END-WET 2014 Registration is OPEN

edited November 12 in Event Announcements
END-WET for 2014 is open for registration. (Note: new course this year and it's 36 miles, entry fee is $300 for solo). This was originally supposed to open on 1 January, but it apparently opened 2 weeks ago. This is a two thumbs way, way up event.

-LBJ
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
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  • I stayed up til 10 pm to try and register when it did open... didn't work til the next morning and I lost 2 hours sleep. Apparently @chicken o the sea and I were among the first 5 registrants. ! Very much looking forward to what looks to be a challenging and fun event.
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
  • mjstaplesmjstaples Atlanta, GA, USMember
    Great event for anyone looking for something different. Super laid back. And the race director and volunteers are splendid! Can't wait for next year!
  • Last year was great, and I'm going back this year. It would be hard to say enough things about what a great job the race director does for this event, and I'm sure all the other ones he puts on.
  • ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!! - When I posted this, I missed the fact that it is now scheduled for 21 June 2014 and not mid-July which was the original date. This is smack in the middle of 8 Bridges.

    Banging head on desk

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • True, LBJ, mid July would also have worked for me as I'm on my way to Quebec. 2015 then for us again...
  • This is on my short list, but like 8 Bridges it is in the middle of my summer family vacation. Bummer. Maybe in 2015.
  • I am in. Where is everyone staying this year? I stayed at Guest House last year. Okay, but not great. Pretty reasonable and rooms available.

    Maybe we can all head back East and hit 8 Bridges for stages 6 and 7.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Saw you on the list yesterday! I was at the other cheap one last year (mn side) and it was a bit Bates Motel-ish, but clean. Not sure about this year. If I'm near as untrained as last year I'll have trouble even changing gears in the car for a couple of days after...
  • Did your hotel have a bar? It was nice to just hit the hotel bar for a meal and beverage after the swim.

    Untrained? You swam on by me in the second half last year.

    Since we are finishing in town this year you don't have to worry about having to ride in the back of the van again for 30 minutes after the race.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    No bar. Just a bible on a table, open at a page that said I was naughty and was going to burn in an eternal fire. The usual.

    I think I popped something trying to beat the 2 person relay....
  • I stayed at the guesthouse last year, and it was fine for me. My wife is coming this year to paddle for me, so I'm going to look around a bit before I book anything
  • a bit less than 12 weeks away. Here's the river right now:

    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nd/nwis/uv?site_no=05082500

    Might be a cold swim.
  • I don't care about cold so much as speed of the river...
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
  • Apparently they are calling for a top-10 flood level in Fargo by mid-April. Could be a fun, fast ride. Besides, the faster and colder the river, the less chance you have of being eaten by the catfish - they have some frickin' huge catfish in that river.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    @Leonard_Jansen - At least the catfish stay in their holes, generally. The dead trees, like the one I swam into last year, hide out just below the surface of the water.

    We had a good ride last year because of near levee topping flooding that had started to subside a couple days before the swim. I have no business swimming that long a distance in that short an amount of time.

    Looks like I may need to start taking some ice baths or something. And hope that my wife, who is paddling for me, doesn't decide to route me into all manner of underwater obstructions.
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    Two weeks...
  • suziedodssuziedods Member
    I'm gonna be in so much pain....
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
  • Perhaps it should be made into a biathlon:
    1) Swim the race
    2) Mini-golf indoors at the Guesthouse motel after.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    No more rooms available at the guesthouse sob sob
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    no mini-golf biathlon for you poor girl. :((
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I'll be getting a facial at the Intercontinental
  • timsroottimsroot Member

    Perhaps it should be made into a biathlon:
    1) Swim the race
    2) Mini-golf indoors at the Guesthouse motel after.

    -LBJ

    Count me in...

  • Current forecast for 21 June...
    Weather.com: Sunny with clouds
    Accuweather.com: Strong thunderstorm.

    I'm glad they agree so closely, it really eases my mind.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Holy Crap... Just looked and the Red River is up over 20,000 CFS. When I did it in 2012 it was 1,600 CFS (a drought, but still it's more than 12.5 x's the flow)
    Also, I just looked at the Facebook website and it says they are going to REQUIRE all swimmers to wear a Swim Safety Device, like the ISHOF one. So add that as a new one to race-specific exceptions of the MSF rules.

    If anyone is there and reads this, can you give a shout out and let us know what speed the river is flowing at and the temp? I'll be there late tomorrow afternoon, but need to wrap my brain around this.

    We are going to die and it's so cool...

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    From the fb posts, it looks like it's mid to high 60's , and running about twice as fast as last year, which I finished in 8hrs 40, and I'm SLOW
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Looking forward to meeting you, Leonard
  • Just a heads-up to anyone going to END-WET: The weather has messed things up royally in terms of the airlines. Just got to the airport and found my flight was cancelled. After begging for an hour, I finally managed to get on a flight tomorrow. Nearly everything is overbooked, so you might want to check with the airlines NOW to be sure you can get there in time for the meeting tomorrow - many of the options I was given didn't get into Fargo (let alone Grand Forks) before the meeting started.

    Oy vey!

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Looking forward to meeting you, Leonard

    Same here, Amanda - assuming I actually can get there, that is.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • timsroottimsroot Member

    Just a heads-up to anyone going to END-WET: The weather has messed things up royally in terms of the airlines. Just got to the airport and found my flight was cancelled. After begging for an hour, I finally managed to get on a flight tomorrow. Nearly everything is overbooked, so you might want to check with the airlines NOW to be sure you can get there in time for the meeting tomorrow - many of the options I was given didn't get into Fargo (let alone Grand Forks) before the meeting started.

    Oy vey!

    -LBJ

    LBJ - I got a call this morning from American on my way to work that my flights today were canceled. Fortunatley, they rebooked me on something tomorrow, and I'll get to Fargo around 5:30 pm. Less than ideal, but at least I'll still get there.

    I'm still down for mini golf later in the evening, although my wife (pregnant and paddling for me anyway) isn't sure what to make of the fact that we're staying in a hotel with a mini golf course.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Oh wow. Glad I'm driving, though I'll be pushing it to make the meeting in time on Friday anyway...
  • timsroottimsroot Member

    Also, I just looked at the Facebook website and it says they are going to REQUIRE all swimmers to wear a Swim Safety Device, like the ISHOF one. So add that as a new one to race-specific exceptions of the MSF rules.

    If that's what local law enforcement requires to do the swim...

    River flows app reports 68.1°F, 28.1 kcfs right now
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    Also, law enforcement cleared the race with the river as high as 33 feet, app reports 32.48
  • SuddethBSuddethB Member
    Congratulations to all who participated! Awesome event. Hurray for all the paddlers and volunteers for making it a safe and successful event!
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    Sitting in the Fargo airport, early for or flight to Chicago. Amanda and I are both tired and sore and a bit punchy. All in all, I'd call it a successful weekend.

    The weekend didn't have the best start. Thursday morning, killing time before I helped drop or dogs off at the kennel, I got a call from American airlines that our flights were canceled, but we had been rebooked for flights on Thursday. The good news is that I got one more night in my own bed, but is lose a day is on site preparation. Nothing I could do about it, bit oh well.

    Or flights Thursday were, thankfully non eventful. We only ended up with about 20 minutes of delays, and minimal hassle despite not originally hanging been assigned seats. We landed in Fargo around 5:30 on Friday, picked up our bags, got our rental car, and drove the hour or so to Grand Forks.

    When we got off the interstate to go to Target, I noticed that the traffic lights were out. Thankfully, Target was still open, so we could get water for my bottles and food for Amanda.

    We stopped at McDonald's and went to check in to the hotel. After texting the race director to figure out where we needed to be the next morning, since we had missed the meeting that night, I made my bottles and got stuff ready for Saturday, and worked on getting to sleep.

    I slept relatively well, at least for me. Got up earlier than I needed to, filled our coolers out of the ice machine, got my bottles ready and hung out until it was time to leave.

    We checked in, got on the bus, and started the drive south to Belmont Park for the start. After our missed turn, we got there and were told we didn't have very much time to get ready. I went to the restroom behind a tree, them worked with the race director to figure out which boat Amanda would be in. After that, I put sunscreen in my arms, got help from Amanda for my back. Hurriedly greased up, helped carry the boat to the water, then joined the other swimmers. A little after 8, we walked into the 68 degree river with our SSD's to head back to Grand Forks.

    I very quickly realized that I had caused myself a problem. When I had gotten in a hurry, I got grease or sunscreen on my goggles. Coupled with the cool water and the low morning sun, I could hardly see anything (there wasn't any visibility in the water, but that was expected because of the river's turbidity). At some point, I asked Amanda for a different pair of dark goggles.

    All of the messing with my goggles, i'm pretty sure put me near the back of the race. I didn't feel great yet, but I never do my first hour in the water, so I wasn't concerned yet. Got through my first 3 feeds (I feed on a 20 minute schedule), but I still want feeling great, although I was physically feeling fine and with the current, I was making good progress.

    The river was quite high, with record rains in the region, above flood stage. As a result, the river had a lot of driftwood and debris. Amanda tried to keep the bigger stuff away from me, but I was still getting hit by a lot of it. My goggles were still fogging up a lot, and the combination of not being able to see and getting hit with so much debris combined to make me very angry and frustrated. I wanted out of the river, and I wanted to go home. I went to a dark place mentally. I wasn't mad at anyone else, but I did share with Amanda how frustrated I was. There was a bridge at about 15 miles, and I was very close to getting out. I wasn't having any fun at all. Physically I felt just fine, but the world between my ears was very very dark.

    I struggled there between about miles 8 and probably 14. But between a combination of yelling at myself and starting to catch people, my outlook improved. I caught two people, and after trading positions when we fed, I finally put them behind me as I got to my best part of the race, the back half. A few miles later, I caught another person. I swam with her for a bit, then eventually dropped her. I caught the butterflier who started two hours before us just before we got to mile 22. Mile 24 was a big one for me, as it meant I was two thirds done with "only" 20k to go. Each mile marker after that (only even miles were marked) was a mental boost. My shoulders were starting to hurt, but not bad enough that I couldn't fight through it or needed to swim one armed.

    At around 31 miles, I saw someone on a bike path stop to watch for a minute. We were in town! Somewhere around 32 miles, we went under a pedestrian bridge. We swing around a bend in river and saw the bridge again. Due to the gliding, we realized we could have cut the corner. I'm glad we didn't.

    As we got past the 34 mile mark, I realized we hadn't asked about the finish and hasn't made the meeting. Oops. Thankfully, a relay that finished before us was heading back upstream to take their boat out and told us where it was.

    Entering the homestretch, and staying to the right to be closer to the finish, there is another river that empties into the red right there. That was noticeably colder water. But, we saw the area where we had parked our car that morning. I swam under the last two bridges and swam for the finish line. I was so happy to be finished. 9 hours and 24 minutes. From a time elapsed perspective, the second longest swim I've ever done. Easily the longest distance wise.

    I'm proud that I finished, especially after the huge mental battle I had so early in the race (which I know cost me plenty of time, and maybe one place in the final standings). While I'd like to be able to maybe start a little faster, I was adobe to demonstrate again that I can survive to swim a strong last half. It hurt, but I seem to hang on better than some folks. Amanda helps me through a lot of stuff, even if she doesn't have to say anything, just by being there, which is a huge help.
  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    Wow, great job of pushing through the darkness. It sure doesn't sound like an easy time, but you persevered and probably learned a lot from it. Way to go, Timsroot!
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    Thanks, @flystorms. This was worst than most, I'm very pleased with myself that I was eventually able to power through and finish.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited June 23
    Did the IMSHOF floaty thing get in the way of any of you when/if you had to do number 2?

    And aren't those things normally farther behind you? Or did they make you use a shorter strap?
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    edited June 23
    I didn't have to go #2 during the swim, thankfully.

    I didn't have the strap quite all the way out, so when I'd turn around to tread with the current while I was feeding, sometimes I felt like it would get in the way, or if I'd turn to look behind me, it wouldn't turn around on its own. When I'd drop my hips to get vertical in the water to feed, even if I didn't turn around, I'd feel it pull a bit.

    I understand why they made us wear them, and given the river level, I don't disagree with the decision, but I'm still not a fan of swimming with it. I'd rather swim with an escort for visibility rather than the buoy, but they weren't making us wear them for visibility, the only boat traffic on the river was associated with the race, and all the swimmers had an escort.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    So you could have let some slack out if you wanted to, @timsroot?
  • End-Wet can't be explained; it can only be experienced. There is an aura of calm determination that permeates this event and makes the crazy seem normal. Andy Magness, the race director, makes it all look so easy, so day-to-day - not that it is easy, but it produces a certain confidence. In listening to him and watching the pre-race events unfold, you get a certain sense of "Well, of course I'm going to swim 36 miles in a flooded river - it's the most natural thing to do in the world, isn't it?" Or perhaps it's the volunteers and the people you meet on the street: "Yeah, swimming that long in the river IS crazy, but have at it, we're rooting for you and think it's great." Maybe it's North Dakota itself; it's sky so vast and panoramic, you see no limitations or boundaries and realize just how fantastic the possibilities actually are in this country and in this sport. Although he lived long before END-WET, Lord Byron could have had it in mind, when he wrote: "A man's reach must exceed his grasp, else what are the heavens for?"

    And so we reached this last weekend and although some were successful and some were not, everyone came away with the faintest shimmer of stardust on hands covered with the silt of the Red River of the North. This race is a mitzvah and every swimmer should, at least once, immerse themselves in the Red River, receive its blessing and experience the endless possibilities.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    Yeah, Mike, I could have, but it was my first time swimming with it, and with last minute travel changes, I didn't have any time to prepare it before hand
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Agree with Leonard 100%. I love EndWet. And not a pretentious wanker in sight, which is getting rare in OW swimm these days. The orange bubble didn't bother me at all
  • FrancoFranco Member
    Well said @Leonard_Jansen. Good seeing you, Tim and all of the other forum members. I really liked the switch to the in town finish. It just seemed to fit in more with the whole event and was very convenient. We've now done 63 miles of that river.

    Had fun swimming next to @ChickenOSea for the better part of 10 hours.

    There was a lot of debris though. All of the stick drill my coach has given me over the years paid off. It didn't bother me as I would grab one at entry until it was out of the way. I never thought of my goggles so much as a safety device as I did Saturday.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Ha! Yeah I was really glad to be wearing goggles! One of the sticks I nearly hit looked an awful lot like a snake
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    @ironmike there were many brown things floating in that river. Pretty sure no poo. I was neck and neck with a huge, floating birds nest for a while but think I beat it eventually
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd Member
    I train alone in the open water quite often and use an SSD (Safe Swimmer Device) almost always. I own 2, one that is a dry sack (can keep your keys or even your phone w/ a GPS app on it if you don't own a Garmin or other such device) and the one I call a donut w/ a hole in the middle where I keep a bottle and my paddles. I find it unobtrusive and very helpful in towing my feeds and such. You want to keep the leash short or you will kick it with your feet. The SSD is also peace of mind for my husband, even though it is not intended as a personal floatation device b/c it provides visibility and I joke that if something should happen, it will make finding my body easier.

    Kudos to End-Wet for requiring this piece of safety equipment in the flood water conditions. One can never predict what will happen in a flooded river. Having your swimmers wear the SSD was cheap insurance so that swimmers were more visible at all times.
  • edited June 23
    It was quite a swim. The usual superb, but laid-back, organization and safety in place and getting to (re)meet a number of forumites. The day started under a bright sun and everyone seemed pretty upbeat. I took it out slow (my signature move) but was steadily moving up until... cramps. About a week ago I pulled a muscle in my right calf. At around mile 8 or so, it decided to get stupid and started cramping like mad. In all, it probably cramped about 25 times in a major way (i.e. screaming) and several dozen times in a minor way. Some of the nastier things I had to say about it are probably still floating over the river like a giant toxic cloud. I think I lost around 45-60 minutes just trying to rub it out, stretch it, and curse at it. With less than 1/2 mile to go, a short and nasty thunderstorm started to move in and I barely got out before it hit. I would have cried if I'd been pulled with a couple hundred yards to go. So, OK, I made it, even if I didn't exactly cover myself in glory doing so. The river was VERY high and fast, and that helped, but you play with the cards you are dealt and I'm happy to have made it under any circumstance.

    Random stuff: The Sheriff's main boat sank when they somehow put a hole in the one pontoon. Someone got an excellent picture of everything but the canopy underwater.
    Everyone involved with the race organization and who volunteered were insanely great. Andy Magness, the race director, must be one of the world's greatest salesmen for convincing the sheriff's department that the race was doable in such a flood. It WAS doable, obviously, but the local wisdom has it that the river borders on being a sentient evil creature waiting to kill anyone that goes near it. How he got around that has to be one of the great conversations in open water history. Dakota Harvest must put crack in those semi-sweet, sea salt chocolate chip cookies. I'm thinking about them already. Will I sign up for next year? Ask me in a few days when the ache goes away and if I ever get out of the Fargo airport where I am as I type this. Also, there are now three great adventure beards in the sport - Rob Aquatics, Darren Miller (when he has one) and Landon Ascheman, who finished END-Wet. It's a serious beard.

    You must put this race on your to-do list. Period.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    @JBirrrd - The buoy is a good safety device, I probably could get used to it, but saturday was my first time swimming with one.

    I'm not sure if I'll go back next year or not, but I would recommend the swim to anyone. The event is well run, but laid back at the same time. I have no bad words to say about the race director and organization at all
  • ViveBeneViveBene Member
    I had to look up those Dakota Harvest bittersweet chocolate chip cookies with sea salt. And the rest of the menu.

    From time to time I swim with the ISHOF thingy. I haven't quite got the hang of it but think it's probably a good idea to know how to use one.

    Congratulations to all on a Very Exciting Meet!
  • I need to ask a question, and it will probably sound stupid. never having swum in a river, and this was a very swollen full of flood runoff..does anyone worry about pollution? seems like with the flooding there would be lots of shit and pesticides in the water.
    in Hawaii when it rains we have brown water advisories and are told to stay out. some of the concerns has to do with sharks congregating at river mouths waiting for dead animals to float down but the water is brown and yucky.
    so I need to know what you all think. I did ask Stefan (2nd overall) if the water tasted bad and he said it didn't.
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