Well that was fun!
Worrying the night before about the cold, the sea creatures and the aloneness of the Bay wasn't the optimal preparation, I'm pretty sure. But as it turned out the aloneness only hit once and the Bay wasn't really that bad. Never saw any sea creatures, either.
We took the ferry over to Angel Island and walked a few hundred yards to the beach for the start. I still can't believe I forgot my socks. After the swim I kept thinking I had a rock in my shoe, and as it turned out I'd cut my foot somewhere and it was open and bleeding all over the place. I'm not sure if the cut came in the walk from the ferry or the walk after the swim, but I'll never forget socks or flipflops again.
Riding over on the ferry with Larsen Jensen, Klete Keller, Chloe Sutton, and the entire Cal men's and Stanford women's teams was probably the best part. How cool was that to be one of them -- at least for the boat ride.
First swim I've ever done without any warmup at all. Without any towel or parka at the start (everything had to be left in a bag on the ferry, to be returned to us at the finish) there was no way anyone except the Wetsuit Weenies would warm up. So I tried to just take it long and strong for a hundred strokes. The problem with that is for the first 200 strokes it was crowded and there was a lot of banging.
After a few minutes, clearing the cove at Angel Island, I found myself between packs -- alone in the open ocean. I started working harder to catch up to the lead pack, but that didn't work out. I'm not sure that it would ever work out, now, but it seemed like a pro-active stance at the time. Then I took a breath and saw the Golden Gate bridge from a perspective that not many people in the world have seen: water-level. That made me smile and get through the creepy feeling.
Soon I saw the breakwater at the Tiburon cove and got into some packs again. People converged from all sides (where were they?) and we ran up the beach. After that we had to get off the beach -- about the size of my backyard -- and swim between the pilings of a pier to a landing with ladders where we exited and walked up a ramp to the gathering of spectators. Fortunately I found Miriam, who walked with me and helped me find my bag from the ferry. The 10x10 beach and the trans-piling heads-up treading water swim in the murky brown goo wasn't exactly what Pacific Masters Swimming would approve if it were their swim. I'm pretty sure that United States Swimming wouldn't like it too much either (especially for their American Record holders and National Champions), but RCP can do whatever he wants in his RCP Tiburon Mile. I survived.
Of course it's six days later and my cut is still open, but I survived..
Pool closed this week in San Leandro where I train, so I took that as an omen and took the week off.