This past weekend Jamie Patrick hosted 50-some-odd swimmers, spouses, children, and pets at his vacation cottage in Lake County, north of Napa Valley. While the majority of guests hailed from the nearby Bay Area, others journeyed from more far-flung locations: Darren from Pittsburgh, Michelle from Florida, Bob from Portland, and Gords & Goody from Utah.
The event was nominally a Swim Camp - and indeed, many of the campers have big plans this season: the English Channel for Gords and Jen; Catalina for Goody; Tsugaru for Darren; Paul’s insane Sea of Cortez swim; and of course Jamie’s own circumnavigation of Tahoe.
But even before rumors of a mysterious itch-inducing substance in the lake, I had no ambitious training plans. I was more interested in the people and conversation – making new friends and re-connecting with old ones. I executed reasonably well on this goal.
Friday morning we caravan-ed to nearby Clear Lake, which offered cooler waters and more room to roam. The previous evening, Jen and I discovered we have a pretty good tandem-swimming rhythm together, so we partnered up for the morning.
After some initial chaos and confusion (nobody had any idea where we were going), our group - Jen, myself, Steve Munatones, Lexie, and Paul Lundgren - settled into a comfortable groove. We swam about 5km in one direction in 1hr15min. Then the pontoon boat (piloted alternately by Jamie, Vito, and Vito’s unbearably obnoxious dog Luigi) instructed us to turn around and swim back.
It was a glorious swim. Jen and I swam stroke-for-stroke, often for 20-30 minutes at a time without pausing. Such great fun! I’ve never experienced a more refreshing 10K in my life. Despite two hours of sleep the previous night, I was neither tired nor sore at the end. I think I could have swum all day.
The morning didn’t go quite so smoothly for some. One trio of swimmers got left behind at the far end of the lake, without access to nutrition. They ended up hitchhiking back to the marina. I’ll let Goody tell that story. In the end, everyone was safe and (I hope) lessons were learned.
Aside from the Clear Lake swim, my total training for the weekend included a single 1.2-mile lap of Jamie’s lake Thursday evening, another lap Saturday morning with Cathy, and a clothing-optional out-and-back group swim Thursday night. Like I said - I wasn’t really there for training.
Sunday morning seemed to arrive too soon, and it was time for Rob and me to head back down the coast to our respective homes. It was a long drive, but all the good memories swirling about seemed to compress the miles.
Thanks to Jamie for opening your home to us, and organizing this ridiculously fun weekend.
Until next year!