, and Maryvonne. Below are some pics from the swim. More are coming, so be sure the check back again!

Skyline at daybreak

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Lake Monsters!

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L1 at sunrise

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Catching the show

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Time to get in!

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John, Lake Monster 277 (congrats!)

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Mandie, Lake Monster 278 (congrats!)

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Maryvonne, Lake Monster 279, hailing all the way from France (congrats!)

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Sunrise video:

Swim Report – October 5, 2013 – Summer Redux

In an eerie coincidence, the lake temperature once again came in at a reading of 66.6F – identical to that from last Saturday. However, we had none of the frustrating chops, and only a very slight swell. So, buoyed by the unexpectedly high water temperature reading – not to mention the astonishingly perfect sunny skies and 71F air temperature – the whole group of us eagerly jumped into the lake.

By the time we all hit Oak Street Beach, the sun was blazing in full glory, making the return swim even more spectacular. After getting back to the beacon-like L1, a few of us hung around for a while and chatted. The storms were not forecasted until later in the afternoon, so we all took full advantage of the perfect weather while it lasted.

All in all, Ma Nature decided to give us a bonus summer day out at the lake. So I hope you at least got out there to enjoy it!

Daybreak

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Sunrise

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Back at L1

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One more quick dip!

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Robert, Lake Monster 275 (congrats!)

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Jenna, Lake Monster 276 (congrats!)

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Before the swim