September 17th -  

First Day of Training


Miami, Fl - Hello there, your beloved writer is back. Well, I may not be your favorite but I’m the only one through this channel, right? Sorry fellows, but you are stuck with me.

 Today, we can officially declare the beginning of activities towards Pipin’s record matching attempt. He finally got in the water to ride the sled alone. It’s been a while but like riding a bike, he has not forgotten. The day started with the usual stuff, the boat having a problem. The mechanic got on it right away and fixed it. So, instead of the 11AM original departure, we left the dock at Pipin’s house at 1:30PM. Anyone with a boat, any kind of boat, will feel sympathetic. You see, I never have problems with the boat, never! Maybe, not owning one has something to do with it. That’s what friends are for, right? Boating is fun, until you buy one!

 Despite having Hurricane “Isabel” fooling around the Eastern coast (probably hitting the Carolinas early Thursday 18) and allegedly affecting the coast of Miami, it was a nice day. During the morning news, they all broadcasted 8-10 foot seas at the Gulf Stream; exactly where Pipin trains. They even called for a “small boat advisory”. I made it to Pipin’s home warning everyone about the “rough” conditions outside. Well, guess what? We had a rough 8-10 INCHES!!! We couldn’t have asked for better conditions. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOX NEWS, CBS NEWS AND UNIVISION! You made me look like an idiot! Well, more than the accustomed… oh, umm… where was I? Ah, I remember now… The crew of HBO accompanied us; they were taking some “shots” of Pipin’s training for the program, “Real Sports wit Bryant Gumbel.” (Umm, I suddenly feel like eating Gumbo soup, a New Orleans-Louisiana delicatessen that will get anyone running in high gear). A producer from Discovery Channel was there too, she’s working on a documentary about Pipin and the upcoming record.

 I must say that it was an uneventful training expedition. Pipin seemed to be in exceptional shape. He did couple of dives; one to 60 meters and the other one to 100 meters. For a guy that hadn’t done any sled dives for at least a year, and even more since he did it “solo” (no tandem), he did great. The first dive was kind of slow; 33 seconds to reach the bottom and 1’32” overall. The second dive was better, however, still a “bit” in the slow side but it was a lot faster than the first one; 55 seconds until the sled reached the bottom and 1’34” overall. Only 2 more seconds for 40 meters deeper; that’s much better. The target is to be around 3 minutes and change for the big day. He will get it easily.

 For those mathematically inclined (lucky you), you probably noticed that Pipin’s ascent in the second dive was dramatically faster. It is not that Pipin had “put on the brakes” in the ascent of the first dive; the reality is that he brought up the entirety of the sled in the first dive; weights and all. For the 100-meter dive, he did it the way it will be done for the record day; he left the bottom part of the sled at the bottom. With the dives already over, the plan was for Pipin to take the crew for a nice dinner at a nearby “All-you-can-eat buffet.” Despite the temptation to join them, I headed back home to write this one. The team will depart for Cabo San Lucas next Sunday 21. We’ll keep you up-to-date. Ciao!!

 Carlos Serra