June/July: Looking for cold water and some longer swims

June/July: Looking for cold water and some longer swims

Silbersee, Roxheim

Silbersee morning magic

Time is flying – and my training is considerably less than in 2008.  First weeks of June a few 3 hour swims in Roxheim (Silbersee) when weather and time permitted, but the water had warmed up too much already. Sat., June 26, my first 4 hour open water swim,

swans near the lake

Swan family in the Silbersee nature reserve

followed by a 1:20 hour dip on Sunday 27th on the way to Zurich with Indu at stopover at Titisee, while Germany was playing

England in the World Championship,  and a 5  hour swim in Lake Zurich on Monday (= 31 km weekend). I had hoped for cold water in Zurich, and even in Titisee, since Friday the water temp was still around 15°C, but by Sunday/Monday water temperatures had gone up to 21-22°C or even more. The Sahara summer over Europe had started.

Titisee dip, Black Forest, and 5 hours Zurich lake


Lake Titi, Black Forrest

Titisee is a small very pitturesque lake in the Black Forest, with extremely dark water due to the tannin from the pine trees. We rented a pedal boat so Indu could accompany me (she took a dip in the end). The further we went to the other shore, the warmer the water became. When I stuck my head out of the water at the opposite shore, I saw a few campers and asked about the soccer score. When we started out, it had been 2:1 (the second goal for England was not counted), and now – 4:1 for Germany – incredible, after their performance against Serbia! If they can do that, maybe the Channel will also work this time!

Zurich Lake

Zurich Lake training

After a nice evening meal overlooking the lake at Alemannenhof we continued to Zurich, where I did my 5 hours on Monday from the lido to Saffa Island and back, just by myself, with a few short breaks in between. It was a very nice familiar feeling to be back at the Zurich lake after such a long time, and enjoy the vastness of the lake and the view to the mountains. It is pretty safe to swim up and down for 1500m along the southern shoreline, where you can even see the sandy ground or the water plants in the clear water. In the evening I had my first major sunburn – but was very happy. Looking forward to the big Zurich Lake swim on Aug. 8th. Which will be the next big training step for Dover.

From then on my cold water training was restricted to the little “Kneipp” basin with 11°C water next to the outdoor pool in Bammental.

sunny long swim

Sunny long swim

3+7 hour lake swims July 17/18 (=30 km), 1+6 hours July 24/25th, both in Roxheim – heavily distracted by following Chloe`s successful double and Jackie Cobell`s incredible 28 hour solo via the AIS trackers.

I had hoped to do more long swims in bigger and colder lakes  – but with water temps too warm everywhere there is no reason to spend lots of time and money travelling – except to Dover.

Slight change of plans?

Since my running and biking is quite reduced due to time restrictions, and finances are a factor, too, I am thinking of shortening the triathlon distance a little for this year, back to the original idea – and leave room for more later.

Dover training: booked  a Euroline bus ticket to Dover for next weekend Fr to Monday to start serious cold water training. Really looking forward to it, and then Zurich lake the weekend after!

3 New Year’s Swims

3 New Year’s Swims

After endless days of pouring rain, finally the sun came out on Jan. 1st in the morning, when we drove down to Lindau on Lake Constance from Lindenberg, where we had celebrated New Year’s Eve. I was determined to get back into cold water on Jan. 1st – and the weather gods seemed to cooperate! With Indu as our driver, observer and lifeguard, Frederike (a long distance runner and cold water lover, hardened by winter swims in Lake Geneva) greeted the New Year with a great swim in 5°C waters of Lake Constance. After 12 min. I emerged elated – and red as a lobster. (photos to follow)

Zurich lake dip

After another extensive and delicious lunch I accepted Indu’s invitation to a short trip to her “office” in Zurich, where we spent a comfi evening with 2 inspiring DVDs (”The Peaceful Warrior” and “Hero”).

Zurich Lake with Swan encounter, Jan. 2nd, 2010

Zurich Lake with Swan and Ice swimmer Jan. 2nd, 2010

Next morning, after a short 20 min. run, we went for a second New Year’s plunge in the Zurich lake (we forgot our watches – maybe 7 min. in 4°C with cold winds) – with snow-powdered Uetliberg in the distance.

Winter magic at the lake of Einsiedeln

After a hot bath and some breakfast we collected Indu’s mother and sister and drove off to the winter magic of Einsiedeln, about 40 min. driving distance from Zurich. Einsiedeln means hermitage and is the site of a world-famous Benedictine monastery and a small but exquisitely beautiful lake. SNOW, finally! The weather was gloomy at first, but it was magic anyway. However, after an hour or so the sky cleared and the sun came out and created an unbelievable winter fairytale landscape. After a leisurely walk/run along the lake and some hot soup in a little hut we visited the amazing baroque abbey church (no photos inside!) in Einsiedeln – one of the sacred places in the world, stood in the “power circle” in the church center and meditated briefly in front of the “black Madonna“.

Short dip in the winter magic of Einsiedeln

Short dip in the winter magic of Einsiedeln, Jan. 2nd 2010

Just a short dip

The culmination of the little trip – at least for me – was a quick dip in the partly frozen-over lake, after finding a gap in the fence surrounding the lido. I would have loved to stay longer, but we wanted to get back to Heidelberg for a special meditation in the evening.

Still an absolutely great start into the New Year – with three times more cold swims than last year!

Enjoy the slide show.

Great news: First place with Eddie

To top everything off: I am now first place with Eddie on the tide starting Aug. 30th! (Apart from the Arc to Arc triathlon relay competition with different teams on that tide which would have priority.) Will this be my Dover-Heidelberg year, finally?


Link to some more serious winter swimming in China – which brings up memories of our winter ocean swimming in Dec. 2004 in Qingdao in subzero outside temperature, after watching local Chinese going for ice swims every day early in the morning. (And only a few days later the Tsunami happened – experiences of beauty and tragedy so close together, what a strange Lila, this life here on earth …)