Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Mental Health Week & Hypoxic Fishing

My parents rented a cottage in Hazelhurst, Wisconsin and invited my wife and I to go with. For those of you who said, "Where?"(7 miles south of Minocqua, 312 miles north of the far NW suburbs of Chicago) Ok...try to follow along now. My mom's sister, her family (and my cousins Vince 28, Nicole, 22 and Christine, 20 - all of whom I love dearly go) and her in-laws go to this place as well for two weeks and extended family cousins who I don't get to see as much but really love to hang with. My family (Cottini family) have been going to Lower Kaubashine Lake in Hazelhurst for close to 50 years - back when Rte. 51 was a gravel and then dirt road from Wausau - today it is mostly a four lane highway. My brother and his wife Megan couldn't go this year because I'll be "Uncle Bobby" in a few short weeks and they were missed.

Lorrie and I did a first. We brought two moutain bikes on a vacation. My plan wasn't to do a lot of training volume but to be consistent. Saturday we left later than we had planned but it was beneficial as we saw everyone except the three leaders in the TdF time trial. My saint of a mother-in-law called us in the car and gave us her best play by play on the time trial mispronouncing Levi, Alberto and Cadel's names in one form or another but it was the thought that counts and the info. When we returned "mom" handed me a tape of the last two stages - see...told you she was a saint! Saturday after the drive I was pretty smashed and didn't work out at all. Instead, I had a glass of cab and a giant garlic stuffed beef tenderloin with cognac mustard sauce and coconut shrip and firey plum sauce. Oh yeah...it's gonna be one of those weeks. Since I didn't eat much for lunch (3 grapes) I figured it was ok.
We went fishing that night and my streak from last year continued; catching at least one great fish each time going out fishing. This is no ordinary feat as there are weeks on this lake where ONE FISH was all we got. The night started off great with a 2.5 lbs. largemouth bass who jumped three times and eventually I pulled this little baby in on the ultralight fishing pole I had which is extra tough. Not exactly Disney World fishing that we do every year the day after the Florida 70.3...but good start for Wisconsin. You see a 2.5 lbs fish in Wisconsin is about as common as a 8 lb. fish in Lake Buena Vista.

Fishing all week continued to be above average for that lake in my experience. My dad and I started early each day - up at 4:30, coffee, cruller, and on the lake by 5:20 (brutal) but the sunrises were worth it. We heard the eagle on the lake but didn't see him. We did see deer, beaver, muskrat and even a small bear which was cool. My father caught some great fish also which is unique for dad. You see, if something can get screwed up while he fishes...my dad will do it. Light his cigar (I've tried for 35 years to get him to stop), tangle the line, over turn his tackle box, get caught in the weeds...all of it. My dad has helped in my training with "hypoxic fishing" as I try not to inhale his cigar smoke. Well this year, dad scored two of the best fish a 3.5 lbs. LM bass and a 7 lb LM bass which is the biggest bass I've seen on that lake in all my years. This thing was a whale. It was awesome to see dad pull that sucker in. Then it happened. We got the fish unhooked and the fish made ONE MORE dash for open water hitting the lure and burying it in my dad's index finger! All the way to the bend in the hook, barb burried deep. My dad, to his credit, grabbed the pliers and tried to back out the hook. His hands shaking and blood running down his arm...couldn't get the hook out. He asked me to try. I first bent the hook back and said, "Hey dad? I can't even see the barb under your skin. This sucker is on the bone." I tried to cut the hook but my wire cutters couldn't cut the mustard and didn't even nick the hook. We're going to the hospital. I'm not risking nerve damage in my dad's index finger. First we got the whale of a bass back in the water after a quick picture - that's right....she's swimming right now! We also took a picture of my dad's finger with the lure in it for giggles later on.
In the cottage my dad got a bigger set of pliers (must be the Czech in him) and tried to pull out the hook but not before my mother poured hydrogen peroxide on the wound to clean it. (Ouch) Lor and I have a GPS we got for a song and I hit hospital and let me tell you that thing paid for itself right there. 25 minutes later at the hospital the staff were very nice and welcomed their first customer/tourist into the ER at 7:03. They ushered us into the "People Catchers" room where all the lures that sunk into human flesh instead of fish mouths are on display. Old school to the latest and greatest. They average ONE PERSON PER DAY in the summer. (Dad was member #89) Two quick injections of pain killer and they use a sewing needle-like device to cover the barb and back out the hook. No tendon damage and no stitches. The MD was a fisherman too and asked about the fish and how the lake was doing. Very nice staff. We said, "Hope we never see you again except in a restaurant!" as we left and they smiled. Fishing the remainder of the week was solid.
I have two nicknames (that I'm aware of) 1) El Libro or "The Book"- for the way I speak Spanish, French and Italian 2) Muskie Bob - I once caught 5 large muskie between 38 and 50" in 30 minutes and I have the pictures and two witnesses to prove it. That night, Muskie Bob was in the house! I was bass fishing and scored a small Muskie 26" and about 3.5 lbs. on my ultralight pole. Why is this so cool? An ultralight makes a 0.5 lb lame ass fish feel huge! The muskie rolled left and right trying to cut the line with his/her gils and I got him into the boat just as my line snapped! Even Lorrie caught fish! What a blast!

Training...oh yea...this is a triathlon blog. My cousin Vince ran his first marathon (Chicago) last year; he finished in 3:06 but was on pace for 2:50 and was cramping due to the cold badly at the end. Vince ran for Wisconsin and is silly fast so running with him is a big deal for me. In six days we ran about 5 miles a day on "trail" and "rolling" hills - and I use those terms loosely. We ran well (for me) at about 7:15/mile and my HR didn't sky rocket. (Maybe I should burn a cigar in the house and eat more red meat, cheese, and chocolate at home?) Payback for Vince came when we jumped on the mountain bikes after running. These trails weren't easy and Vince hung in there well. My heart rate was really low but I could tell Vince was working. After our run, we'd eat and then prepare for the main workout set...water skiing.

I think that moving forward I'm going to assign water skiing to all my atheltes. I hadn't skied in 22 years - high school. I watched Vince, my uncle Don and cousin Nicole ski to varying degrees. BTW - my uncle Don can seriously ski for a 58 yr old wow! Vince was just about as good. My turn. I got up right away. How cool is that? I made it around the lake twice - legs burning, back tight. I told them that when I was going to stop I'd get aggressive and try to slalom. I went right - jumping the wake. Then left and back right - nothing like going wide right and catching the boat at about 60 mph on the water - when a huge wave smashed on top of my skis and down I went. What fun it is when you just let go of the rope? Crashing (and skipping across the water) is totally the way to go! No guts. No glory. By the end of the week I was slaloming really well and can't wait to ski again! My legs were (still are) so sore from skiing by the end of the week that if I was metal - there would have been a lot of creaking. Warm up sections of our runs got longer but we still ran daily.

Vince will try racing triathlon next year and I pity anyone in his age group who doesn't have a 20 minute lead on him off the bike in an Olympic distance race.

Tomorrow - ode to tubing!

1 comment:

  1. Bob,
    Sounds like a GREAT vacation!! Glad you and Lori and the family are having some nice R&R. But, the whole ER and fishing thing...ick!! :) Jen

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