Day 16 – 3rd training swim in Dover

Swim stats today

  • 1.5 hours
  • Serious chop, especially on the east side of the harbor
  • 200 gulls, zero fishies

Hello from Dover! Another nice swim today. Might head out for a night swim close to sun-down. Due to the relatively high latitude of Dover (and England itself) the sun rises earlier and sets later than much of the USA. Sun rises here at 5AM and sets at 915PM. Nice long days for swim workouts.

On the home front, the last days have involved a lot of time cooking around the house and some hanging out by the beach and swimming. Here are some pics and a vid of both.

Warning: Seriously boredom inducing video to follow. If you watch 2 seconds of it you’ll get a taste for the conditions.

Day 9 – Sherwood Forest

Ride stats today

  • Leeds to Nottingham
  • 75 miles
  • 1800 feet climbed
  • 1000 sheep. Some cows. 63 pigs.
  • 2 nuclear reactors

Our route took us through Sherwood Forest, which was fun for me. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again riding through Sherwood Forest into Nottingham!

Today was a pretty nice day.  It’s a shame that as we come further south our surroundings are less desolate and the roadways are much more populated.  As a result, we spend more time concentrating and less time enjoying our environment.  Weather today was beautiful.  Winds were calm most of the day, and there was only a 15 minute patch of rain that we unintentionally but fortunately avoided on our lunch break.

To say these last 3 days have been tough would be an understatement.  Mentally, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome.  Physically the back-to-back-to-back days of punishing terrain and distance were difficult.  I can’t tell you how many times over the past several months, I’ve cursed the name of Mike Kuhn, our coach (another link) as I opened the dreaded email that laid out the workout for the day.  “Tell me again why I’m riding 6 hrs today  I just did 4 yesterday.”  Today it’s clear.  This guy isn’t just a sadist. He had a method to his madness.  It was good to finish this segment of the ride and still feel pretty strong (and injury free!)

Tomorrow we’ll rest up and take care of some minor aches and pains and then it’s on to Cambridge.

Vetta VL110HRA shout-out to Vetta, especially our friend Kin-Joe Sham, Marketing Manager. Vetta makes cycling computers and tools for our bicycles. The cycling computers kept our cadence on steady and the tools kept our bikes moving. Check out this video of us using their tool to compact tool on the road.

A second shout-out to Best Western Westminster in Nottingham, especially their manager Phil Rea who made us feel so at home. The hotel had a lovely sitting room and the best restaurant service we had during our entire trip. Nothing is better after a long ride than a hot bowl of soup and a funny and doting wait staff. 312 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG5 2EF, +44-115-9555000

Two upcoming open water swims

house.jpgSorry for the radio/blog silence. I was driving cross-country in my Jeep & Trailer. What a gorgeous drive!

I moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco. I’m new here, and one of the big parts of moving for me is finding a new place to workout. I know about the Dolphin Swim Club in San Francisco, so I went there to check on their latest activities. While I was at the Dolphin Club I heard about two upcoming open water swims.

Both swims are open water swims. Both are relatively short (1-2 miles). And I’ll be doing both with my friend Paul who works at Facebook. I’m super stoked about both! It will be a fun way for us to mix-up workouts, and a good way for me to get in the race mindset prior to the English Channel, which is coming up SOON!

Sunday, June 1 2008
Tri Valley Masters
Lake Del Valle

Livermore, CA
.75 mile (8:00AM)
1.5 mile (9:00AM)

Saturday, June 7 2008
Davis Aquatic Masters
Lake Berryessa
Napa, CA
2 mile (9:30AM)
1 mile (11:25AM)

The Schuylkill is Rippin’

I’m back in Philly for finals this week, and it has been a perfect opportunity to get back in my favorite river for a few good workouts. I took a sunset swim for about an hour on Tuesday sans Neal. He was busy trying to figure out why his Jeep can’t go over 35 mph without violently shaking as if it were about to come from together…an important detail to take care of before he attempts to haul a trailer and all he owns from Philadelphia to San Francisco. The swim was beautiful, although it was by far the most awkward workout of the season. Apparently this section of the river is quite busy on Tuesday evenings. Everyone from collegiate rowers in high-end shells to corporate outings on 8-person flat-bottomed canoes stopped to gawk at me like I was nuts. My only hope was to just keep swimming and pretend that they weren’t staring at me and talking. One husband and wife stopped within five feet of me and just watched for several minutes. I was listening to music, so I couldn’t hear their conversation, but I couldn’t help but crack a smile. They just laughed and paddled on. I was happy to be finished with the workout until, as I was climbing up the river bank, I was greeted by a friendly bicycle cop who hassled me about the safety of swimming in the river because of the unpredictable currents. Apparently when it is about to rain, the current shifts and runs in the opposite direction. I just said ok. Though I would have loved to hear his explanation as to how this shift affects the water falls that lie about 1 mile down stream, I was tired and wanted to go home.

s_river.jpgYesterday Neal and I jumped in for a 2 hour swim. We were a little disconcerted to look down at the Suunto and see that the water temperature had risen to a balmy 63 degrees over the last week! Aakk! We’re getting coddled here in the states! Mark Robson and the rest of the gang over in the UK will have some ammo to lob at us now that they’ve been organizing Dover swims that are still in the 50’s. In our favor, though, is the fact that we were swimming up stream against a mighty current. The stone bridge supports pictured are about 10-15 yards in width. Without exaggeration, it took 2 1/2 minutes to pass the supports. I think I was moving backwards at times. I literally felt as if I was working out in one of those endless pools. Every breath I took, I was looking at the same stone as the breath before. Take that, Brits! (Disclaimer: There are no head currents during the Channel swim so this workout actually gives us no describable advantage).

Incidentally there have been several conversations across both swimming and multi-sport messasuunto.jpgge boards regarding watches. My 2 cents: I love the Suunto. I have the T6. If you are looking for a simple, no-nonsense watch this is probably not the watch for you. The T6 is good because I can use it with everything. Temperature is great for the water. It syncs with an HR belt to keep track of my heart rate and can be set to keep me in zone. It syncs with my bike and measures speed/distance etc. It syncs with my GPS and can track speed/distance/altitude etc. This feature is more useful for mapping out hikes or mountain bike trips. It also syncs with a “Foot Pod” and tracks speed and distance of the run workouts. All workouts are saved to the watch and can be uploaded to a computer in seconds with a maneuverable and graphical output for easy analysis. I’ll try to put a full review together in the near future.

Swimming in snow

I’m here in Denver for my sister’s wedding (yay!). Before the festivities began I got an early morning workout. I found a lake nearby called Union Reservoir. There were inland pelicans, 3-foot swells and snow. Perfect!!! I swam for 90 minutes in the 48-degree water (34-degree air). Three things happened that I learned from:

  1. Swimming in the same direction as the waves makes you feel like you’re drowning. Waves force the legs down into the water. That provides a downward pulling sensation that caught me off-guard at first (i.e. I thought I was going to die).
  2. The altitude here means I breath more – obvious and true.
  3. My right hand cramped open, preventing me from scooping the water. This made me swim crooked and more slowly than usual. I kept up a 2 mph pace by kicking more. I hope the hand cramping was a one-time thing.

As always, here are some pictures to lend credibility to my crazy yarns.


ABC’s of Fitness Trends

ABCs of Fitness Trends

Everyone wants a healthy lifestyle. There are new trends that help a healthy lifestyle fit into our day-to-day. I put together a list of what I think are THE leading-edge fitness trends; and just for fun I put them to the ABCs. I am involved in most of these trends, but not all (there are 7 that I’m not involved in). I will let you all postulate in the comments which of the ABCs I do not do. 🙂

A for Adventure races – like 10 Degrees!
B for Balance training (taichi, yoga and pilates)
C for Creatine
D for Dry-land training for swimmers, or the reverse
E for Eating breakfast – eating early makes you thin at night
F for Fixed-gear bicycles – brakes are for flakes
G for Google map your next run
H for Halfsizes – restaurant portions are twice the FDA recommendation
I for Intense workouts trumping long workouts
J for Juice bars
K for Ketone breath avoidance
L for Lactive threshold (LT) training
M for Mind/body exercise (yoga, tai chi, and qigong)
N for Navy Seal bootcamp-style training
O for Online videoconferencing allows group training at home
P for Power meters for bikes
Q for Quest-based adventures (7 Summits, et al)
R for Recovery drinks
S for Stability balls
T for Thule roof racks to bring your kit with you
U for Underwater MP3 players for swimming/surfing
V for Video analysis packages for bike fits like Dartfish
W for Wrist computers to track workouts
X for Xtreme sports
Y for Yoga
Z for Zucchini