Sunday, December 19, 2010

Triple Crown PCC Aquatics Center

Peninsula Community Center Pool
We already swam the middle leg.   I started my swim with a bunch of my fellow Masters swimmers at 6am last Saturday.  Before the day was done, we set a new record with 64 swimmers in the pool at once.  I got out of the pool, having finished 7,500 meters for the Christmas swim, celebrated with my buds, and home by 9:30 am.  BAM.

What's the Triple Crown?
It's a fun event we do at PCC Masters, and I think it's something that many Master's teams do.  It's a holiday event, with swims on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.  Actually, the Christmas swim is on an alternate day, ours was last Saturday.  Each day has a longer distance at each of the three levels.  To accommodate all our swimmers, we have 2 start times.  I usually do the early one, 6am.

Here's my guess at the meters at each level:

Level/Day             Thanksgiving             Christmas            New Years Day
Bronze                       1,500                           2,500                       3,500
Silver                         3,500                           5,000                       6,500
Gold                           5,000                           7,500                     10,000
The gold levels equate to 3 miles, 4.6 miles, and 6.2 miles on New Year's Day.  That's at least 3.5hrs for me.

Jib Jab with Tim
I took this picture after our workout.   You can see two people still in the hot tub.   Notice all 6 lanes of the pool.  I've been swimming lane 4 lately.  Each lane is a progressively faster pace, lane 5 being the fastest, and lane 6 is available as needed.  When you think about 64 swimmers in this pool at once, it's well, amazing.

Typical Workout on the board

Here's a typical workout.  You can see we do all strokes.  Anything from 25 meters, to 400 meter swims.  All said, including 500 meter warm-up, 2,900 meters for those in the faster lanes.  The number matrix shows times for each length.  The numbers closest to the left are for the faster lanes.  For example, top left in the 2nd set (#2) is 600 which means 6 minutes for 1x 400 meters.  That's a 1:30 pace per 100 meters.  Pretty rockin for me, and I am happy to say, I made it!

PCC Pool
A couple more shots- This shows our coach, Mike on the pool deck.  The motto sounds a lot like Mike's motto for us.  It's incredibly straight-forward, yet incredibly life-changing.  "Get in, go back and forth."

Double Jib Jab
Swimming has become an integral part of my life.  It seems every day I swim is a good day.  Every other day may be too, it's just those swim days seem particularly special.  Here's a couple pictures on the 7 minute drive to the pool.

Cranberry Noels, Cherry Chocolate Chunk, revisited

Cranberry Noels, candy cane and Christmas tree cookies

We made these last year, and the year before, and the year before.  The recipe is here.
Cherry Chocolate Chunk cookies
These cookies are so delicious.  Huge chunks of chocolate and bing cherries.  These are also a recipe from previous Christmas cookie cooking sprees.  The recipe is here.

Jib Jab with Tim
It was really fun making these cookies.  It's really helped me get into the holiday spirit.  These are some of the best holiday cookies I've ever had.  My sister-in-law introduced us to them several years ago.

Cranberry Noels
These are incredible cookies.  Such an awesome combination of butter, sugar, cranberries, coconut and pecans.  There are a couple techniques and tricks to keep in mind. First, when you roll them out, make the dough thin.  Also, you are going to tend toward browning them.  DONT.  These are best if you don't brown them.  It's really a balancing act, between thin and making sure you don't brown em.  In the end, these go in the premium cookie section.  They are a step above the traditional chocolate chip or sugar or snickerdoodle cookie.

One more note.  I used sweetened coconut from the grocery store.  Later, I was at Whole Foods, and they have a much better selection of coconut in the bulk section.  It looks a lot fresher and it's less expensive.  The more I shop at Whole Foods, the more I think it's not only better food, and better choices, but often less expensive. 

Cherry Chocolate Chunk

Another totally premium cookie.  Bring these out for your special family and friends.  :-)  If you have had them, you know who I am talking about.  If not, ask for them.  They are a special treat.  These are a combination of intense cocoa, sour cherry, and big chunks of bittersweet chocolate chunks.

Trader Joe's has the dried cherries and the huge bittersweet bars.  They do a 500 gram bar, which is a bit over 16oz.  It's bittersweet with almonds.  I crushed the chocolate into really large chunks, which is tasty, just messy if they are still warm.

All said, these are going to make a nice gift for our neighbors, if the rain breaks long enough to deliver...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I love our new patio

It's not finished yet, but every day, I like it more and more. We have a craftsman/artist building it. It is a concrete patio, which sounds incredibly common. The thing is, it's going to be totally contemporary and unique.

Conscapes Landscape and Concrete Construction
Working with Rick has been an inspiration.  He's an artist with concrete.  We originally were planning a flagstone patio.  Even now, I think that would have been beautiful.  Now, we've moved to something much more special.  It's a sculpture.  It's a highlight, a unique jewel within our home.  Rick has worked with us, to incorporate our ideas and whims, and helped us shape them into special accents, and attention to detail I can already feel.  The benches?  His idea.  Part of the pour.  Another idea he suggested?  He knew we wanted modern.  So, he says, maybe we could use stainless steel instead of the normal joints.  Sweet!  Another exciting twist?  Rick showed us some exposed stone he created in a concrete planter.  So, he took some beach finds we gave him, and embedded them in the bench.  See the lights in the stair riser and the ends of the bench.  It's a 12 V system embedded.  He embedded irrigation too, for the flush planter we'll have.  I will tell you more about the ipe river later.  It goes between the window and blue spruce.

It's been a blast.  Can't wait to do more.  The final pour is scheduled for Thursday.  Cross your fingers for no rain.
Final pour complete.  Now for the finishing touches.

Concrete in.  Non-stop rain since.

Here you see the kitchen steps, and the recess where the ipe will be, flush with the concrete. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sydney, photos

We Had a great time in Sydney, especially around Circular Quay

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Australia, tons of fun

My new possum hair sweater and cockatiel
We had such a great time in Sydney, and Melbourne, it's hard to capture the moment.  The food, arts, the scenery, the people, and the adventures.  Every day there was new excitement.  Here's some of the big memories, and actually will probably turn into their own blog posts.
Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

Landmarks-  The Rocks, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour bridge, the Opera House, Manly and Bondi beaches, and the park in Sydney, and the zoo.

Exotic (to us) food- Barramundi, Kangaroo, Crocodile, possum (just kidding! :-) )  I forget what else.  We had so much good food. 

Art- Bondi beach art walk, sculptures everywhere, Sydney art museum, Aboriginal paintings, didgeridoo, boomerangs
Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool just south of the Opera House in the Royal Botanic Gardens - that's me in the blue cap!

Pools- Well, based on input from friends, I tried the pool at Bondi, where the ocean splashes into the pool,  the best swim I have ever had in a pool.  I had great luck at the hotels as well.  Certainly the Marriott in Sydney and the Langham in Melbourne.  Both had really nice atmosphere, and views.  Both were around level 9 or so, adding some drama as well.  Then, on our way back to Sydney, Kirsty found this other fantastic pool in Sydney, on the edge of the park, by the Navy ships.  Beautiful pool, infinite-style lengthwise, then big gutters at water height front and back.  Salt water, with new, nice starting blocks, probably 7 feet deep at the starting line, and of course 50 meters, like Bondi.  Yes, overlooking the bay, but not water rushing in, like Bondi.  A new high-bar for a competitive pool.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sydney, Australia, We made it!

We arrived!  This is the view from our hotel, the Sheraton 4 Points.  We had a bit of a shuffle to get our rooms, and thank you Ravi for being so generous with yours.  We are overlooking Darling Harbour.  Just below, you can see the Botanical Gardens, and the Maritime Museum (see the submarine?)  In the background is another contemporary bridge, not the famous one by the Opera House.

A special thanks to Joyce and Jennie and Matt for all the tips and places to go.  We've now been and totally enjoyed the Circular Quay, the Rocks, the street fair in the Rocks.  We had breakfast at the City Extra Cafe.  I loved the Rocks.  Awesome shops, all of them seemed to be something special.  A few of note, Ken Done, Aboriginal paintings and didgeridoos, and boomerangs.  I also love the opals.  I was here about 10 years ago on a stopover and had 3-4 hours here.  I walked to the Opera House, and the Rocks, and a nice cappuccino.  I got some nice take homes too.  Opal jewelry for my girls at the Rock Hound, and an Aboriginal boomerang for my boy.  I digress, but it was an awesome stop then, and again today.  As exhausted as we were, we really got some good time in today, finally having a beer at O'Brians by the hotel, and realizing we better have dinner soon, as we were fading fast.  We ended up at a nice steakhouse, ironically, no one had steak, but we did have Barramundi with fennel, which was great.  Also kangaroo carpaccio and cheese souffle to name a few.  Everything was delicious!

 Sydney Cup cakes say it all.  Melbourne Cup, Boo! and I <3 U!
Iceberg Pool, Bondi Beach
Salt water 50 M pool
Auzzie size splash in the pool.  Notice the PCA swim cap?  :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Water Dog Park - The Dog - Mountain Biking in Belmont

Ray out on Water Dog Park Trail

This picture does not do this park justice.  It's an awesome little park, with lots of steeps, single track, challenging technical stuff.  No, I can not ride the whole thing without getting off in a few spots.  Yes, it seems innocuous at first.  A park behind suburbia.  You can just about see the whole thing from various vantage points in the hills.

Dropping in, almost immediately it's a grind, depending where you start.  We went around to the Ralston/Alemeda entrance, or just West and South of there.  I forget the names of the streets.  There are actually about 6-8 places to jump in.  This little park is well maintained, an incredible myriad of trails to chose from, but I don't think there are any choices where you won't get a serious ride of climbs, switchbacks, and just plain tight trails.  A full loop is probably only about an 8 mile loop, but it lends itself to doing figure 8's or any number of adaptations to get in a good length ride.  Even the 8 is worthy of a nice ride in and of itself.

Jib Jab
Dang.  For so long I have been trucking up to Marin to ride Mt Tam, with my buddies Chris and Matt.  It is riding paradise, and I really enjoy going with these guys.  Having said that, it is a haul.  For me to limit myself to riding there is nuts.  So, finally, after at least a year, I finally found Water Dog.  No, it's not Mt Tam, but yes, it's a blast!  And it's riding distance from my house.  On bike, I can be there in about 15 minutes.

This was one of two rides I did here with Ray.  I gotta comment on his attire.  Don't you love that shirt?  It's a crash dummy!  It has some silly tag on the back saying if found, put back on the trail or something.  I forget.  Oh Ray.  Heheheehe, even included a typo.  Yep, spelled cyclist with an s on the end.  Very funny.  That said, Ray is a great rider.  He rode my buns into the ground.  The first day was particularly difficult, and even the second, after a good rest, Ray powered up hills I couldn't and stayed on in the technical stuff when I would get off.  Still, it was fun, fun, fun, all the way around though.  So good to see my buddy after all these years, just hanging together and having fun.  He had new brakes and the discs were acting up, so we ended up at this other gem of Belmont.  Passion Trail Bikes.

Thanks, Ray
I know you planned me into your trip, which I really appreciate.  I hope you had as much fun as I did.  Our friendship lives on, and I felt completely rejuvenated on that front.  Ray, you are a special part of my life.

As you can see, my pictures were, well, limited.  We tried this one trail, that goes tight around the lake.  As it turns out, it wasn't a finished trail.  Ray and I went exploring anyways....  :-)

Passion Trail Bikes ***** (5 / 5 bikes)
Just like the name says.  Essentially, nice mountain bikes, parts, and accessories, and a huge shop, great people.  No kids bikes.  No road bikes.  No messing around.  You know how some quick auto lube shops have that little sitting area?  Passion does too.  And you can get a cappuccino (make your own) or you can pour yourself a delicious micro brew from Devil's Canyon Brewery, which is just a couple blocks away.  It's like a college house bachelor pad.   Yes, dirty dishes in the sink.  coffee grounds around the machine, couches looking extra worn, and a mini-fridge with a tap out the top.  Just pure enjoyment.  Such a treat.  So, we pull in here, late Saturday afternoon, after having rode Water Dog.  We basically needed to get Ray's bike brakes fixed within the hour, or he was going to have to deal with it in Thailand.  In every respect, our chances were a long shot.  Can you diagnose the problem?  Can we get credit for the defective parts Ray just put on in Colorado?  Do they have replacement parts? Could they work on the bike, essentially drop what they are doing? 

"Do you two want a beer?"
Yep, we explained the situation, and the guy was totally on the ball.  Understood the issue, immediately tested the bike, and had some ideas in his head.  So, yeah.  They were busy in the shop, but gave us tremendous support.  So, once he figured out what was what, he says- "So, do you guys want a beer?"  "yes"  "Blonde or Scotch?"  "Blonde, we have to ride home."  Hahahahhahaha!  Awesome!  Dude fixes Ray's bike on the spot.  We are sipping a delicious brew, and the next days' ride, Ray was so excited to be back on track.  Wow.  Full endorsement for Passion.  Great experience.  Really, one of those special moments when you are so happy to be a part of mankind.

This trail has some good references from Passion.  Also, the maps about online and on the trail.  In the end, Ray and I decided, staring at maps doesn't really help.  Just ride.  You can't get too far afoot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Alcatraz pictures

These are pictures from my buddy, Brian. I think they are great, yet I need to say, he warned me they aren't his usual standard. I think they were from his phone. Some of them are pretty hilarious. It reminds me of the awesome pictures he took on our teenage trip to Europe... Those were the days...

Tell me what you think of the slideshow!

Which is your favorite picture??!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We made it!  This is Paul, Bill and me after swimming from Alcatraz.  It was a great day, a tiny bit overcast, but calm, the water a balmy 61 degrees. That's Ghirardelli Square in the background.  We just finished in the famous Aquatic Park in the San Francisco Bay.

 This is another friend of mine, from the good ole days.  Thanks for coming out to cheer us on!

More fans, Hi Kathy and Kirsty!

Jib Jab
That week I went mountain biking with Paul and Matt, two guys I used to wrestle with, back in 7-8th grade.  As it turns out, Brian wrestled with us too.  To add to the coincidence, another one of my best buddies, Ray just called today.  He is coming out to visit in a couple weeks, and he too used to wrestle with us, way back in middle school.  Could we have ever known we would all meet again in California?

Click for more Alcatraz photos(thanks Brian!)

Thanks for the encouragement to get a new post out!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

CU Buffs Football or Welcome to the Big 10

So many titles went through my mind for this post.  Suffice it to say, it was a tough day for us CU fans.

  This trailer was just out front the stadium gate.  There really were a huge number of fans wearing CU gear.  I really am not up on the Buffs prospects this year, and since I hadn't heard much, I figured they weren't high.  My hopes were not high, but yes, I did have some hope.  The more CU fans I saw, the more I started thinking, hmm, well, you never know!

Until the game started.  Buffs defense was like a sieve.  And when they showed some strength, we would self-destruct with penalties, on offense and defense.  We just never settled down.  Never got into a groove.  Basically, on our heels the whole first half.  I can only speak for the first half, because we left at halftime, and the score was 31-0.  Ouch.

Jib Jab
How to salvage a gorgeous day in Berkeley, when your team is getting crushed.  We went to a sports bar.  Actually, it was a fun Berkeley-style casual, outdoor patio place.  Tons of students and alumni.  Actually, it seemed like 1/3 were CU fans.  The place was a hamburger joint on Telegraph called Raleigh's.  Lots of beer choices.  We had chicken wings and chips and guacamole.  Pretty good, real good beer, and very nice atmosphere.  We came thinking we could follow the Giants, and alas, they lost too.  Similarly, the defeat was a let down.  The Giants just moved into a tie for 1st place in our division.  Very exciting.  They lost 1-0.  Buffs lost 52-7.  At least they scored.  I don't want to know how.  In the first half, they brought the ball all the way down to the 3 yardline.  For sure, I thought at least we would score.  Instead, about 25 yards in penalties later, we missed a 37 yard field goal.  We turned over the ball again, and the Bears promptly scored again.  We got the ball back with about a minute in the half, and quickly gave up an interception for a touchdown in the last 16 seconds.  Ouch.  31-0 at half.

On a positive note
Actually, there were several:
1)  Kirsty and I got out with her bro and his wife
2)  The day was beautiful, and the stadium, really nice to see
3)  We met at Kirsty's parents after for dinner, and to see the Kenya trip photos
 (and nephews and, well, family!)
This is an odd photo, but I liked it for a few reasons.
- what's up?  all the boys all on the same side of the table!
- although odd, it's also steeped in tradition - beautiful table setting, Pops at the head of the table with a glass of wine.  if the view wasn't washed out, you could see San Fran out the windows.

Here's the girls side of the table.  Makes me happy just thinking about it.

Here's everyone all together.  That's nan getting ready to sit at our end of the table.  We always have so much to talk about.  If it isn't cooking, or gardening, it's something else like photography or some other project she has engineered.  A totally inspirational person.  As is Kirsty's dad.  Without much fanfare, we open the Saturday Chronicle and there he is, in a huge picture on the front page of the cultural section.  My father-in-law!! 

So, words of wisdom from this day of sporting defeats?  You just have to go for it.  If you always win, the wins wouldn't mean anything!  And the bottom line, I have plenty to be thankful for.  Holy smoke, let it go.  :-)

Just because!! This picture makes me happy.  It's us watching the slides on Kirsty's brother and family's trip to Kenya.  The center of the story is around the Daraja Academy in Kenya.  Very cool and an inspirational story in itself.

Here's an obstructed view of my backyard project.  you can see the roller, a bunch of rubble in the foreground, and behind, the ground is all layed out ready for sod.  The project is a little on hold while we finalize the patio plans.  Shooting for a Connecticut blue flagstone that will flow straight out into the grass.  From a conservation point of view, at least we cut our grass area down by about 30-40%.
More later..

Also, next Saturday is the Alcatraz swim!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Going Big with my Garden

We needed some more dirt, so Rigo got some more dirt from a neighbor who was excavating.  This is such a small amount of the fill we used.  Seeing it in scope of the truck was impressive though.

The guys, in action.  You can see the beautiful topsoil pile in front.  I think we had 8 or 9 guys out there, on my little back yard.  See all the dust on the table?  I think that's Rigo, my superstar backyard guy.  He's created three big retaining walls, added fill below, then topsoil on top.  Created a whole new garden for me below the black fence you see.  This hill is super steep.  Didn't think I could gain more garden.  He did it.  I am so happy with him, we are planning to use him to replace the deck, but....

Patio, instead.
So, I have been dreaming about having a gorgeous stone patio, but never thought it was feasible in my backyard.  Well, all that has changed.  Just to give you a hint...see below.
That's Rigo and some of his guys.  Bye Bye deck, hello stone patio.  I am planning on having a nice landing by the sliding glass doors (which you can imagine, behind Rigo, the deck stairs.) With about 3-4 stairs down to a patio that flows right into the grass.  A couple features I am trying to plan in:
- a fire pit
- built-in barbecue, and maybe a whole kitchen thing
- little planter areas for herbs, and maybe flowers or something
More to come.

Seriously, my favorite farmer's market is now Redwood City, behind Sequoia Station.  Sat 9-1pm or about that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Southwest Tour 2010

We had an incredible family trip to the Southwest. The first day was a 'back door' tour of Mesa Verde. Southwest Tour photos

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Farmer's Markets I've been to around San Carlos

We are really enjoying farmer's market shopping, and finding more and more of them around, to the point where we have more days with, than without local farmer's market shopping.  Here's where we're at:

Kaiser Hospital (corner of Maple and just before Jefferson):  Wednesday -  10 am - 2 pm
Palo Alto (corner of University and Emerson)  Wednesday 330pm - 630 pm
San Carlos, Laurel street, starting around Arroyo  - Thursday 4-7pm
Redwood City, just behind Sequoia Station  -  Saturday 8 or 9 to 1 pm
San Mateo Community College  Saturday 8-1pm
Belmont train station:  Sunday 9am - 1pm

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Preparing for the South End Rowing Club Alcatraz Swim

This is my PCA masters group doing a Sunday (Aug 22nd) morning San Francisco Aquatic Park swim.   As you can see from the pic, you don't need to bring much.  Googles, cap, swimsuit.  Front right is Damon, my Zola buddy, and I am front left, and coach Mike, 2nd from left front.  Mike, thanks for bring us up!

I think this will be my 4th Alcatraz swim coming up, Sept 18th.  Each one is it's own adventure and I'll get into that in a bit.  In the past, I've made the crossing with others.  This is the first time I am trying to lead a couple swimmers, from Colorado.  Pablo and his friend Bill.  This post is for you guys, and anyone else planning to do the swim.

What to bring for the swim:
- avoid trying something new.  use your regular suit, goggles, cap.  Having said that, take a look at the below and try out what you may use before race day.  You have enough time to order this stuff and try it, if you act soon.
- wear a thermal cap.  What's that, you say?  It's a swim cap made from wetsuit  material (neoprene).
This one looks good.  It actually looks better than mine.  If you can try one on before purchase, ideal.  If not, get something like this.   The key is flexible.  Mine is too tight.  Warm, yes.  Too tight takes it's toll on race day, and for days after, because of the chafing.  Over top of your thermal cap, you will wear a regular rubber cap from your race packet.
- I have a new pair of goggles I used for my last open-water swim.  They are from my favorite goggle manufacturer, Aqua Sphere.  These are called Kayenne.  They are nice for a couple reasons; they are super comfortable and seal well.  They have a wide field of view, nice for open water.  As far as lens color, clear would be ideal for Alcatraz, but not essential.  I am sure even the smoke would be fine.
- That's pretty much it!  They will give you ear wax to use race day, with your packet.  I have always used mine.  I asked around about why, and basically you want to not let your inner ear get too cold.  Bad things happen if you do.  (I don't remember what.)  It might be disorienting for one.  The other is, as you get cold, you start to get, well, dumb.  It gets harder to concentrate on your stroke, and navigation and so on if you get too cold.

Specific race day stuff
This is where Alcatraz is really cool.  Around 7am we all gather to walk from Aquatic Park area to the Red and White fleet, or whatever color it is.  It's about a 6-8 block walk to the ferry, and essentially you're doing it in your speedo.  Some people do it with a cheap pair of flip-flops.  You could do it in an old pair of socks too.  I'm too Irish for all that, and just walk it bare foot.  We actually follow some bagpipers along the way.  It's all very inspiring, walking through the famous SF waterfront with a bunch of other swimmers, the music and energy is really awesome.  Oh, and some wear a throw-away tee shirt, and I've seen some wear a trash bag to stay warm.  I think you can take a bag with a number on it too, and then try to find it at the finish.  For us, we will have our cheerleaders carrying a towel and clothes for us.

So, anyways, we get on the ferry, and it's about 15-20 minutes over to the Island.  Alcatraz.  The ferry isn't allowed to get closer than 50 feet or something like that, for eco reasons.  It's plenty close.  Totally awesome to see it like this.  At the same time you are looking back at San Francisco Bay, the city, the Bay bridge, and so on.  It's pretty amazing, until you start thinking, you are getting back to the city in the water!!  Yahoo!!  We float around on the ferry until the organizers decide the current is as close to slack as possible.  Usually, just a couple minutes, but seems really long.

Get in!
The start is somewhat non-eventful.  Of course people start snuggling closer and sort of pushing toward the boat gates.  There are two, one on each side of the boat.  The opening is wide enough for 3 to jump off at a time.  Fasties get in first.  Just wait.  You will be in the water within 2-3 minutes even if you are in the middle of the pack.  So, once you get to the gate, jump in.  It's about 7-8 feet above the water.  I hold on to my goggles, going in feet first, and then, as quick as possible without panicking, start swimming.  Now, you may have to do a little breast stroke until you catch your breath, and sight your finish line.  I sight on the two big apartment buildings behind Ghirardelli Square.  you can't miss them.  So, right now, do not swim too hard.  In fact, you probably want to swim as slow as you can for the first 3 minutes or so, until you settle into a pace without losing your breath.  Don't worry, you will have plenty of time to hit it harder later.  It's going to take about 40 - 60 minutes to get across.

This hasn't always been a good thing for me, except last time.  My strategy worked.  Essentially, 20 strokes, then spot, 20 strokes, then spot.  For my strokes, to go as straight as possible, I found when I get tired, my hands start to cross.  To avoid this, I point my hands from entry to exit in sort of an A frame.  The top of the A, me, and the bottom, my hands, so pointing them wide, which, in actuality, probably puts them right where they are supposed to be.  Regardless, it worked.  I swam straight as ever, and it made for something I could concentrate on.

More later, Guys.  Let me know what questions and comments you have.

At 2:42  you can see my master's team, PCA.  At 4:40 you can see the apartment buildings I mentioned for sighting and navigation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

34th Annual Trans Tahoe Relay - Invitational

The Trans-Tahoe relay is a 12 mile crossing, about 150 6-person teams.  This is a great picture highlighting a bit of the chaos and organization at the start of the race.  You can see the first swimmers, just off the beach, and the 150 boats looking for their swimmers.  Also shown, you can see 3 boats with huge orange balloons to help swimmers spot their boat, and our teams spotting each other.  Thanks Mike, our Peninsula Community Center Aquatics Masters coach, for totally setting us up.

Yes, the water is brisk.  The previous month, we were looking at low 50's water temperature.  Fortunately, the sun kicked in, and we had a balmy 63 degrees race day.  The water is so blue, and crystal clear, it's unlike most open water events, and the water itself tastes so fresh, again, in contrast to events like the Alcatraz swims.  It's an early start, with the race at 7:30am, we were up around 5am, to pack our gear, get the boat, and cross the lake.  It's the perfect time, since the weather and water is so calm.

Damon had a huge day in so many ways.  He came off the shore so fast, and had us out front of Tahoe Tessies.  This is just before he finished.  See the boat next to us, getting ready for their transition too?  See how clear the water is?

Great job, Damon.  Off to the races.

Captain Candace

Candace was another part of the fantastic trip.  At times, I am just along for the ride, and don't recognize the magnitude of our endeavor.  Candace is an example.  Just 4 days before the event, we didn't have a boat.  Again, our coach, Mike put out the word, and with lots of calls and pings, we hear we have a boat, and a captain, Candace.  As best as I remember she is the wife of a friend of a friend of a friend.  Still, she takes all 6 of us out, all day.  Sight unseen.  No conversation beforehand.  No agreement of how it's going to be.  She just shows up, ontime, gorgeous ski boat, smile on her face, basically, get it, let's go.  Thanks Candace.  You rock.  So happy to have met you, and spent the day together!

The Gang
From left to right:  Candace, Chris G, Matt T, Chris "Zola" C, and the indomitable Damon.  Missing is John T, Matt's brother (in the water) and me (below).

More later.  Pog wants to be father / son.

Not all business
We met at Sunnyside after the swim to kick off the celebrations.  Well, as it turns out, we pretty much were celebrating the whole day, but you could say we kicked off our land-based celebrations here.  Every now and again, I couldn't help but feeling elated to be a part of team Zola, and at the same time feeling like I was kinda 'special' - in the, well, special sense.  Here, I'm looking particularly short and grey-haired, surrounded by the youngsters.  Yes, that's John on the far right, covering up Damon.  Damon, my shirt never looked so good.  You da man.

From our sponsors
Got Mike?  Yes, we got Mike.  Our awesome coach.  He does so much for us, so quietly.  Well, not so quietly this minute.  We had 7 teams represented, or 42 swimmers here, along with family and friends, I am guessing over a hundred present over the weekend.

Chris is one of the founders of Zola, home of the Brazilian superfood made from acea berries.  I think that's how he stays so young, and an all-around nice guy.  Thanks again, for sponsoring us!  All you readers out there, drink your Zola.

Getting down to business
This is a bit of an odd shot, but I like it for highlighting the beautiful water, clear as can be, and I think this is Matt getting down to business.