Saturday, 9 January 2010

Away from home

Today, a group of Tooting Bec Lido members namely : Sue and Gus, Margy and Egg, Naomi, Pip, Mandy, Batch, Chris, James and I, ventured out of our own comfort zone (familiar pool and SAUNA) to compete at Leybourne Lakes in Kent. Our hosts Team Outrageous gave us a truly "outrageously amazing" time. The setting was absolutely beautiful and the conditions as wintery as we could only hope for! However, we all concluded that the wind was rather fierce ...

Mike, who runs Team Outrageous, had done a great job clearing enough ice from the lake so that the races could take place. Sadly the turn out was rather poor which meant that the organiser decided to run only two short distance races - all men in one race and all women in another followed by the 450 meter endurance race. Deciding to thrown all age groups together was a good one. The men's race had our four SLSC members plus two from Tea Outrageous competing. And the ladies race was a pure SLSC affair :) Although Gus had entered for the endurance too, he made the wise decision to keep it at one race only. We were all happy that Gus had changed his mind because there simply would not have been enough time between races for him to warm up!

Before the races Mike explained that two well heated 4x4 cars would drive competitors to the start which was about 500 meter away from the cabin we got changed and drive competitors back again after the race. That sounded a bit different from getting either into a hot tub or the sauna ... but hey, we wanted to experience what it was like competing "in the wild"!

The only concern we raised was when Mike mentioned that we had to stay submerged to our should in the water for seven minutes, to acclimatise, before he would start the race! At which point we all shouted in unison: "what, seven minutes, no way!" It only took one look before we agreed that as soon as we all had our shoulders in the water (which would be rather swiftly!) we would be off :)

Once that "minor" detail was settle, we were all eager to get going! The water temperature was no real concern, we all knew that it would be cold ... but as I' m sure you would all like to know, Mike mentioned something about it being below zero! in fact minus 2 .. hard to believe .. and we didn't really care either. We came to experience wild swimming and wild it was! The quality of the water was really lovely.

I'm not sure how far the "short races" were because we had to swim to a sheet of ice in the distance, touch then ice and swim back! We (ladies) were quite pleased that the mens race was to kick off the meet!

The short races were from the edge of the lake to the sheet of ice and background

Naomi and Sue having a snow ball exchange!

keeping warm and getting ready to cheer on the men

here they come

Batch and James getting out of the heated 4x4 and down to the lake

quick line up before the race

Mike pointing to where they have to swim .. and back!

false start ....

... and now they're off!

Chris ( yellow hat) just got pipped at the line

Gus, a team outrageous and James making it out too

luxury: being chauffeured back in a heated 4x4

ladies next!

we are in and ...

... off in no time!

Mandy won the race by a mile!

Not sure how I came in second ... but I did :)

Competitors getting ready for the endurance ...

... being carefully watched...

... and they are off

the only lady competitor up in front on her own ...

... and the clear winner

cheered on by us all and welcomed by Sue and Margy

second in

last one to make it ... looked a bit shaken but ...

... is as "tough as nails", according o Mike!

All was well that ended well! we gave our thanks and good byes to Team Outrageous and drove off again in convoy just in time to make it back to the Lido for Blue Peter!

I could only stay a short while and caught the practice hamster run

looks easier than it is!


  1. An unusually brilliant blog. See you in the pool sometime - when I'm working less and have thrown off the 3rd bout of cold. Carl (the ginger one)

  2. Very coool indeed ! loved the photos, glad I didn't have to do the swim.7 minutes in frozen water - WOW !! even before the race, what an achievement, crazy but wonderful people, what's next ? Very hard act to follow.