September 19, 2004

Tiburon Mile

Tiburon means "shark".

The Tiburon Mile is a one nautical mile swim from Angel Island to Sam's in Tiburon ( I've done Alcatraz to SF twice now, but this race is a little different. It's shorter but a lot faster. It brings in a lot of Olympic athlete swimmers; and, unlike most cold water swims, most entrants don't wear a wetsuit (since I'm not an idiot, I wore mine).

Well, one car is in Tahoe and the other is in the shop, so I'm on the motorcycle this weekend. I got up this morning ... and it was raining. So I rode to the swim, in full leathers, in the rain. I stood in line to check in, with my helmet and leathers on, in the rain. I changed into my wetsuit in the rain. I checked in my bags (full of wet motorcycle leathers) and got on one of the two boats that take the swimmers to the Island.

We disembarked on the dock at Ayala Cove on Angel Island, walked (barefoot) to the beach, and, after some waiting around, launched in waves. I saw my swim coach there, he was towing a Special Olympics kid in a kayak -- while swimming. The whole event is to support the Special Olympics and there were some other S.O. athletes swimming, they were a real kick. Everyone cheered as they reached the beach and one of them took the time to bow deeply and dramatically for his new cadre of fans, it was a hoot.

Anyway, they launched us in waves: elite first, non-wetsuit second, wetsuit third. I got a good start by running down the beach after the signal and cutting off a little bit of distance, then it was an elbow slugfest for a while. After it smoothed out I was pleasantly surprised to find myself passing a lot of other swimmers, I guess that's one advantage of starting out in the back -- you never see the fastest swimmers and you get to pass all the slow ones, so you feel quick.

At the end you swim right into the Tiburon Marina, right to the little beach by Sam's, cross the finish line on foot, then back into the water for a short easy swim to Sam's. After that there's a bunch of food from local high-end restaurants in a big tent, I was sure to eat my fill of great stuff while my leathers dried in the sun. Once I was warm again I rode home in the sun and took a big long deep sleeping nap.

It's a good swim for a great cause and I plan to do it every year going forward, if you want to do an open water swim a little easier than Alcatraz then I suggest you join up.

Posted by rick at 09:59 PM