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Trillum Lake – 2 Hours

July 2, 2007



Michelle, Nancy and Dave at Trillium

On Thursday, I was contacted by Dave Radcliff, a good swimming friend.  He mentioned that he and his wife, Nancy, would be available for a swim on Saturday at Trillum Lake.  I was already preparing to swim 2 hours out at Hagg Lake, but I was not going to pass up the chance to have a kayak buddy, a swimming buddy, and a colder lake.  I honestly had not heard of Trillum Lake.  Dave informed me that it was up by Mount Hood and that the forest service was estimating a temperature of high 50’s.  PERFECT!!!


Saturday morning came along and I met Dave and Nancy at 7am at the Tualatin Hills pool to start our journey.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  I was thinking perfect day for a swim.  Granted 2 hours isn’t that long of a swim, but I’m baby stepping my way back into the long distances.   



On our journey up to Trillum Lake, Dave and Nancy told me about many area lakes that would probably be good for my training.  We even stopped by Roslyn Lake in Sandy to check out the water temp, 58 degrees.  This lake was only 20 minutes further than Hagg Lake and was non-motorized.  While I enjoy playing a real life game of Frogger in Hagg Lake dodging boats as much as the next person, it would be nice to know of some place a little more quiet. 


We reached Trillum Lake around 9:00am.  I couldn’t believe the amazing setting.  Trillum Lake is a gorgeous lake that has this amazing view of Mt. Hood.  With the sun shining down, this picturesque setting, and good friends I was very excited to get moving. Dave and I walked to the waters edge to check the temperature…60 degrees.  A little warmer than Roslyn, but well within the needed range.    


While at the water’s edge, Dave mentioned to some fishermen that we would be swimming and that I was training for the English Channel.  Now I’ve had some strange looks in my day, as is expected as a 6 foot Amazon woman, but the looks on these fisherman’s faces.  I thought for a second that I had turned green, sprouted horns and a tail.   Oh well, I’m sure I gave those fisherman a true tall tale.


With the kayak unloaded and Dave all suited up, we started out for the 1st hour.  The water wasn’t too bad getting in.  We started off at a nice pace.  I had told Dave that I wanted my first feeding around 50 minutes and that I also wanted to do some sprint training…bad idea.   After a few minutes warm up, Dave took off in the kayak.  My job was to chase him down.  I just kept thinking “Get him Michelle! Get him!”  Now I never did catch him and I’m certain that he had to slow down for me, as I was struggling.  When we reached the other side of the lake, I came up puffing for air.  I’m sure I sounded like a whale blowing air after a long underwater swim.   Unfortunately I wasn’t a whale and I hadn’t been holding my breath. We turned and started heading towards Mt Hood.  Again with more chasing.  Fortunately, the cold wasn’t bothering me.  It was more my stroke.  I felt like I was struggling.  I had a rhythm.  My shoulder felt good, but something felt off.   Luckily there were lots of salamanders (or very large tadpole turning into frogs) to keep me occupied.  Dang I wish I had that tail that the fishermen saw. 





Dave stopped me for my first feeding after 55 minutes.  I had made up a concoction of hot tea, honey and Carbo Pro (a carbohydrate powder). I quickly took a gulp.  Just as quickly, I began to spit the liquid out all the while stuttering “Hot, hot, very hot”.   Notes for Michelle:

  1. Boiling water is not necessary to make tea

  2. The thermos will keep the tea at pretty much the same temperature that you made it at – BOILING.

  3. When the body is cold, warm temperatures seem even warmer.

  4. Blisters on the tongue from hot liquid are not going to feel good in salt water.




Dave helped me cool off the liquid and we swam into the boat ramp.  Time for a crew change.  Nancy was going to get in and kayak.  Dave was going to suit up to swim for the last bit.  While waiting for Dave, Nancy and I took a quick half tour of the lake.  It was during this half tour that Nancy shed some light on my situation.  When I came up puffing, she just looked at me and said matter of factly “We are at altitude.”   Well I’ll be, I keep forgetting about altitude.  It was never a factor in my previous swimming career.  Sure a college may be located on some hill in MN, but it never changed the swimming.  I felt much better about being Moby Dick after this point.   “Thar she blows!” 



We circled back to the boat ramp and there was Dave in his full wetsuit, neoprene cap, and fins.  I kept thinking to myself, he isn’t going to need fins to keep up.  I didn’t begrudge him the wetsuit though, as it isn’t everyone’s dream to be a human popsicle.    We swam for about 30 minutes before my lats started to scream.  I, of course, then got upset with myself as this was only a 2 hour swim and I was already whining.  Dave and Nancy asked if I wanted to turn in.  My reply was “No I want my 2 hours”.   Dave continued to calmly state “Let’s just take it nice and slow”.  It really is a huge help to have kayakers and swimmers with me in the water.  It is nice to turn and breathe and see a friendly face, even if you do want to trade in your lats for an upgrade.  



It was also during this last 30 minutes that I smelled a campfire.  I then began to think about smores and how much I wanted one.  This then occupied me for a good 15 minutes as I had to think about how I was going to make smores at home (gas burners on stove), the ingredients I was missing in the pantry (chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows), and how many I would eat (not disclosing). 



We finished the two hours and Nancy made a feast for us.  I’m pretty sure that I ate everything that they had, especially those vanilla oreos.  Perhaps I wouldn’t need smores later.  



On the car ride home, I made a valient effort to stay awake (and failed).  Those that know me well know that in any moving vehicle, I fall asleep in an instant regardless of swimming or not.  I got to spend some of my awake time learning more about Dave and Nancy. It was such a pleasant conversation and I felt truly blessed to have such good friends.   



Side Note:  Those of you should all note that Dave Radcliff swam in the ’56 Melbourne Olympics and at 73 can lead the swimming pack most of the time.  On occasion, I do beat him.  Nancy is a true supporter of all the Oregon swimmers and makes every meet a special one. 

Michelle and Dave post Alcatraz


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2 Responses to “Trillum Lake – 2 Hours”

  1. Courtney says:

    wow, what a feat! nice work. and what a beautiful view. i’ve been to portland twice… and my only view of mt. hood was a plane-view of it peeping out of the clouds.

  2. Dave and Nancy Radcliff says:

    Great summary of our day at Trillium. Nancy and I had a super time. I sure hope we scared all the fish away from that one lady. And for your information I do need fins, wetsuits, and any other way of “cheating” to keep up with you. I just saw a post on the Columbia River and it was 60 degrees. That’s another possiblity for you. See you at the pool. Hope you had a good swim at Rosyln Lake on the 4th.

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