With the exception of a few people, everyone I know thinks I’m crazy for swimming in the Hudson River. I really just can’t figure out why. What’s not to like about jumping into a cold, choppy river with a tide table that takes a PhD to figure out?
Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush or maybe it’s because practicing swimming in open water makes me a better triathlete, but it’s hard to resist a chance to swim in the Hudson.
My latest splash in our local river was this past weekend at the 2 Bridges Swim. The race course loops around 2 Bridges – the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Walkway over the Hudson pedestrian bridge. The race started halfway between the two bridges, on the Poughkeepsie side of the river. We swam north first, sighting off of the towering stanchions of the Walkway, and then made a loop under the bridge to turn south. The southern section of the swim was one solid kilometer of chop. It was actually kind of fun to figure out how to swim in rougher water again after not swimming in open water in over a year. Even though there were several swimmers in the race and lots of support boats and kayaks, I couldn’t see much out there. Occasionally, I would spot the faint splash of the guy in front of me or catch a glimpse of the cliffs that line the river’s edge. Other than that, it felt like I had the river to myself. After the race, I was told that a big barge went by us (I had no idea).
Swimming felt surprisingly good and it felt great to push myself, especially in the last 500m of the race. I finished first overall in the non-wetsuit division and never once got cold. Both big victories, considering the water was only in the mid-sixties. Thanks to organizers Dave B. and Rondi for putting on a safe and fun race and for bringing us all to such a beautiful place.
Up next, I’ll be continuing my tour of local races with the New Paltz Family 5k on Father’s Day. As Laurel put it, I’m like a pro baseball player doing time in the minor leagues after an injury. Later this summer I’ll get called up to the big leagues.
Nutrition: pre-race: one full bike water bottle of First Endurance EFS, started drinking 1 hour before, one shot of kona mocha gel 15 minutes before race start, and a Justin's nut butter candy bar(!) during the drive over to the race.
During race: nothing, other than a few gulps of river water.
Post-race: 2 plain ZICO's back to back and a KIND bar.