Thursday, June 14, 2007

Off to the Races!

Can't pass up an excuse to post one of my favorite pictures ever!

If you happen to find yourself on any of the various promenades that follow the shores of the Hudson, Harlem, and East Rivers this Saturday, and you spot people swimming (look for some splashing with a bright colored swim cap in it, accompanied by a kayak and a motorboat) - if you think you might be in earshot, sing out Louise! That swimmer is part of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, meaning they will have started swimming at the Battery at 8:30 AM and they'll finish swimming in the same spot, several hours later. That's twenty-eight and a half statute miles without any physical assistance. I'm missing it this year for the first time in a while because of the coach training scheduled up at Lake Sebago, and I'm sorry to miss it.

Although not quite as sorry since I heard that this year, the swim coincides with the annual Father's Day weekend Poker Run.

Big ol' race with a certain kind of craft I've been known to talk stink about. There's been quite the discussion among the NYC kayakers today about this - see, a southbound swimming race and a northbound powerboat race go together like spilled oil and sea otters, drinking and driving, that sort of thing. It was a lot more congenial the year that we had the big swim and the big outrigger race together. Well, hopefully the powerboats all pay attention to the escort boats for the swim & nobody suffers anything more than choppy water & a lot of noise. I was an escort one year when the same unfortunate coincidence of scheduling occured; my swimmer was near the end so the powerboats had all been herded well away from the swim race, but the poor guy was having a rough go of it owing to his boat crew making a crucial mistake in his feeding (there were gatorade bottles, and then there were bottles with something with more calories - he never got the latter - if you're ever thinking of swimming around Manhattan, trust me, you'll want more than just Gatorade at some point) - well, he was just clearly not having fun by then, and then the Poker Run goes howling by, and suddenly he's swimming in a washing machine - he looked up at me & asked "What's going on?", I said "Speedboat race", and he sort of shrugged, put his head back down & resumed slogging. Boy, the worst thing was that he almost finished, and then like 10 minutes shy of the finish line a lightning storm broke out. Otherwise he WOULD have finished. Just not fair.

hm, if I remember correctly that was also the year it was an "unofficial" race 'cause we'd just had the remnants of a hurricane dump about 6 inches of water in a day...ugh. One of my self-appointed tasks that day was trying to get the "hudson river whitefish" out of the way. Not the best circumnav swim I ever paddled for - I really, really like to see my swimmers finish.

Well, anyways, I wish everybody luck & I'm glad to hear that they have plenty of kayaks this year. Always an impressive thing to watch!

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