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In at the deep end - John C. Kirk

Jun. 7th, 2010

12:37 am - In at the deep end

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This weekend, I have mostly been cycling laps of central London.

On Saturday morning, I was out on duty for Trooping the Colour. So, I cycled from the City to St James Park, then back again afterwards. I then cycled to Hyde Park (going past St James Park on the way), so that I could lead my marshalls around the WNBR route; this involved crossing the river four times, and we ended up near the Tower of London. So, that's two round trips. On Sunday I was back out again, doing another training session. I've now ridden that route three times in four days, so I'm getting quite familiar with it now! Afterwards, I cycled down to Tooting Bec Lido; by this point I'd done 25km, so it was nice to cool off with a plunge in cold water. Then another 11km to get home.

I recently set up a team for my workplace in the TfL Cycle Challenge. You get "badges" (i.e. electronic logos) depending on how far you've cycled. Since I've now done more than 100 miles so far in June, I'm rated as "Cycle Champion"; once I go past 200 miles I'll become "Elite", which will probably happen later this week. More importantly, this is pushing my team up the leaderboard, so we're now in 32nd place. With luck, we may actually win some kind of prize this year!

While I was at Hyde Park, I had a quick look around the Serpentine Lido. When I went there last year, I was on foot, so I wanted to check whether there were any bike racks nearby. Lots of people chained bikes to the railings at the cafe, but there are also six Sheffield stands nearby: if you're facing the cafe (with your back to the lido), you need to follow the path to your right (past the toilets). So, that's useful to know for future visits.

When I went to Tooting Bec Lido last week, I jumped in so that I was fully submerged all at once. However, I'd previously eased my way in, to acclimatise to the water. This time I decided to push my boundaries a bit further, by jumping in at the deep end as my first entry to the water. After all, what's the worst that could happen? (Apart from drowning...) I put my hand in the water first, partly to test the temperature and partly to rinse my googles, so I knew that it felt a bit warmer this time. When I went in, it was fine: still intense enough to make me gasp a bit, but I wasn't in any danger. Still, even if the challenge was all in my head, it's still good to face it. Next time, I might preserve the element of surprise by not putting my hand in the water first; I can leave my goggles on the side, and retrieve them after my jump. Anyway, the cool water was refreshing, and I felt quite mellow after I'd done 5 lengths (about 450m). So, if anyone else is suffering in the heat then come on in - the water's lovely!

Comments:

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From:sammoore
Date:June 7th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
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I've been doing some swim training in the N Atlantic this week. I'm up on the West coast of Scotland for my sister's wedding.

I managed a few shorter swims (600-800m) and one of a mile. It was deeply satisfying to have swum to the pub!

I've never swum at the Serpentine (well only once at midnight and it was v brief), I'll have to make a trip!
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From:johnckirk
Date:June 9th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
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Swimming to the pub does sound pretty cool. Did you get someone else to carry your clothes, or do they just have a relaxed dress code?

I'm guessing that your Serpentine dip was a bit "unofficial" :)

The OSS keep sending me emails about their outdoor events, e.g. a 2 mile swim along the Thames, but I wouldn't want to attempt something like that until I can cover the same distance in a lido. So, for now I'm working on endurance rather than speed: 18 lengths at Tooting Bec = 1 mile, so that's what I'm working towards.
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