Dover Training – A Different Angle on Things

The week before last’s training was interesting, with four swims in the 19C waters around La Jolla, followed by an abrupt increase in Dover Harbour time: 3 hours on Sunday, and a repeat dose on Holiday Monday.

I felt pretty tired after that, and didn’t have a big week in the pool.  Infact I only had a single quality session, where me trying hard, and fast swimming coincided.  On other occasions, the first happened OK, but the second did not follow.  The hours in the sea, and the cold water, made me pay a little.

I did find time to work in a social swim in the Nene with SuperHelen, Helen L, Bryn, Tom, Georgina, Sarah, Wendy and Dan Martin, visiting from Saudi.  On Thursday night we all made the pilgrimage to the RMEP at Cotterstock, jumped into the rapids, messed about for a while, before bobbing downstream to Tansor where all the gear was stashed.  The RMEP was super-fun again, and the water invogorating after recent rains.  Tom’s Facebook video kinda sums it up…..

Thanks also to Tom for the photos:


I think that's me

I think that’s Dan.  Helens in the foregroud getting readyAfter RMEP Dinner - Many Giggles and Calories

After RMEP Dinner – Many Giggles and Calories

That's me for sure

That’s me for sure

Thinking about it - what if I don't come back up?

Me, Helen L, Dan


After the fun and games came the serious stuff, back-to-back swims in Dover Harbour on Saturday and Sunday.  The usual routine of getting up, packing the car, and heading off to Dover, coffee at Maidstone Services, before the epic roll down the hill into Dover, the majesty of the sea, the ferry terminal; the end of England amidst chalk cliffs, and an imposing, concrete, harbour.  This time, the sun was shining, Mr Blue Sky was playing on Helen’s car stereo, and I was thrilled to be there!

The redcaps slowly accumulated till about 30 were there (recall, the redcaps are there training for solo attempts; the yellow caps who start an hour later at 10 AM are training for relays).  The usual routine of registering, applying suntan lotion (for it was sunny), and greasing up courtesy of Barry was followed by the briefing from Freda:

4 hours.

Yep, 4.  Monday had been 3.  Saturday: 4.  I was happy at least I hadn’t got 5, as some people on earlier tides had been given!

The swimming was pretty good.  The first couple of hours were reasonable fun, and I even swam with a buddy Liam who I met in the water, who seemed to be going at a similar pace to mine.  The water was pretty calm, and the sun shone beautifully for the most part.  I wouldn’t call it warm, being still at 13 point something Celsius, but I managed to cope.  The third and fourth hours passed off uneventfully, though I lost Liam.

Apres swim was glorious.  Cold for sure, but the sun beating down as the swimmers sat on the beach and exchanged war stories.

Helen and I relaxed for the rest of the day, had lunch then later dinner, flew quadcopters…….  Recuperation before the following day.  The Premier Inn had been refurbished recently, so even the hotel was lovely!

Sunday dawned differently.  Sullen is probably the best word to describe the day that greeted us.  It was calm still, and pleasantly warm for Dover on June 1st, but the flats next to the Premier Inn and Swimmer’s Beach huddled  moodily under the cliffs.

Freda briefed again:

4 hours again.

Things were really starting to get serious now.

In we went.  The tide was very low again, so we walked a little way out until the cool water got to our waists, before plunging in and heading off to the wall by the ferries.  Sunday felt very different for me.  Maybe it was to do with the absence of any sunshine, or the effect of the previous day’s swim, but I felt cold in the second hour.  As people came in for the first feed at 2 hours, I could see I wasn’t the only one.  Purple-blue shoulders were the order of the day.

Luckily things got better.  I think I had been swimming very much within myself for the first couple of hours, conscious of the fact that it was a marathon not a sprint on the day.  In the third hour I upped the pace and swam much faster, and things felt much more agreeable.  I was pleased to get out after four hours though.  It wasn’t a trivial swim.

I took a few quadcopter videos during the Dover weekend, hopefully which show Dover from some unusual angles.  Enjoy!



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