Sunday, July 30, 2017

Schwimmflugel? Schadenfreude?

Big weekend.

Elk Lake Swim Series: five races from 500m to 5000m over three days. I did this beast a few years back and had a ball. Now that I'm training for a marathon, my sea legs aren't cooperating, so I'm a volunteer.

Two roles:
Camp Host: be the Shell Answer Man for the hordes in the reserved campground. Act lordly. Punish miscreants.

Safety Spotter: no better way to see the races than from a standup paddleboard.

Setting up camp. I didn't know that a full mattress would fit into a two person tent.

Large square peg in a small round hole, sort of

It actually fits! Barely...

Here's my estate...

 And my trusty steed...

My tent, my trees, my foot...

I left the rain fly off this time, wanting to see the stars. They didn't disappoint.

A record 240 swimmers registered, so the camp ground was very full.

The pretty and calm.

The 5k swim was the national championship. About half the states were represented.

Did I mention the scenery? That's South Sister, hellacious climb, and also a good view from up there.

I was camped next to some of the same Portland folks from last year. Lots of fun catching up.

Scot had a rather unique injury healing. He did a race a few weeks ago in which he wore a timing chip on his ankle...he has an unconventional kick in which his legs cross each other, and the chip on one leg wore a hole in his other shin!

Scot is around my age, a UOklahoma grad. I asked if he was in Stillwater during the Bozworth years. Oh yeah, he said: Boz would stop at Scot's frat when the beer was flowing.

and my apologies, Scot: I meant to say Norman, not OSU Stillwater. That's like mixing up Pitt and Penn State!

Judging by the buoy supplier, our race organizers are not following the 'Make America Great Again' doctrine.

Wearing the proper US Naval Academy colors, of course.

Back in school, our swimsuits were very unflattering speedo-types that we called 'grape smugglers.' I like my new gear better.

Also rocking my vintage Team RadioShack cycling hat...

Because you never know when you'll have to throw down with the peloton. 

Earlier this morning, I did a hardcore workout with the heavy jump rope. During the 3000m swim in choppy water, my legs reminded me that I'm not 25 anymore.

And after the last swimmer passed me in the 500m race, I quickly grabbed my goggles and did my own 500m before the buoys were pulled. Felt a lot better than I imagined, given that I haven't swam a stroke since January.

Years ago, I read a great book called "Gold in the Water", a chronicle of an elite swim team near Stanford as they trained for the 2000 Olympics. One of the top members was a guy named Kurt Grote, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Games.

He showed up this weekend...

I knew who he was as soon as I heard the name. Kurt was training for the Olympics while a full time med school student!! How is that possible? And he's the nicest guy in the world.

A couple of women in the campsite are serious, serious triathletes. In addition to swimming 11,000m over three days, they used the relative downtime of Saturday afternoon to ride their bikes four hours! (and you thought I was crazy). Afterward, one of them asked if I was a bike, but I play one on tv. Her shifting was all buggered up, so I showed her how to use the barrel adjusters to fix the problem on the fly. She was quite grateful...

Scot (with the leg wound) has unique ideas about camping....

cannolis? Not s'mores?

And he didn't sleep in a tent, preferring instead to commute the 40 miles each way to civilized accommodations in Bend.

The rest of us...

One of the swimmers was an Olympian water polo player, and she was an absolute beast. Consistently top 10 overall in each race, what a motor.

Some vintage shirts for sale at $5 apiece, so I bought a few...

Looks like a backwards Italy...campground was to the far right of the little toe, so I'd ride the paddleboard to the start below the '5000m' at the bottom. 

My absolute favorite...that's Coach Bob with the antlers. He has made lots of deadweight into real swimmers over the years, self included.

There was a very large man competing; guy had to run 300 pounds. Yet he was out there grinding away....during the 5000m swim, he was dead last, but there's no hurry. As he came past me on the final lap, I realize he has clear goggles, and he stares at me as he trudges past. I expect to see the same eyes Captain Quint had when the Jaws shark bit down....I'll spare you the video....

Nope. This guy was just punching the clock. Nice work, my man. He completed all 5 swims and got his Survivor mug.

Ted wins the prize for best post-race hair.

Last year, local world class triathlete Jesse Thomas entered the 5k swim as a training day for the Hawaii Ironman. He had a hard bike/run day yesterday, and told himself he'll do the swim if he woke up on his own. He didn' he simply went to the pool and had the water pretty much to himself. Then he brought the fam up to the lake for some play time.

Jesse made aviator sunglasses popular again!
Tiring weekend....and I didn't race at all.


Friday, July 28, 2017

More fun on two wheels...

the race had potential for disaster. 

16 mile loop. Men do 5 laps, women do 3. Women start 50 minutes after the men. 

there was also a men's cat 2/3 race that started after the pros. 

15 min before women started, I hear all sorts of spectator shouts (the start was around 400 yards off the main loop). I say to my official, I think the men just passed. he looks at his watch and says, no it's too soon. 

no, it's not. 

by the time we started, the men were halfway thru their second lap. I think this could be a mess at the end, two races converging. 

with 8 miles left in the women's race, we're hearing position reports on the men. They are coming up fast. 

with 3k to go, we hit a road that has a divided median for 2k. Each group is supposed to stay to the right. But that won't work with two separate pelotons. Quick decision made: women will go to the left, men go right of the median. 

Police notified. Ok. 

I confirm with my official, then go left. As soon as we are on the left of the barrier (against the flow of normal traffic), we hear frantic calls for women to stay on the right. 

too late. 

The police shut down all vehicles not in the race, and we were fine. However, the men started passing the women's field behind us (we had a breakaway), and I also heard reports for the caravan (team cars) to  STOP. 

this is inside 2 miles left. The riders are cranking it up, while cars are going left, right, stopping. 


I turn off the main loop for the finish line 300m up. Some volunteer is motioning for me to turn off the final stretch. ????? No, Officials cars drive straight thru the finish. 

Right then, the men's and women's pack completely converge. Just a mess!

However, no accidents from what I can tell. The police did a great job. 

Big screwup; the women should have started IMMEDIATELY after the men's field completed one lap. 

no harm, no foul. But a very interesting final lap!

I had a good official. he gave very clear directions. The only bummer was that our car didn't have a sunroof, so he had to sit behind me. Felt a little too much like chauffering. 

pretty hot, too. Tough day for the riders.