On Friday 13th July, Rob and I made the arduous journey to Dover for what was planned to be our big training weekend. The aim being to complete the standard back to back or split Channel swim in the harbour, consisting of a 7 hour swim Saturday and 6 hours Sunday.
340 miles after leaving home we arrived at the Premier Inn on the sea front and checked in, ahead of a visit to Chapters Chinese buffet for what proved to be an MBS (maximum belly stretch) afterwards I played the two swimmers DVD to Rob and watched his face as the tragic events unfolded.
More food for supper then off to what should have been a good nights sleep, I say 'should have been' as it turns out that Rob snores like an elephant ....I was not happy and spent most of the night trying to wake him from the deep slumber only for him to produce even louder noises as the night wore on...I was basically waiting for daylight and time to get up.
I got out of bed feeling like I had had zero sleep and forced down some breakfast before heading to the beach...it was fantastic to see some old faces some of whom I hadn't seen since 2008, before too long I joined the queue to see Freda and was greeted with a massive hug. She winked and almost asked ..."7 today?"
I replied "yep no problem" and off I went to grease up.
On the stroke off 9am we entered the water, Rob and I swam more or less together, after only 45 minutes I had a bit of a blip and had a quick chat with Rob, we got a move on and swam til the first feed at 2 hours, the water was about 15c and the weather was getting worse as time went on. The rain soon started to fall eventually followed by and electrical storm. The four hour feed was maxim and a piece of milky way. This immediately made me feel sick, resulting in me staying out of the choppier waters in an effort to settle my belly, half an hour later and all was well. I swam in at 5 hours to see Barry waving his arms and blowing a blowing a whistle. He shouted 'Everyone out..its too dangerous'
I didn't argue!! I have never known this ever happen...a first for certain
Rob wasn't too happy as he desperately wanted the seven hours. I reassured him that this was still a big step up from 6 hours at the lake.
Saturday evening after an initial meal at the premier inn (at 4pm) we visited an Italian restaurant (with Zoe Sadler who is due to swim The English Channel anytime from Monday 23rd !!) for MBS number two, a starter, two main meals and ice cream later and we were off to bed. Another night listening to the elephant and becoming more and more agitated!
Sunday morning we awoke to much better conditions, the harbour was near flat and the sun was even peeping out, the swim was fairly uneventful with no mental blips, 6 hours was comfortable and we danced up the beach on completion.
The battle with the motorway followed almost without delay, 7 hours later I was home tucking into an Indian, slightly wired from the maxim but feeling very satisfied with a great weekends training.