Wednesday 27 August 2008

Dover 2008 week 17 - 3 Days in Dover Harbour (on our wedding anniversary!)

Above: A 7 Hour training swim in Dover harbour on our 11th wedding anniversary - Saturday August 23, 2008.

Day 1 - Saturday August 23, 2008

This weekend was going to be a really important one. With only two weeks to go before my two-way channel swim attempt, it would be the last big training weekend before I start to taper down ready for the channel. It was also our 11th wedding anniversary.

Arriving at the beach, it was a beautiful clear sunny day and the harbour was dead flat. When Freda said "6 hours please Hoffy" to me, I replied "Can't I do 7 please?". She crossed out 6 on her pad and wrote 7 in it's place. I think I am slowly going mad! It was 9am and I said goodbye to Bex, wished her a happy anniversary, and told her I would see her at 3pm - 7 hours later. This is the fantastic thing, she is fully supportive of the swim, and without this support, it simply would not be possible.

I set off with Nick Aspey from Wigan, who was in the harbour doing his 6 hour qualifying swim. It was hist first time in Dover, and he was really excited about it. I did explain that it wasn't always as calm as it was today, but he simply had a great time, really enjoying himself until he got out at 6 hours with his swim complete. Well done Nick, great swim - the longest he has ever done in one go.

Beccy was on the beach with the usual team, and was there to feed everyone when we came in. After 7 hours, I came in pleased with myself having completed 19,260 Metres in 7 hours.

To celebrate our anniversary, I had booked a table at Cullins Yard for 7.30pm. Having been there for about an hour, I heard some South African voices behind me. I turned round, and there sitting right behind me was none other than "The Ice Bear" himself, Lewis Gordon-Pugh - the first man ever to swim for 1KM at The North Pole in -1.7 Degrees Centigrade water!

Above: South African Channel Swimmers including front, left in the red T-shirt - Lewis Gordon-Pugh, me seated on floor, and far right at the front, a South African swimmer who had just swum the channel that day.

Above: Beccy on our 11th wedding anniversary at Cullins Yard.

After a fantastic steak, we said goodbye to the South Africans, and headed back to our beds for the night, ready for another big swim the following day.

Day 2 - Sunday August 24, 2008 - 133 Years to the day since Captain Matthew Webb first swum the English Channel.

Above: Coming in for a feed during Sunday's swim.

What a bloody miserable day. It was horrible. When we got up, it was cold, grey skies, raining and no sign anywhere of the sun which had shone the day before. To cap it off, over by the Eastern Dock it was like swimming in a washing machine. It was horrible, so I swum with Chris Enyon from Sudbury & District swimming club "up and down the wall" where it was a bit calmer to say the least.

At about 3.75 hours, I had one of those feelings which I have experienced many times when we are fed Maxim Electrolyte rather than the full Maxim. I was sprinting with Chris, when it felt like I had just run out of fuel. I told him to continue at his pace while I swum at mine. I continued up the wall, back down again, and really struggled along the beach. I was absolutely famished. I was so hungry it hurt. I stopped and started, just making it to the beach at 4 hours and 5 minutes ready for a very welcome feed when to my astonishment Beccy stood there and said "Everyone out. Finished. You're all getting out". Apparently, for the first time in living memory, Freda had had enough, and you can't blame her. All of the beach crew, including Beccy, were absolutely soaked through to the skin. It was a truly awful day. I had however, completed 10,255 Metres.

Chatting to Beccy later, she told me that we were going to do 4 hours tomorrow so that we could all get home early in case of bad traffic. This was a shame as I had wanted to complete 7 Hours/6 Hours then 5 Hours over the weekend.

Day 3 - Bank Holiday Monday August 25, 2008

Monday was no better than Sunday. Grey, dark skies, cold wind and really miserable. At least it was only going to be a 4 hour swim and then we could be off home. "Hoffy - 6 hours." came the words from Freda's mouth. "6?" I replied. "Yes, we need to get the hours in as we only did 4 yesterday". Bloody weather! I got in and set off to swim for 6 hours.

At 4 hours I was really fed up, and for the first time for a long time I was cold, so cold that I was shivering as I swum. This was not good so near my channel swim. I think I had mentally prepared myself to swim for 4 hours, not 6 and it's amazing how your mind adapts to this way of thinking. I was a bit angry with myself, and as I came in for a feed I said "What a bloody way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday. One more hour then I'm getting out!". I had my feed then set off.

I sprinted quite hard, and soon began to warm up. Up and down the wall I was putting in some good sprints. When it came to the end of hour 5, I had snapped out of it and was looking forward to the last hour. As I arrived back at the beach, several women of varying degrees of looking stern were standing at strategic locations across the beach. Standing head and shoulders above the rest at the top of the beach (the tide was out) was The General. "What's the matter with them?" I thought to myself. Then I realised and burst out laughing. They were all stopping me getting out! "It's Ok." I said, "I'm all better now, I'm not getting out!". I had my feed and completed 6 hours 5 minutes covering 16,180 Metres.

Above: Getting out after 6 hours and 16,180 Metres. Thank you ladies for ensuring I didn't get out at 5 hours! LOL!

All in all, although the weather was miserable on the Sunday and Monday, it was a very productive weekend covering a total of 45,695 Metres. Next week, I will be tapering down hopefully, weather dependant, preparing to start my two-way channel swim attempt the following weekend. After the disappointment of Jersey, let's hope this one goes ahead!

Total time in the harbour this week - 17 Hours 10 Minutes.
Total distance covered - 45,695 Metres.


Picklesmum said...

Wow, what a weekend. You put the rest of us to shame.
Happy Wedding Annivesary to you both!

Hoffy Swims said...

Hi P.M. - Thanks for the wedding anniversary wishes. It was a tough weekend and I still ache today! Have you been to Ruby's new blog yet?

Speak soon.

Kind regards.


Chris Pountney said...

yo hoffy

your shoulders wouldnt hurt so much if you spent more time swimming bunny-paddle.

see you at the weekend


Vasanti said...

You are heroes! Braving another weekend of dreadful conditions! At least on the Day it can hardly get worse! It's nice to feel in touch through your blog - and Chris's.

Happy late anniversary to both of you! (you and Beccy, of course)

Greetings from the "bathtub" (my more than 64 F lake and pool)


Hoffy Swims said...

Chris - Yes that was quite a unique stroke you were doing there last weekend - "bunny-paddle". Not sure it will get you across the channel though! LOL!

Hi Vasanti - good to hear from you. I keep checking your blog out. Keep up the good work and let us know how you progress. Thanks for the anniversary wishes.

Kind regards.

Hoffy & Bex.

grumpyoldwoman said...

Congratulations to you both on your 11th anniversary. And well done Hoffy on beating the elements. I remain in awe of you both - it is all I can do at the weekend to sit in a chair and watch the grass growing! And WHAT mnew Ruby blog - why dont I know about it - waaaah.

Florries Mum said...

I've got to say this-Becs must love you to put up with this week after week-doesn't she get bored? And what happens to Casper? Apart from that best of luck for the two-way swim, come round with your collecting tin when you're done.We went to Felixstow to-day and despite the air temperature being a beautiful 28 degrees the sea was freezing-so my admiration goes out to you. BTW new crossing in Westgate Street now in place-well done. As that blog seems to be closed down I decided to delete it-only to be asked 'do you want to relegate Councillor Paul Hoppenetc to the recycling bin?' Had to laugh-but there you went- to be replaced with Hoffyswims!!!

Hoffy Swims said...

Grumps – thanks for the anniversary wishes. I’m in awe of you. How do you have the patience and staring ability to sit in the chair for the whole weekend and watch grass grow!? LOL! Ruby’s blog – just look at her profile and you will find it.

F.M. – Long time no hear! Bex does enjoy herself because she helps with all the feeding on the beach, as well as goes shopping in Dover, followed by food and wine in the evenings!

Re the crossing in Westgate Street – watch this week’s BFP. P.F. is claiming responsibility for it both by leaflet and on his blog. Makes me sick. That’s why I closed the blog down. Anyway – glad to know that ‘HoffySwims’ is not in the recycling bin! LOL! You can donate online by clicking one or both of the “Just Giving” icons on this site (every time I knock on your door you are never there!).

p.s. Casper is looked after by his nana and granddad. Every Friday about 11 am he starts to get restless and excited now!