Tex Robertson Highland Lakes Challenge (This weekend!)

SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
Probably a bit late to post this, but there's a great swim down in Austin, Texas this week: The Tex Robertson Highland Lakes Challenge Its a very relaxed, fun environment, typically draws 20-30 swimmers. It's a stage race with 5 swims in 5 different lakes, similar to SCAR, only with distances suitable for the common man (2.5 to 4.5 miles). You don't have to do all 5 days, in fact, only about 3-5 swimmers typically do all 5 days. Most come for just the weekend stages (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Each day also offers a 1-mile option. No escorts required! I saw several folks in Chattanooga last weekend who were planning on doing Highland Lakes. Join us!
IronMikessthomas

"Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

Comments

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    I really wanted to go to this! Looking at the weather forecast for Austin vs. Seattle this week, I'm kicking myself for not making it happen.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Post -event, I wanted to post and give more encouragement for more to consider this event in their event or training plan. I've swum in this now for 3 years, and as an open water swimmer who is carefully training to grow in distance, this event(local for me) has been perfect. Small, yet varying levels of swimmers--everyone belongs. Flexibility in event length, choose 5 or 3 days or whatever works for you.

    My plan this year was to swim long days 1,3,5 and short on 2 and 4 in prep for my first 10K in a couple weeks. Alas, my training went down the toilet in September when I turned up pregnant. (Side note: yes, you can train extensively when pregnant, but the first months you may prefer to tear your own toenails off!) Instead I knocked back to 5 days of a mile each, which I've done before and thus still gave me a way to judge where I've been and where my training has taken me.

    I'd highly encourage folks to consider thisevent as a training week in building up to a longer distance swim. You also can't beat fall in Texas Hill Country, PIE as a daily prize(I won 3--my kids love me!) and a chill Austin TX vibe for a swim with definite English Channel rules.
    Spacemanspiff
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Having secured the dog sitter, I paid my entry fee and booked a flight! I've been itching to go to this event for several years and it's finally going to happen. We're flying in a few days early so we can visit a friend in Austin who we haven't seen in 14 years. I'm excited that my season isn't over yet!

    Anyone else going?

    ssthomasbluemermaid9curly

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Me!! But I live here, it's an annual thing.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    Slightly off topic- but I'm travelling to Austin for work next Tuesday-Wednesday and am looking for a quick swim on Tuesday evening. Any suggestions @swimdaily?

  • Barton springs -a spring fed pool about 200 yds long right in downtown in Zilker park. It's 68-70 degrees. I think this time of year there is still an entrance fee 3 or 5 dollars??

    For quick that's your best bet other than normal boring pools

    ssthomas
  • And it's really pretty to swim in

    ssthomas
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I'm definitely swimming there! I intentionally picked a hotel nearby.

    ssthomas

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    I just got confirmation that I can make it! I love this swim. It is like the perfect vacation: swim in the mornings, pie for lunch, nap in the afternoon, poker a night. Repeat. For five days. The lakes are all beautiful, the swims are short(ish) and the people are warm and friendly.

    As to @swimdaily 's recommendation of Barton Springs. It is a one-of-a-kind swimming hole. Here's a pic:

    Barton Springs

    ssthomaswendyv34phodgeszohodpm50

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    Thanks! I'll be there. And, maybe one year I can plan my work trip around this swim event. Seems like fun. I like pie. :-)

    swimdaily
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Nice! Looking forward to meeting a couple of you in person! . :)>-

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    I made it to Barton Springs last night. Thanks for the suggestion. What a neat place! I was also stunned at the lack of wetsuits- people nicely swimming along with their caps, goggles, and some snorkels- and no wetsuits. Anywhere in Colorado that you can swim in a natural body of water, there will be 99% wetsuit swimmers. The water was like 68-70 (according to someone I asked). Water at that temp at home would have people saying, "it's too cold to swim in", but last night there were adults and kids enjoying a really nice evening on the water. I guess Texans are just tougher than everyone one else. :-)

    IronMikeswimdaily
  • So glad you liked it! You will sometimes see triathletes training in the morning in wetsuits but most people are there girvwhatvirvhas to offer. Isn't the depth drop off near the diving board stunning?? It took my breath away the first time I swam there.

    ssthomas
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    The whole thing was beautiful- the clear water, I saw fishes, the water temp.... I was there in the evening and the sunset was nice. I thought the open air showers were great. Everyone was so laid back and just enjoying the outside. I was coming up with fun workouts you could do, if you didn't want to just swim back and forth. It was such a nice treat.

    Does it get really crowded in the summer?

  • Don't really know--my swimming there has been usually fall-spring and mornings.

    ssthomas
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    My friend was a lifeguard there, she said it got pretty crazy in the summer.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    It seemed like it would be insane in the summer. :-) What a special place though, for real. I can't wait to go back!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I swam at Deep Eddy (twice) yesterday, since my friend has been training there. It was refreshing to swim in a spring-fed 68 degree pool, especially given that the weather was so hot. I think the 100 ft. lanes could be considered "medium course yards". I'm going to hit up Barton Springs when I get back to Austin on Sunday. I love Austin, BTW.

    Lake Buchanan in the morning!! 3:-O

    Leslie

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    @wendyv34 Good luck. Sadly, I won't be down until Friday.

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA190014_edited-1a

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    IMG_2701a Keepin' it weird at Lake Buchanan.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA190009_edited-1a Approaching turn one at Lake Buchanan. It was very disorienting after I made the turn because swimmers behind me had been blown downwind and I had to cross among them. I was hoping for a downwind turn, but alas, it was a sharp turn and more crosswind.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Feeling good about getting it done! Thanks to my trusty Pete for keeping me on a tight line. PA190015_edited-1a

    IronMike

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA200037_edited-1 A little storm blew in on Inks Lake today, whitecaps for the last mile. The water was warm, like a pool.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA200044_edited-1 Bonzer the safety dog made sure everyone made it to the finish.

    NiekJustSwimJaySydneDSolo

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA200024_edited-1 I can't really explain Camp Longhorn, you just have to see it for yourself. I can say that it appealed to my inner child in a big way.

    JustSwimmalinakasuziedodsViveBene

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • Well, just to be fair. It's so hot here, we welcome the cold water. Everything is relative I guess.

    ssthomas said: I made it to Barton Springs last night. Thanks for the suggestion. What a neat place! I was also stunned at the lack of wetsuits- people nicely swimming along with their caps, goggles, and some snorkels- and no wetsuits. Anywhere in Colorado that you can swim in a natural body of water, there will be 99% wetsuit swimmers. The water was like 68-70 (according to someone I asked). Water at that temp at home would have people saying, "it's too cold to swim in", but last night there were adults and kids enjoying a really nice evening on the water. I guess Texans are just tougher than everyone one else. :-)

    suziedods
  • This looks like such a great event! I would love to do this next year, I will be putting it on my list of "want to swims"!

  • It was a really good week and great weather and temps. So much pie...

    Big shout out to Wendy who won 1st women's and 2nd overall. She donated one of her daily winner pies to my hungry family. My boys were so happy but still rolling their eyes that I hadn't actually won it.

    david_barraflystormsNiekViveBeneSydneD
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I'm going to highly recommend this event. It's small enough that you can (at least) meet everyone and make some new friends. It was especially fun meeting (& swimming with) forum members in person. Everyone was so fun and supportive, this is how swimming should be. I had a fantastic time!

    Sandy and Keith are special people, Sandy working tirelessly to make the whole thing happen (along with some equally awesome volunteers) and Keith was right there, motivating me not to slack off, hammering along, almost always within sight, like The Terminator.

    I cashed in the rest of my pies on Sunday just as the Blue Bonnet was closing, then I took them to the fire station in Austin where my friend works. They were received with great enthusiasm. I'm glad the pies went to good homes. A few more slices of that peanut butter pie and I'd be joining some sea lions on a beach somewhere.

    We were able to visit Barton Springs on Monday before we left town. What a cool place. The water was refreshing after pool water temps at the lakes all week, helping relieve some of the pain in my arms, back...and well, everywhere else. I saw schools of fish and crawdads, but didn't see the elusive salamanders.

    The Wifi at the Longhorn Resort wasn't fast enough to put up pictures, so I'll post more (with some commentary) when I get caught up at home. A week of dog anarchy has left my house looking like a tornado hit it.

    I hope I can return to the Challenge in the future and I hope more of you can make it. It's well worth the trip! :x

    swimdailytimsrootLeslieaafairman

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    Next year, I get my fourth week of vacation, and my wife will still only have 3. I think I might have to use some of those days on this event

    wendyv34
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    As usual, this was a fun event. Both the size and the caliber of swimmer were greater than normal. I hope this is a trend! I think there were 15-18 "monsters" (swimmers who did all 5 days/lakes), perhaps 8 "weekend warriors" (swimmers who only did the last three days) and another 10-15 single stage participants.

    @wendyv34 is a total beast. Each day (at least during the weekend days that I was there), there were 1 or 2 way out front, followed by a pack of 5 fairly evenly matched swimmers, including @wendyv34 and me. We'd all come together by the half-way point and then the pace would start to pick up with each of us pushing each other until the final "sprint." Each day, Wendy found a gear that no one else had such that, even though we all finished within the same minute, Wendy was always in front.

    There were several MSF'ers there, including one that I might not have met. I caught a glimpse of him (her?) with one of the first run T-shirts on, but I was engaged in a conversation with someone else. By the time I broke away, I could not find the T-shirt. Who was it?

    JustSwimViveBenewendyv34IronMike

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    On stage 5 a couple of those guys made it to the finish a bit ahead of me. I was slacking off because my arms hurt and didn't leave myself enough time to completely reel them back in. I probably needed another half mile of water to catch back up.

    Stage 4 was my favorite, the scenery was amazing, the course was easy to see and, inspired by some vultures I spotted overhead, the hammer drop worked as planned. (4-6x150s at the end of a long set, all out).

    Stage 3 was tricky when all of us rounded the final buoy, nearly even, to get a good line without drafting. I had to change my line a dozen times when one guy had pulled ahead, he definitely touched before I did. It's tricky to race without drafting!

    Stage 2 I had a stroke for stroke rcontest with Keith for most of the race. I'd stopped to ask Pete something when we got to the bridge and I heard Keith's strokes hitting the water. Keith was on the opposite side of the kayak most of the time, (Pete was keeping an eye on him too), so I thought he was still there as we rounded the final point. I thought he would have better position on the buoy, so I was going flat out at the finish.

    Stage 1 I lost track of Keith on Buchanan going out. He took an upwind line, which was probably a good idea. After I made the turn, I saw several swimmers not far behind me. Halfway back, Pete encouraged me to punch it because overall #1 Andreas was 3-400m downwind and Pete thought I could catch him. Andreas is really, really fast, so I didn't catch him, but I think I had the closest margin to him on day 1. Thanks to Pete, I definitely had the best line that day. Practicing in windy conditions regularly was a big advantage for Buchanan and Inks.

    The 2nd & 3rd place ladies did a great job too. Stephanie came in 2nd the first 3 days, then Kelsey rallied to beat Stephanie on days 4 & 5. Day 5 was most impressive and I thought Kelsey might have gotten enough time to take 2nd. I don't know what the margin was, but I think it was close.

    I appreciated all of you guys (my swim buddies) who pushed me and made the races much more fun. My arms are still sore!

    ViveBeneIronMikeSydneD

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    Can't wait to do the Lake Travis swim next year. At least, that's the plan right now.

    My in-laws live on Lake LBJ and when we visit, I swim and swim and swim. It's lovely.

    Congratulations on a great series of swims!!

  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNMember

    Oh if there's anyone here who would like to put together a team for the Lake Travis relay (a few weeks before this challenge), holler. IT's a fun event as well put on by Sandy and Keith.

    Leslie
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    IMG_3039_edited-2 Getting ready for the start at Marble Falls, after the fog cleared.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    IMG_3124 Post air-horn on Lake Travis.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    IMG_3126 I was engulfed in a sea of pain, so I didn't enjoy the scenery as much on day 5, but it was there.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    PA220069_edited-2 Lake Marble Falls, my favorite for scenery and post-race festivities at River City Grille

    KatieBun

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    IMG_3100 Longhorn Resort, waiting for the sun.

    flystorms

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    I know I post this too late every year, but this stage swim event is coming up again in a week (October 25-28).

    Reasons why you should go:

    (1) It's like a micro-mini SCAR. The swims are between 2 and 4 miles. Very manageable distances.

    (2) Swim as many days as you like. Only around 5-8 people swim all 5 days. I swim the last three. Many just swim the weekend.

    (3) All swimming abilities. Every year there are 1-2 college swimmers who throttle everyone and 2-3 who are attempting their first open-water swims and then another 20-30 in between.

    (4) It is friendly and low key.

    (5) It's outside of Austin, so you can catch Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ray Wylie Hubbard, William Clark Green or some other three-named Texas country legend at a local honky tonk. At these distances, you can drink lots of beer at night and still swim in the morning!

    (6) No kayaks required! The courses are all loops and they have about 1:2 floater kayak/swimmer ratio. About 1/3 of the swimmers bring their own kayakers, so the real ratio is probably closer to 2:3 or 3:4. Plus there are a handful of motorized safety boats.

    (7) Best of all: it is very, very cheap.

    There are 3-4 MSFers who never miss this event (including me) and we generally get 2-3 visting MSFers.

    If you do come, please find me and introduce yourself!!

    Stephen

    ssthomaslakesprayJustSwimevmo

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I wish I could be there again this year, planning on next year. I hope I see you at SCAR Stephen!

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    wendyv34 said: I wish I could be there again this year, planning on next year. I hope I see you at SCAR Stephen!

    I didn't figure we'd get you all the way down here from Washington two years in a row. Absent injury or tragedy, I'll be at SCAR this year.

    JustSwim

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • ToadToad Member

    I really wish I could pull this one off, I am just over in Beaumont Tx. Easy 4hr drive

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member

    This is on my list, but this year work and sickness won't let me

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    Any photos or commentary? I miss being there! It would be more fun than I'm having at work this week.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

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