It was 45 degrees when I went waterskiing on Lake Austin on Monday. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Here in Austin, water skiing season lasts all year round for some people.
I’m not normally one of those people, but I did want to log a slalom run in November, so even though the thermometer read 45 degrees at daybreak yesterday, Chris and I dropped our boat into the water at Walsh Landing a little before 7 a.m.
I yanked on my shortie wetsuit, cringed a little in anticipation, and climbed behind the wheel for the cruise upstream toward the Pennybacker Bridge, where the water is smoother because it’s protected from the wind. Steam rose from the water – and from the mug of hot tea I’d brought along.
Back when I was learning how to run a slalom course about 15 years ago, my instructor would pour a pitcher of warm water into my wetsuit just before I jumped in the lake. It felt great. I didn’t have that this time, but the Lake Austin didn’t feel much colder than Barton Springs today.
Until I started skiing.

Steam was rising from the water on Monday when we went waterskiing. Pam LeBlanc photo

I jumped in, waited while Chris got the rope set, and took off, all without ever getting my face or hair wet. But the wind on my wet skin made turned me into a popsicle, and the longer I skied, the stiffer and colder my face and fingers got. I dropped after a shorter than normal run.
One big benefit? Stress relief. I’ve been anxious and rattled in the days leading up to the election, and the one thing that soothes my soul is getting out in nature. This worked like a charm.
The key to cold weather swimming is getting out of your wet clothes as soon as you exit the water, so I peeled off my wetsuit and bikini and wrapped myself in fleece pants, a sweatshirt and a thick deck jacket.
Now it was Chris’ turn.
He hopped in the water, didn’t whine too much, and made his own run. We passed a pair of white swans and swooped alongside some trees that were just starting to give off a hint of fall color. Again, nature works like a balm.
We saw no other motorboats on the lake, another bonus of getting out on the water when most people think it’s too cold to swim.
Now that I’ve logged a November water ski run, I’m thinking about December …

I tugged on a shortie wetsuit shortly after Chris LeBlanc took this picture of me.

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