Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday, March 31. 2013

It was sunny with no sign or rain at Avila Beach but it was windy.  It has been generally calm for us so this was going to be more like a real ocean swim!  The wind and current were out of the SW.  The chop was small and not breaking but was really pushing along.  I do not know if it was because of the change in the direction of the wind but the water temperature was up to 55.5 degrees.  It says something when everyone is excited about a 'warm' water temperature in the mid-fifties.  We had a nice group today; Niel, Rob, Byron, Brad, Sylvia and Kevin, a friend of Rob's from Allan Hancock College.  Kevin has played college water polo so I figured that that took care of his creds as a swimmer.  Sharley came with Byron and was going to go for a run while we swam.  Byron had swum on Wednesday evening and said that the water on the west side of the pier had tasted bad, and Thursday's sample from the beach on that side had come up at 173 (the limit is 104 for Enterococcus) so we decided to stay away from the west side of the pier.  Our route was to swim two triangles on the east side of the pier; we would go out along the length of the Avila Pier to its' end, then to where the buoy line ended (when there were No Boating Zone buoys along the beach) and back to the pier by swimming parallel to the beach.  The water felt much more comfortable compared to last Sunday's 49 degrees.  It was some extra work on the first leg pushing against the chop and current.  By the time we were half way out along the pier the ranking for the day had sorted itself out.  Kevin was off the front with Brad trying draft. Byron was somewhere third and Rob and I were off the back.  It looks like we need Casey back with us so he can keep Kevin and Brad amused.  The second leg was 'downwind' and the third leg parallel to the beach was OK because the chop flattens out in the shadow of the pier.  When we all arrived at the pier we agreed to reverse the direction of the second triangle, so we started out with a following current, swam the longest leg directly into the chop and then came in along the pier.  We were in the water for a total of 47 minutes and covered about 1.5 miles.
I should receive a new docking station from Finis for my Hydro Tracker this week which will hopefully solve my technical issues and let me resume posting maps of our swims. 

The Cal Poly Pier will be open for tours on Saturday, May 4th.  It is free and if you have never been out on the Poly Pier you ought to make plans to go.  The student projects are cool and at 900 M in length, you get to see Avila Bay from a unique perspective.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday, March 29th 2013

We had a great crowd up at Lopez tonight! 6 Swimmers - Rick, Rhonda, Byron, Brad, Rob and Penny, 2 paddlers - Allison and Danilu, and one beach holder-downer - Sharley. Things were pretty windy when I got to the lake but it calmed down before the swim and really smoothed out. The water felt like it could be somewhere around 58 already. Give it a couple more weeks and we may start cracking 60!

Our route started with everyone swimming together to the left point of the mouth to mallard cove. At that point we split up with Brad, Byron, Rick and Rhonda swimming down to the same patch of beach we've gone to the last 2 weeks. Penny and I did a triangle inside the cove to get her open water swimming dialed in.

Afterwards we hung out, drank a couple beers and had some snacks! If you haven't been up to the lake yet I encourage you to check it out, it's fun!

Rob D.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Niel, Rob and Robbie and Sylvia  swam today with Allison paddling and Rick enjoying the beach.  The beach was a pretty nice place to be.  It was warm and sunny and no wind, up to 1 when I left.  however, the water temperature had cratered since Wednesday evening's swim and fallen 5 degrees to 49.  This was Robbie's first swim with us.  He is a lifeguard at Pismo and races some tris.  We went straight out along the pier and grouped up at the end.  Robbie was wearing a spring suit but said that he was OK, so with Allison along for backup we headed over to our usual spot along the Cal Poly Pier.  There were some warm(er) spots along the way but it was always cold.  From there we swam directly back to the base of the Avila Pier.  The water was flat the entire time so the swimming was great, except for the temperature.  Robbie enjoyed himself so I think that we will see him again.  David VanMouwerik stopped by to  chat with Allison about kayaking for endurance swimmers.  It was nice to see him at the beach on a Sunday.  

We will be swimming on Wednesday at 5:30 and at Lopez at 6 this Friday.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday, March 22nd 2013

Tonight was our second night out at Lopez for the year. Rick, Rhonda and Rob were in attendance and were treated to a very nice night. Not too much wind and clear skies. We swam the same route as the week before which is roughly a mile. I would guesstimate the water to be 56-57 right now at the lake.

While we were out there we decided that 5:30 is a bit to early for people to get to Lopez so we're moving Friday night swims to 6:00pm. Hopefully more of you can make it out as we work towards summer!

See you all on Sunday at Avila!

Rob D.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Evening, March 20, 2013

It was kind'a chilly at Avila this evening with overcast that was thick enough to block the sun and a light breeze that was blowing right to left along the beach.  But, the legend of warm Wednesday evening swims continues!  The water temperature was 54 degrees. The last time we saw a water temperature that high was December 9th.  We had a big group for a Wednesday, made up of regulars and two new swimmers.  Casey, Curtis  John, Niel and Rob were joined by Marie and Mark.  Both of our new friends had plenty of experience messing around in the ocean but were new to the idea of swimming in it.   We headed out, grouped up and swam parallel to the beach towards Fossil Point.  Marie and Mark were hanging back a bit so Rob hung with them and did some open water swimming training.  The rest of us continued to a spot near the point, regrouped and headed to the end of the Avila Pier.  The wind had fallen away so the swimming conditions were nice and flat.  The water didn't feel that much warmer than it has been but I'm wearing a very warm Patagonia R3 wetsuit so I can only judge the water temperature by how my feet, hands and face feel.  We regrouped up again at the end of the pier and finished off by swimming down the east side to the beach.  We covered 1.2 miles in 43 minutes.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday, March 17th 2013

Avila was out of control beautiful today. Hot and clear with plenty of sunshine. The surf was small for the most part and we're estimating 52-53 in the water today. We had a good sized group in attendance. Sylvia and Yvonne swam early. Local crew Duke, Byron, Brad, Rick, Rob were joined by Susan and Marta from Bakersfield, and we had newcomer Liz. Allison guided in her kayak.

The plan today was to swim half way down the pier and then shoot for Fossil Point, swim back to the tip of the pier, out to the Poly Pier, and then back through the Avila Pier and home. On the first section of the swim Duke and I guided Liz who was out for her first time and went with no wetsuit. At the mid point between the pier and the point we turned around and swam her back to the beach while the other swimmers stuck to the plan. After dropping our chilly but happy newcomer off in the surf Duke and I swam down the pier to reconnect with the rest of the group. We had a good swim to the Poly pier and then back to the Avila Pier. Before swimming in we did a mini safety drill. Allison had Brad get into the kayak with her to see how that would work. I did it last week, and if you're a regular anticipate having to hop into a kayak at some point just to go through the motions of a rescue in case we ever need to pull you out for some reason.

Weather permitting we'll be back in action on Wednesday night and Friday out at Lopez! Keep an eye on the Central Coast Open Water email group for updates.

Rob D.

*photos by Marta

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Night - March 15th 2013

We're trying something new by attempting to add a weekly swim out at Lopez on Friday nights. As of right now the plan is show up by 5:30pm at Mallard Cove, swim a mile or so, drink a beer and have a snack, then go home. Pretty good right?

Tonight was our inaugural Lopez Friday Night swim and we had a good time. We had Rick, Byron, Casey, Ed, Ruta and Rob in attendance. Ruta and I kayaked while the rest swam a mile long route. We don't have official numbers but the water temps are definitely coming up at the lake.

I'm hoping we can make this an every week kind of thing. Come out and swim or paddle to burn off the stress of your workweek and then hangout and tailgate with your friends! I hope to see more of you out there next Friday!

Rob D

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wednesday Evening - 13 March 13

Our first Wednesday evening swim of the season was wonderful.  It was warm and sunny with light breezes out of the east (?!) so there was a small chop on the water running almost parallel to the beach from left to right.  The tide was way out and there what surf there was was only knee high.  I didn't get a water temperature but it has been in the low 50's since December so I wasn't expecting any big changes.  Swimming were Rob, Niel, Byron and John Segal, who we have not seen since the last Wednesday evening swim last fall.  We did a reversed triangle, kind of the classic Wednesday evening swim.  The buoys are not out yet so navigating along and to 'the end of the buoy line' is a bit approximate.   We got in on the right side of the pier, swam out and headed towards the creek.  The water from the creek was flowing along the beach so the water felt warmer than expected and got quite a bit warmer off of the mouth of the creek.  This all got corrected on the way to the end of the pier.  About a third of the way along this leg we swam back into unadulterated Avila ocean water and the temperature dropped into the low 50's.  It was actually kind'a nice to have this happen once I was already warmed up.   While we were regrouping at the end of the Avila Pier Byron and I commented on how nice it was to be out here after work because you can just feel all of day's stress just fall off of your back.  We completed the triangle and came in .  We covered a mile in a total time of 41 minutes, which included some lengthy pauses at each of the turning points where we fell into talking about swimming and training.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It was absolutely beautiful at Avila Beach today; sunny, warm and no wind (yet).  The water was 51 degrees with a few birds and one seal that I only saw once.  We had a nice crowd today including a few faces that we have not seen in a while;  Niel, Byron, Sharley, Rob, Duke, Rick, Rhonda, Brad, Sue Free, who is a friend of Rob's from the bay area and Chad and Brittany.      Chad and Sharley were running, Rhonda and Brittany were sunning, Brad and Rick did a quick dip before stretching out and relaxing, and Niel, Rob, Duke, Sue and Byron were planning a 1 mile +/- swim.  The zipper on Byron's wetsuit came apart as he was getting ready so he had to sit out.  We swam out, turned left and headed towards Fossil Point.  This was Sue's first swim with us. Rob knew that she swam in the bay area and had a successful Catalina Channel crossing to her credit but he didn't know that she was fast.  The rest of us spent the swim playing catch up. We did a long leg parallel to the beach, turned to the end of the Avila Pier and then came in along the pier.  We were in the water for 40 minutes and covered 1.25 miles.  
My plot looks a bit squirrely because I didn't get my Hydro Tracker turned off when I left the water.

Wednesday Evening Swims Are Starting - Get some open water time in before those early races!
With the time change we are going to be swimming on Wednesday evenings, starting this Wednesday, 3/13.  We will be getting in the water at 5:30 and can push the start time towards 6 as the days lengthen if the people who are showing up like the idea. 


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2012

What happened to the weather?  A sunny, warm and humid Saturday was followed by a coolish Sunday morning with thin overcast hiding the sun.  The was no wind, the water looked very clean and green and the water temperature was up three welcome degrees to 52.  Yvonne and Sylvia were going to enjoy the beach.  Niel, Rob, Byron and Casey were swimming.  Allison was riding herd in her new spiffy red kayak which has more features than a new Japanese car. We wanted to swim about a mile and Casey spoke up first and suggested that we start by swimming out to the end of the pier.  Once there Byron suggested a trip over to our usual turning point about 1/3 of the way out along the Poly Pier.  Going over there and coming back to the foot of the Avila Pier would make for a 1+ mile swim so off we went.  The leg between the end of the Avila Pier and the 1/3 point on the Poly Pier is one of my favorite swims at Avila.  It is about 600M and lets me settle into my stroke and on a flat day like today I like to see how I can push my pace.  Once there, instead of trying to swim to what would be the west end of the buoy line if the No Boating buoys were in place, we headed directly for the beach at the base of the Avila Pier, another 600+M swim.  Afterwards Byron and I felt like we had had a chance to stretch out and put in a nice effort.
A Bit of Context Here  - The Avila Beach Pier is about 420 M long while the Cal Poly Pier is 600 M to the west and 900M in length.  Swimming the length of the Poly Pier is long leg in what will be a long swim.  The seaward end of the Cal Poly Pier is about as far offshore as we commonly get on our swims, and we would only head out there if we have someone on a kayak or paddle board along for support and visibility.   
There is no map of today's swim because I am sill trying to figure out how to operate my Finis Hydro Tracker's two buttons properly.  This unit doesn't have a screen and neither beeps or vibrates, the only indication of its status or that a command has been executed is the 4 lights, which are not visible in bright sunlight.   I'm counting how long I'm holding a button down but if I go too long it rolls past the desired command; today's track wound up including my drive over to the port and to home.  This thing works great on my morning runs when the lights are easily visible but I need to polish up my counting in order to get it right at the beach.  Version 2.0 definitely needs a beep/vibrate function.