Colonel Roper was in fine form as he tried to coordinate the disparate elements of the 20+ swimmers and all the fine pilots that made their way from Candlestick to the Club. I incurred the Wrath of Roper by turning up late for the 5am meeting (sorry everyone who got up on time), and tried to keep my head down for the rest of the day. Clearly, keeping my head down in the water, translated into a lack of visibility, and I found myself in some interesting parts of the Bay.
To try and make it easy for the boats to keep track of all the swimmers, we were in pods, and pod I was in, was well represented with Michelle, Darren, John, Cara and Morgan. I immediately lost all of them with some earplug issues, some navigational issues, and some speed issues, with what has become my traditionally slow start.
The winds were pushing us East, while the following 4.3 ebb was pulling us along the coast. I spent the swim up until the Bay Bridge trying to stay somewhere near the shore, having to pull round the body with the right arm, and point the head into the shore to not float to Berkeley. Given that I had a close encounter with the red buoy which I think marks the shipping channel, I didn't do a very good job, but in my defense, I thought it was the kayaker I was meant to be following...
After a pleasant and flat boat ride down, which took almost an hour against the strong current, the sky turned grey, the wind came up and produced the chop pushing us East.
Some genius of a pilot took the front-runners - Cara and Morgan on a detour around the alpha tower of the Bay Bridge, and Michelle and I snuck through, staying in the current.
Morgan used one of her extra gears, Michelle breezed in unworried by the cold, and then the rest of our pod followed in tidy order.
We turned the corner directly into the slap of the chop, and struggled into the shelter of the breakwater, back to the club, the sauna, and another fine Capurro's breakfast slap-up feed.
A very fast swim, which felt hard with the chop. Flexibility work and massages sound good right now.