9.08.2010

A Wild Ride in the Great Salt Lake

I met Gordon and Julian Riley at Black Rock this morning at 7:00am for a swim in the Great Salt Lake.  Julian drove all the way up from Provo and we were glad to have him join us on our adventure.

When I first pulled up the weather was relatively calm and the water looked fairly smooth.  By the time we got ready and walked down to the beach, the wind had picked up and was causing some small waves in the water.  After we waded into the water and started swimming, the wind really picked up and I found myself "body surfing" towards the marina.

The water was not as clear as last time we swam the same course.  I think it was partly due to the wind and partly due to being later in the season.  The water was also noticeably cooler and was probably in the upper 60's (which to me felt great).

I think it must have been Julian's first time swimming in the Great Salt Lake and he was amazed at how high up on the water you float without a wetsuit.  At one point he looked over at me and said it looked like half of my body was out of the water.

We continued on past the marina and followed the line of five deep channel buoys.  At the fifth buoy we took a break and had some Gatorade (mostly to get the taste of salt out of our mouths) before turning around.  The wind was still pretty strong, only now we were swimming into it.  More than once I looked up to sight only to have a wave crash into my face.

At about the third buoy on the way back I noticed that the top of my head was getting cold.  I wondered if my cap had broken and was letting water in.  When I stopped to see what was going on, I found that my cap had come nearly all of the way off and was only being held on by the straps of my goggles.  Instead of trying to put it back on, I tucked it into my suit and kept going.  Not having a cap made it a little harder for Julian to see me and in retrospect, I probably should have tried to put it back on.  The only reason I even wear a cap is for safety and to make myself visible.

At one point we went into some pretty shallow water and I found my hands brushing the bottom of the lake as I pulled.  I am always amazed at how shallow the lake is.  At one point Gordon stopped me to wait for Julian and we both stood up on the bottom until he caught up with us.

We ended up swimming about 5K and I stopped my watch at 1:36.  Not a bad time considering stops for Gatorade and the rough water.

When we got back to the beach, my Crocs and one of Julian's flip flops had blown away.

Swimming in the Great Salt Lake is always an adventure and something than every open water swimmer should experience.  Each time I swim in it's salty waters, I get more excited about the Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon Swim that Gordon and I are planning for 2011.

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