Lake Erie a no-go

I’m usually not one to back down from a race. So, my decision to scratch yesterday’s 2-mile Lake Erie Open-Water Swim was not without regrets.

I had some chores to take care of down in Columbus before the renters move in to our house. I figured, instead of returning the same way I came (through Indianapolis), I’d swing through Cleveland and reward my hard work with the Lake Erie swim, which is part of the GLOWS series.

I made it up to Cleveland Friday evening, but soon after checking into the hotel I opened my laptop and read some disturbing news: A “swim advisory” at Edgewater State Park – the beach just west of downtown Cleveland where the swim would take place. Elevated E. coli levels, apparently.

Now, Cleveland has cleaned up its act in recent decades – recall the 1969 Cuyahoga River Fire – but this was not what I wanted to hear. On top of the Friday swim advisory, there was also a large thunderstorm making its way through town at that very moment. Meaning even worse water quality the next morning.

82 people showed up to swim Saturday morning (of 99 registered), but I was not among them. I was already on my way back to Chicago. Did I make a mountain of a molehill? Perhaps. Yesterday’s E. coli reading (reported today) came out at 63 CFU, well below the state threshold of 235. So it was probably safe to swim.

No doubt, I’ve unknowingly exposed myself to much worse water-borne dangers than Lake Erie had to offer that morning. But that’s the way it goes – under uncertain conditions, I made a decision. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of racing left on my summer schedule.

Race Report: USMS 10K Championship (Noblesville, IN)

RESULTS posted here.

The final USMS Open-Water Championship of the year – a 10K at Morse Reservoir in Noblesville, Indiana – was impeccably organized, highly competitive, and set in a gorgeous location. In short, everything a successful open-water event should be.

But Dick Sidner and NASTI went above and beyond. From the boat tours of the course, the loaded goody bags, the detailed pre-race briefing, the generous sponsor gifts, to the efficient hydration/feeding procedures, the friendly and encouraging volunteers, the large shade tent, the delicious post-race lunch – all the details were just right. One expects a certain amount of fly-by-the-seat-of-pants organizing at open-water events, but this one was smooth from start to finish – a gold standard for all future hosts of the 10K Championship.

It was both the most enjoyable and most painful open-water event I’ve ever participated in.

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Race Report: USMS 2-mile Cable Championship (Charlottesville, VA)

RESULTS posted here (PDF).

The 2-mile Cable Champs at Chris Greene Lake was another “surgical strike.” Fly in one evening, swim the next morning, fly out the same evening. It’s not my favorite way to do things – I would have loved to check out UVA and Monticello, for instance – but my budget (time, financial, and marital!) dictated that I get back to Chicago in time for dinner.

Continue reading “Race Report: USMS 2-mile Cable Championship (Charlottesville, VA)”