Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Corona Del Mar

Here's a view of the beach from the bluff. The jetty to the right is part of the entrance to Newport Harbor. My guess is that the jetties have something to do with keeping the waves down. It's $8 to park below. It's not worth it, especially this time of year. There is plenty of parking on the streets behind me.

When I was younger and living back east, "Southern California" meant Los Angeles and specifically Hollywood. That is where I would go when I came to California. I think it was John Taylor from Duran Duran who once jokingly remarked that it took him 2 or 3 visits to LA to find out what lay beyond Sunset Strip between the Hyatt Hotel and The Whiskey Club. I know the feeling, on my first trip here I stayed at the Hyatt and hung out at the Whiskey. I couldn't give a crap about the beaches to the west or the mountains to the east. I was more interested in running into one of the dudes in Motley Crue. Well, maybe not Motley Crue, but I definitely wasn't giving the beach much consideration.

I'm pretty sure John Taylor spends most of his time in Ibiza now. And even though I live nearby, I don't get up to Hollywood too often. Maybe once a month and always for business. I guess the allure of Hollywood has worn out for the both of us.

I spend most of my time in Orange County. You can say what you want about "The OC", and I probably wouldn't argue your points. But we have a good life here. We have our spots and our activities. For the most part, we are able to avoid what you see on the reality shows.

And the training opportunities here are awesome. I've talked about running in Bolsa Chica. I've talked about biking on Pacific Coast Highway and through Santiago Canyon. And now I am all about open water swimming at Corona Del Mar.

Here's a shot from the beach back up the bluff to the neighborhood. Yep, this is typical a California view. And I'm sure there is a hot housewife in a Juicy Couture sweatsuit driving a white Mercedes close by. I guess I just don't see it anymore.

Corona Del Mar is a coastal enclave of Newport Beach. Like most beach communities in the area, CDM is a network of narrow streets and a mixture of new construction and older cottages. I've never quite figured out why people tear down the cottages to build the stucco tri-level houses, but the do. It's expensive of course, but it doesn't feel as stuffy as similar neighborhoods in the area.

The beach is the local go-to place for open water swimming. It's relatively calm, which is funny, because one of the best surf spots around is less than a mile to the north. And there is a network of buoys in place. The 5 buoys are laid out in an "L" shape. As I understand it, it's 200 yards out and then 300 yards south parallel to the shore. Or something close to that. The typical swim is usually out, and then back and forth along the shore until you are ready to come back in the way you swam out.

I know they are hard to see in the photo, but if you look closely, there a 4 white buoys visible. I'm not sure where the fifth one is, I guess out of frame to the left. Note the wimpy waves. Don't worry, within a mile you can typically find chest to head high surf on a pretty consistent basis.

I started coming here about a month ago after it became clear that my pool swims had no chance of translating into anything close to a meaningful race swim. I am always the slowest one, but this is where I have learned to at least get the job done.

I have not been back to the pool since.

And though there is no denying I wish I was a little more speedy, it doesn't really matter that much. Because being out in the open water is thrilling. You just find a rhythm and....go.

That's what I like about swimming, biking and running. The rhythm. The races may have a more urgent undertone, but it's all about a groove and syncopation. I love it. Perhaps it's the musician in me. When I was a kid and played football, I hated practice. Not anymore. It's all rolled into one. No more finish lines.

So as I have ended all my training/travelogue posts, if you are ever in the area and want to go for a swim, hit me up.


Unknown said...

what an awesome place for an OWS! I'd never go to the pool either!

Jennifer said...

Dang! I wish I had a place to swim like that!

KovasP said...

Wow, I grew up at Corona beach! Back before child abuse laws, my parents would drop us off with a lunch, our fins, towels, and then come pick us up later in the day. We'd build sandcastles, bodysurf, and generally amuse ourselves until our parents came back and even then, we'd whine about leaving. In high school and college, I graduated to bodysurfing the Wedge, which is across the channel from Corona. Awesome place to bodysurf, but unforgiving - plenty of folks ended up seriously injured on days that the ocean was feeling malevolent. I envy you your life there and sometimes am tempted to go back, but my wife's life, for now at least, is in Chicagoland, so I'm here too. :)


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