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Cascade Lake Series – Elk Lake

August 7, 2007

Ididn’t originally plan to compete in the Oregon Open water series this summer after my shoulder started acting up.  This was mainly because I had to choose my “A” races as I was told.   This meant which races was I willing to risk it all for.  The answer was easy…The Channel. 


This changed about a week ago (July 16th to be precise).  Jim Teisher suggested that I join him and Jeanne at a Sun River cabin and attend the Series.  The thought of spending the weekend with a bunch of my masters swimming friends training in a colder lake sounded just perfect.  Plus I thought a weekend of lighter training wouldn’t be bad for me.   I signed up for all 5 events; the 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, and 5000 meters.  These events started on Friday and went through Sunday. 


The event site:  

Cascade Lakes Swim Site

Jim and I drove up Friday afternoon.  We headed straight to the lake and registered.  I was going to be number 50 for the weekend and Jim was 51.  The first and only event Friday was 3000 meters.   Arriving I realized that this was  just what I needed, I was able to reconnect with the Oregon Masters that I have met through the Associations meet and Nationals.  


My goal for the weekend was to really just enjoy myself and get in some strong swims, not races, but strong swimming.  Plus there was a very competitive field there for the weekend, so I knew I had to be careful with my training.  It is easy to get caught up in the competition.   


The 3000 meter went well.  The course was a 1500 meter loop, so you get to go around it twice.  The struggle is that you have to round past the finish and head back out around one more time.  There are times when this turn is really difficult.  Fortunately Friday night it wasn’t bad.  Plus in the 2nd lap, my left shoulder started to loosen up and not cause me pain.   We all finished the race and then it was time to do what I think I like best…eat.  I may swim so much just so that I can eat…hmm I’ll have to ponder that. 


Saturday’s races were the short ones and there were a ton more swimmers.  I was pretty sure that I would move to the middle of the pack.  We had the 500 and the 1500 meters.  The 500 was run as an individual trial with swimmers starting 20 seconds apart.  Mary Sweat somehow ended up behind me in the line up…not a good thing.  Although when getting in the water she requested that I warm up the water for her.  I told her that was definitely a possibilty.  She promptly retracked her request.  For the life of me I can’t imagine why 🙂


The races that day went well.  I took time to swim the 1500 meter course 2 times prior to the actual 1500M race.  I was trying to get in more yardage.  This would hopefully alleviate the need to swim a long swim in the afternoon in the Deschutes River.  I can’t say that there were too many exciting things that happened during the Saturday races.  I did spend the 1500M dragging off of Dave Radcliff which might have affected his time a little…sorry Dave.  Ok not really I was looking for a little lift. 


Michelle swimming – no idea why my foot is out of the water:


 Cascade Lake   

Michelle finishing a race – yes she occasionally runs:

Cascade Lake Swim Finish


Michelle after the races:

Cascade Lake - Michelle Swimming


Saturday afternoon Jim Teisher and I headed out to the Deschutes.  We went to the Sunriver Marina.  There was a wedding being set up.  I thought about swimming in the river right where the bride and groom were going to stand, but I figured Jim and I in our suits wasn’t the romantic mood that they were trying to set.    We moved further upstream and began the swim.  We headed straight into the current.  We swam for about 55 minutes upstream and made about 100 yards of progress.  I did manage to pick up some souvenirs for Jim and Jeanne of some water logged golf balls.  My suit acted as a great holder of the golf balls.   Jim and I turned around at 55 minutes and floated the 100 yards back to our starting point.  We promptly walked back through the wedding area in our suits to meet Jeanne in the car.  Jeanne had the air conditioning on and Jim asked if she could turn it off.  Of course she was hot due to the warm weather and Jim and I were dealing with trying to warm up from an hour swim in 62 degree water.  I think there was a conflict of interest, but we managed to work it out.


Jeanne and Jim cooked a feast for Saturday night.  I know all of you are sitting there thinking “here we go on the food again”.  That’s right.  They cooked up some awesome spaghetti, salad, garlic bread.  I ate so much I practically burst.    After dinner they planned to walk around the Sunriver Village.  I planned to sit and read.  I had such good intentions to read some of the book Nothing Great is Easy by former King of the Channel Des Renford.  I think I spent most of the time trying to keep my head from bobbing.  I gave up the fight and headed to bed.  This was at the very late hour of….wait for it….7:30pm.  WHOO HOOO I’m a rockstar!


Sunday’s swim started with a 5000M.  We arrived at the lake to find that the wind had not calmed down and there was a pretty good chop going over the lake.  Now swells in the ocean do not really bother me.  Chop on the other hand drives me crazy.  It repeatedly pelts you in the head and swamps you when you are trying to breath.  This would be good training as the Channel has lots of chop.  The 5000 was a 3 lap race; one 2000m followed by 2 x 1500M. 


Thoughts during the 5000M swim:

  • I love chop. I love chop. I love chop….NO I DON’T…wait wrong mantra.  I love chop. I love chop.
  • Be one with the chop. Be one with the chop.

Don’t get me wrong we were only going into the chop for half of the lap and then it was at our back.  The turns back into the chop were a rude awakening.  But I would just go back to the mantras and also started to visualize that I was in the Channel and working my way across. 


Once completing the 5000M, I decided to go back out for one more 1500M lap.  There were still some other swimmers in the water, so I went out to swim with them.  I know how hard it can be to not have company on the swim.  I thought that I could act as the sight line for some of the swimmers.  (We didn’t discuss this, but it managed to work out).   I had a really good lap.  I felt good.  I was having fun swimming with the other swimmers.  My shoulder was behaving…thank goodness.


The events ended.  Jim Teisher ended up 1st in his age group for the Short Series (500, 1000, and 1500).  I ended up…well shoot I forgot.  I ended up something in my age group for the long series (1500, 3000, and 5000m).  We both finished all the events and received the Survivor mug.  


Jim Teisher and Michelle:

Jim and Michelle


On the ride back to Portland, Jim and I planned to stop at Suttle Lake to do another cold water training session.  Suttle Lake ended up being 70+ degress, so I said it didn’t seem worth it.  I was so tired too, so it was probably good that we didn’t.  We did stop for milkshakes, so that is a type of cold training.


The weekend was just what I needed.  Socializing with a ton of great people.  Gaining a connection to Sybil Fisher, the first Oregon solo Channel swimmer.  Meeting a swimmer that may help me make some t-shirt quilts.   Just a wonderful weekend.  So glad that I was talked into it.

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