December 13 Training Report - the word is COMMITMENT

As the weather outside gets colder, it gets harder and harder to train. Water temperature is one thing, but mentally, wind and cold air temperature can make it seem so much colder. On Saturday, Madhu and Mark were in the 7 minute range, Loren in the 9 minute. Below is an email exchange from Madhu to the team regarding a proposal from Loren to push the barrier - this gives you deep insight as to how these guys handle things. Following that is a report from Madhu as to just how it went.

Leave your messages of support for these guys below - they are pushing the limits of their capabilities every day, and it would be great to hear back from those of you reading this out there!


Tomorrow's jumptime: 7:45 am @ Coronation park (all are welcome).
Water temp: 2 C (35.6F)

Today's swim report
Did we really push the barrier? Not really, but today was a great test run and got a check on all systems test (I was surprised that I recovered faster and I had better control of my hands, legs etc. I know, the land crew was a tiny bit disappointed that we got out after "7:00 - Mark", "7:23 - Madhu" and "9:00 - Loren". But, I loved todays swim for all the crowd and post swim coffee at Bretts. This is awesome

Alex/Cousin Al/Darren had completed their 90 min run and were all ready to help us out. Darren got in his dry suit and was in the water manning Loren's new gadget which has recorded some nice swimming. Darren in the water was a massive mental boost for me. Just the thought of him being there to reach us faster is a great comfort - I guess, I need operate outside this comfort (I think Loren has figured me out and sent me this  email on commitment for tomorrow's swim- you'll like this).

Darren, Great footage!! Do we get to see you tomorrow morning? 

Rob/Kirsty/Joanne did a loop run to Coronation park to support us. Loved seeing you all (you should do it again). Rob this was almost a LOST swim (you could make it a LOST by getting in the water and helping us in reading the water temperature)

Steve/Marty/Mike, Thanks for your patience and support. We would not be able to do any of this without your help. Love the fact that you are there for us and know exactly how to react when we get out of the water. you guys are one heck of a team. This is an incredible feeling. With this kind of team - we can keep pushing the barriers and get across any body of water. Thank you guys and I just love the energy you bring to this adventure.

Thanks Mike for a great cup of coffee at Brett's LOCT. 

Brett, Thanks for hosting us!!


So, in climbing, there are various rating systems that try to capture both the difficulty of the route, and also it's objective risk with respect to protection. 

Thus, for instance, a moderate route might have a rating in North America (the British and French systems differ somewhat) of 5.7R, where the 7 (the decimal isn't mathematically meaningful) indicates the technical difficulty (usually of the crux, or most difficult move), and the "R" stands for "runout", meaning that there are long stretches on the climb where protection is difficult or marginal at best. An  "X" rating would basically mean "don't fall ..."

That Dan Osman video I posted last week? That's by default a 5.7X, since he's free-soloing sans rope, and thus is placing no protection whatsoever!

In alpine and mixed climbing, there is a further, usually less formal designation, which attempts to convey the degree of commitment required for the route.

This is the rough sense that, even on an easy, well-protected route, you may simply find yourself in situations where there is realistically only one way to proceed, with retreat or rerouting being difficult, often more dangerous than simply continuing the line, or outright impossible. (Routes far in the backcountry typically involve commitment in the related sense of demanding considerable preparation, planning, and a long, sometimes complicated and dangerous approach, before anyone even gets to do any technical climbing.)

Commitment is a funny thing, because even when you're on an easy line that you've climbed many, many times before, you notice even slight differences in degrees of commitment. It's often a subtle thing, but it's there: there's a different kind of focus and resolve that you adopt, or you simply don't do the route, even if it's technically very easy and intimately familiar.

So, Coronation.

This is basically your beach. You logged countless laps of this segment of shoreline, training for your Lake O crossing. It is, by any measure, an intimately familiar piece of water for you.

Tomorrow I propose (conditions permitting, as always): that we walk in up to chest depth, make a southerly line for the first rock breakwall, and then we don't stop until we get there. 

Then, we turn around and swim our haggard butts back to the other, northern breakwall, and see how we feel.

Maybe we get out after this, maybe we swim a bit more.

This shouldn't take more than ten minutes, maybe twelve at the outside. It should bag us between 400m and 500m of solid swimming in 2C water.

It will, however, involve a very modest, but still significant degree of commitment.

We can try to stick together in formation, or split up a bit, but that's less important than committing to the line. The shore team can walk along the beach with us if we want, but I'd almost prefer they didn't, at least for this particular exercise (because: commitment).


Wow, We had a nice swim this morning. COMMITMENT is the word of the year for me. I followed Loren's plan, Loren and Brian on the kayak to the first break wall. On Mike's thumb's up(reassurance) we turned back. Although, I struggled a bit on my swim to the break wall. Return trip was a tiny bit easier, but I ended up in the shallower and rocky part of the lake (this reminded of my encounter with the coral during Maui swim) - I immediately stopped kicking and swam a few meters and then I had to reposition and swim back. We did a 400mts swim in about 9min30sec but got out of the water at 10:30. I needed help in getting dressed and not sure how Loren does it? he's all independent and gets ready before I do (I guess it is the alpinist in his genes/blood). We had a pretty decent swim this morning. Thanks Steve, Mark (and Mark's tent), Brian on the kayak for guiding us through the water and getting some valuable footage. Brett brought his LOCT spirit to the lake.

Thanks everybody for supporting us. I know this is a bit crazy and I hope you are not getting tired of it (we only have 5 more weeks of training) - I promise, you'll never see me swim in the lake again.... (EDITORS NOTE: pay no attention to this promise - all open water swimmers promise this - and yet shortly thereafter they are right back in the water ;))