A Winter Ocean Swim and Ride

Jan 18, 2015

Winter swims are usually pretty cold, but this El Nino year, the water temperature was a "balmy" 58F and so I decided to start Sunday with an invigorating ocean swim around the Santa Cruz wharf with a few other members of the West End Wharf and Wine Swim Club. Yesterday was the long-awaited "Will Swim for Food" benefit event. With the 9 foot great white shark cruising around our beaches this week, it lent new meaning to the moniker. All the more reason to swim fast.

A still, from the video linked above

I also planned to do a long ride today and get philosophical, as I so often do while peddling up in the local mountain roads.

I tossed a banana into the blender, added some MetRx, some raw cocoa powder (which is good for the heart) and sunflower seeds, hit the button, poured the result into my KleenCanteen and the excess into a cup which I immediately downed. Saved the KleenCanteen for my bike ride later. Donned my running shoes, packed my mesh gym bag, ran the mile to the wharf, and joined friends Sean, Julie, and expert aqua photographer Michael Peck who rode herd on his paddle board. Got a few looks for the bizarre wetsuit top, and joked I could one-up the guy from the Santa Cruz Masters who always swims the annual Roughwater competition swim around the wharf in a full suit, right down to the polished leather shoes. Worth every bit of the $30 I paid for it as I headed out of town 4 years ago for the Ironman Utah event, despite what it looks like. It kept me warm out there.


Our crew

No fins seen - looks like a "go"

Nice silhouette of our group

Some good surf, and in fact I was able to get a nice wave to body surf in later on, at the end

My top wasn't very aerodynamic, but I still hustled pretty well

Michael Peck is great at capturing the moment

I stopped and chatted with the fishermen at the end of the wharf, mostly to make sure I wasn't going to hit their lines. Later, the others posed for the traditional half-way shot.

Sean and I, from still a ways out as Michael shepherded in the others

Everyone's in. A limb count showed 4 apiece - just the right number!

Ready to run home...

...where I prepared the rest of my supplies for the ride, including the 3-egg and mushroom omlet. I saved it for a few miles, taking a seat and reading the latest "Roadrunner" and "Cycling News" issues at Epicenter Bike Shop at Nicene Marks, before continuing on to Corralitos and Eureka Canyon

Corralitos Creek, just before the switchback up the mountain. I cooled off and tried a selfie

I continued up to Highland, stopped at the Summit Store and sympathized with a fellow cyclist who rode up from San Jose, and who was nursing a badly sprained wrist after hitting a slick spot up near Camp Loma. Then had my sourdough kale/cheese sandwich, and road across to Hwy 17 and Mtn Charlie Rd, to Scotts Valley, and back to Santa Cruz. 56 miles and 4500 ft of climbing. Felt great!.