A Lotus Rises is working in partnership with the International Institute for Swim Cake Studies to answer one of the toughest questions in outdoor swimming: “What is the best cake for optimum swim performance?” Links to our swim cake archives, and how to contribute your swim cake data are at the bottom of this post. But suffice to say, we are determined in our scientific pursuit and prepared to travel the world swimming and eating cake for the rest of our lives if we have to…And so it came to pass, that on Tuesday at 09.00 hrs, this serious swim science endeavour lead us to a car park in Ambleside for a secret swim cake mission with Lake District swim guide and pie expert Suzanna Swims…
The International Institute for Swim Cake Studies is a multi disciplinary, multi-stakeholder organisation, with a collaborative ethos at its heart – only through cooperation, discourse and truly listening and allowing different voices to be heard, can we ever resolve the critical challenges facing our world; and most of the time that’s best achieved with a swim followed by cake and a cup of tea (or perhaps coffee…).
We are immensely grateful to Suzanna for taking us on a swoosh-tastic, swim adventure along the River Rothay, past a Roman fort and across the “The Puddle of Unknown Depth”.
What follows is what will become (no doubt) award winning adventure film footage. Please note, that in the summer, this swim usually ends at the pub – literally you get out and walk into the pub garden. However as it was October and the water was pretty tropical, the autumn version of the swim enjoys an earlier exit, taking in the glamorous “Puddle of Unknown Depth”.
Shark dog was carefully secured in her dog box and Suzanna talked me through the swim and what kit to carry in her new Swim Secure Wild Swim bags that we got to test out for the first time. Kit list below.
Suzanna talked me through the safest entry point and lead the way into the Rothay. The water temperature was tropical “Just like Hawaii”…
We flew along the first section – no need to swim and could rest on our wild swim bags and chat – very happy swim times!
Laughter and Kayaks
Turning the corner we met a group of kayakers “you’ve forgotten your wetsuits”. Happily both of us knew we are acclimatised and happy skins swimming all year around. Skins swimming in October is not a badge of honour. But having acclimatised for a few years now, it’s something I enjoy. We all find our own path.
The Puddle of unknown depth
We exited the river and walked back across the fields past the Roman fort and across “the Puddle of unknown depth”. Glamorous wild swimming times!
Cream tea – Is it a scone or a cake?
There were pancakes on the menu too, but we kept things traditional with fruit scones and tea, over which we talked about swimming as a gateway to positive change in our lives and the environmental challenges faced in the local area and the responsibilities we have as swimmers (more to follow on that…).
For Suzanna though it is pies, rather than cake that fuel her swim adventures.
Train home. Is a pasty a pie?
Too much tea and chat lead to a dash for the train back to the metropolis, leaving no time for a direct comparison of cake vs pie. However, Suzanna is super organised and gave me a cheese pasty to evaluate on the journey home….
This is not an exhaustive list, but Suzanna was testing out the Swim Secure Wild Swim Bag It’s an inflatable dry bag with shoulder straps and waist band – you can remove the shoulder straps to swim, and put them back on when crossing the puddle of unknown depth and/or other terrain… Really good – space for a lot of clothing (down jacket, trainers, thermals etc), highly visible (good when encountering other water users), and versatile for swim-walk or run adventures.
Swimming costumes: Alice – Natatio Racer Back one piece Navy Pop; Suzanna – Zoggs – blue planet high back – (we think discontinued, we’re not sure). It’s her pick for buttermere swims – matches the water there (and that’s not just a fashion choice – more on that another time).
Swim gloves (Osprey): Again I never want to get cold, so when Suzanne offered gloves I gladly accepted them. They were much less cumbersome than I anticipated – could use my camera for Oscar winning film making etc…
And of course, the limited edition A Lotus Rises swim hat, perfect for river swims to the pub, or crossing the puddle of unknown depth. Incredible versatility 😉 (Note Alice wore two swim hats, just in case it was too tropical)
Post swim: Foot changing mat (insulates you from the cold), thermals (top and bottom), Swim Robe, Woolly hat, down jacket, waterproof jacket, mud and rain.
River Rothay, Ambleside.
Fruit scone, cream, jam and tea.
Cheese pasty or is that a pie?
The discussion continues (swim cake fellows there is a secret mission that we will announce that we need your help on…):
Kina Mara on the Swim Cake Science pulse:
Outdoor swimmer magazine has also said the cake/pie debate is “just heresy”…
Controversial swim cake times – thank goodness the International Institute for Swim Cake studies is there to oversee developments.
Outdoor Swimmer Magazine have launched a call for swim cake recipes to be published in the December issue of the magazine with prizes up for grabs. IISCS will be overseeing the adjudication panel in line with IISCS swim cake panel guidelines.
Where can I find out more?
The International Institute for Swim Cake Studies – Become a research fellow @SwimCakeStudies or submit your swim cake data here and here (AKA swim cake pics and insights). Research write ups here and here. During the winter months we’ll be conducting a serious swim cake survey. Watch this space for more details…
The swim cake adventures continue…Thank you Suzanna Swims! #alotusrises #wsc