Today I took park in the 3rd Annual Lap the Lake Swim in Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes held at the Indian Trails Country club. This is a terrific venue and the site of the 2014 Wyckoff/Franklin Lakes Triathlon (which is Next Weekend!) . Today would only be an open water swim . The event came in 3 flavors 2.4 , 1.2 and .5 mile distances, with the 2.4 folks swimming the 1.2 course 2x. Weather was perfect with bright sunshine (well not exactly perfect for sighting) on a cloudless morning.
There were only 130 folks in my 1.2mile wave and after giving the 2.4 folks a 10 minute distance gap, the horn sounded and we were off, wading into the lake. The shallow entry ment we waded in for about 30 ft. before we were waist high in water then most of us transitioned to swimming. With a smaller starting group relative to the triathlon held in this same lake, there was relatively little contact. After a controlled start I settled into a little rhythm and managed to follow a couple of folks heading out to the first buoy on the far side of the lake. The swim course was a 1.2 mile counter-clockwise “P” loop,. I was still in the middle pod of a group swimmers and because the sun was directly behind us , I could clearly see people’s feet, it was so surreal to see the bright sunlight hit the water can cut through the murky lake to clearly expose the others swimmer’s feet. I hung on for a while but I couldn’t keep their pace. I always have a conversation with myself about following with the faster swimmer, it goes something like this .. “… if I hang onto this guy/girl , I’ll have a easier swim, but what if their navigation sucks and I swim longer distance… do i stay or do I go with you hem??” by the time I answer my question those feet are gone.
The first left turn buoy came pretty quick , but then the back-stretch of the lake only had two far apart spaced buoys for about 800m. It always sucks when a course of this length has few buoys because, you inevitably are going to aim badly when spotting a little dot so far off in the distance…. To race directors I know buoys cost money to buy/rent, but please get one of two more for races of this length, it makes it so much easier to navigate. Anyways I swam the best I could , but this race for some reason I kept pulling right, light a car with with bad wheel alignment. I would spot the buoy, straighten myself out, swim 10 or so strokes, spot it again and , I was off pointing to the right, so my track through the water was definitely not the best this race.. You could see it on the gps track above those abrupt jagged left turns.
I kept pace with a few folks, hung onto a few feet for a while but was never able to establish a good groove with any one swimmer, I really need to work on picking out better swimmers and hanging with them for longer times.
As we approached the double-buoy turn around, we were facing north-east so the sun was going to be in our faces. and while not as bad as I expected (thank you Tyr goggles) , it still made it a bit hard to spot. But keeping on pushing forward, the buoys slowly crept closer. As we hit the last double buoy it was a turn for home. The trick here is sighting the big inflatables (same for the triathlon), that are part of the lake activities, there’s a bunch of these near the docks and it makes it easy on the return leg and aim for the beachhead. So I zeroed in on them and just chugg’ed away till the shore. I knew it was almost time to stand when I felt the whirl of the sandy bottom . I popped out ot the water, and to my right another swimmer, did the same, then it was a 10 yard head-to-head dash for the finish… always makes it interesting to have to haul ass the last few meters of a swim race..
I was done swam two minutes slower than NaveSink (likely due to poor navigation) but surprisingly came in 30 out of 126, nothing great here but the only consolation is that I was about a minute from getting an age group award.. I can almost taste it, I think with a little more fine tuning in the pool I can start placing in the age group, in some of these open water swims..
Race amenities were light at the end of the race, but for the cost of the race, it was a well run event. Overall it was a really nice open-water event..