The piercing sting of disappointment has faded to a dull, periodic twinge. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to swim on the first day of my window. That gave us six days of touring in England before our scheduled flight back. Each morning, the dreary realization that I hadn’t made it to France would leak out in diminishing squirts of anguish. By the time we reached Lands End on the extreme southwest tip of England, I was almost dry. That was a good thing. Otherwise, I’d have found myself in the middle of the Dolphin Club locker room, gushing out an uncontrollable and embarrassing puddle.
I still would not trade this year-long experience for anything (except maybe a successful swim.) Every milestone was fresh and exciting. Writing about the quest accentuated and deepened each aspect. And that’s one of the problems with giving it another go. I worry that a second attempt would feel less like an adventurous lark and more like a tedious chore.
And then there’s the cost. With pilot fees, registration costs, and kennel charges for the critters; $5,500 is out the door before even thinking about travel and lodging. Circumstances smiled on us this year, but the state of the economy doesn’t promise continued good fortune.
Probably the biggest deterrent to another try is psychological. I had a good deal of confidence going into the swim. I felt extremely well prepared and had regularly visualized success. The possibility of not making it a second time raises the prospect of dread and what fun is that? One man faltered on his third attempt this year and the short note he offered the Channel swimming community was redolent of heartache.
But, if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that some things are unpredictable. I maintained adamantly that a solo English Channel attempt was not in my future right up until the time that it was. So, the best I can say is that I currently have absolutely no plans whatsoever for a redux assault. On the other hand, I am going to start a strengthening program for my gluteal muscles. It certainly can’t hurt.
10 months ago