I live a fair distance from the coast. There are places in the UK where you can be further from the coast, but the reality is that it takes me an hour and 30 minutes to get to somewhere like Southwold for a nice cold swim.
So today I thought I would go to a fairly newly opened facility an hour away from where I live, and have a swim. Trifarm is a place where you can swim, bike and ride on the same locality; it even has transition areas to practice those all-important (to some) transitions.
I have finally got fed up with Jesus Green Lido, as it is just too crowded and too warm (25C on the last visit), so thought Trifarm was worth a try.
It certainly won handily on the crowd front. Hardly anybody there today (it is the day of the London Triathlon which might explain it. It is basically a shallow lake, roughly round and about 400 m in diameter. Four buoys describe a course which is swum clockwise, the round trip distance supposedly ~ 800 m, though the Garmin suggests ~725 m.
You can see that it is a fairly recent facility, as the aerial photo from Bing shows it mostly as a farmer’s field. The slightly older aerial photo from Google shows it ALL as a farmer’s field. It only opened this year, and has 2 lifeguards on duty at all times. This seems a little like overkill, but you can’t argue with the Health and Safety people, not in the UK!
It was a bright and breezy, pleasantly warm summer day in the UK. July has wound its way onwards in a beautiful, lazy, warm fashion, receding from the unusually high temperatures of the first three weeks of the month, but still lovely. The lake was a disappointingly bath-like 23C, as it clearly doesn’t take a lot of warming up…
There is a ramp to get down into the water from the bank where you get in, and where I left my coolbox full of Maxim, cashew nuts (yum) and jelly babies, then onto some nice squishy mud, and off into the lake. Not a lot of visibility in the lake, even though it is pretty shallow, but hey, swim around the coasts of the UK, especially down the east and the Channel and it can be pretty murky too. Parts of it are quite shallow with lots of weeds to battle your way through, but not really a problem.
I ended up doing 15 laps, though during one of them I obviously nodded off, as I completely omitted the 3rd buoy and went straight to home. Navigation has never been my strong point. I stopped every couple of laps for a drink, which seems to have taken a while, as out of the 3 hours and 58 minutes, 33 minutes was spent ‘not swimming’. Not great. Still, 10.5 km in the open water, nice easy pace (31 minute miles), and felt pretty good.
Also met another Channel Aspirant! Heidi is booked in with Paul Foreman in September next year. I think I might be seeing her quite a lot next spring, as we shiver on the beach of Dover Harbour.