So to continue the soap opera, the weather tomorrow is swimmable. However, I will not be able to swim with my pilot after all. The first slot fella, Chris, will swim with him on Saturday. Even though Sunday and Monday may be swimmable (but harder due to the tides) that is not an option as my contract with Eddie ends Saturday and he has commitments to take rowers across the channel on Sunday. All kinds of crossings take place apparently. In fact, as we had lunch outside today we got to see a man fly across the channel using a jetpack and a wing. He parachuted as planned and landed 2-3 miles away. It was pretty neat to watch.
So back to my swim, I remembered seeing a post on a site for channel swimmers that said a pilot had a first postion open. That's a little unusual since these things are booked at least a year in advance but I went ahead and contacted him. Long story short, I will be swimming with him tomorrow morning starting out at about 8:45am Dover time/3:45am SC time. If all goes well, I will finish close to midnight, get back to Dover around 3:00am and then leave for the airport at 5:00am. It will be tight.
The last piece of the soap opera is that I have a bad cold and am concerned about having the strength and stamina to make it across. I asked the advice of some expert channel swimmers and people for whom I have great respect. They told me I should wait until I feel right physically and mentally and come back next year. I think they are wise. However, I am stubborn. So I will swim. They will probably be right in the end but I figure my worst case scenario is that I don't make it all the way across but get a really good (and expensive) training experience for my next shot at it which could really be 2 years away because 2009 is mostly booked. I need to take this chance now. I am going to try hard to get my head in the right place to do this. I need to think there's only one way to finish this swim. By walking out on French soil.
So while my family is out and about now making last minute arrangements, money transfers, etc, I am going to try and get a nap and then pack my bags a final time. I really want to say publicly how much I appreciate the help and support my wife Lauri, sons Ben and Jacob, support person Bonnie Crickman and her daughter Anna have provided me. The have endured the rollercoaster and been real troopers. I owe them big time for putting them through this. Thanks also to everyone who has written me on this blog or otherwise. The support has been fantastic.
PS - I removed the picture of Anastasia and the link to track my progress as I will not be with that boat now. I will be on Ocean Breeze with David Whyte. Unfortunately, it does not have the ability to be tracked as the other boat did. So I will have to get the word out as soon as I am able to get back on this blog. I am signing off for now. I will get dinner soon and head to bed. Tomorrow, I swim.
After competing in triathlons for 9 years, I decided it was time to try something different. In the back of my mind I had always had this idea that I would try to swim the English Channel some day. Now, after almost 2 years of distance swimming training, that day is almost here!