Does anyone know the bridge support number that the swim exits the area between the two spans?
As I recall from last year, it was disheartening near the end since I thought the exit just had to be "any minute now." It would be nice to actually know the number painted on the bridge support and thus be able to mentally count them down.
The numbers are not in order, so unfortunately, it's impossible to count down unless you memorize the random order of numbers. You're better off sensing the warmer water temperatures that starts to mix with water from the shallower shore area.
You are right, but I did find a pattern today. The bridge numbers count up to 59 then, where 60 should be, drop to 30 and begin counting up again. The turn is after 59 (second time). This will serve me well next year as I'd rather "sight" by looking at the bridge numbers while breathing and figuring the turn rather than having to lift my head to sight. After the "erector set" bridge span, I think "almost done" which is totally wrong. Knowing the bridge numbers should drive it home that there is LOTS more to go from that point.
For those who have done multiple GCBS, how did today's conditions compare?
I did not do the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim this year, but I got a text from one of my close friends who has completed the 4.4 Mile swim 7 times (!). She said, mile "3 to 4 was the hardest I have ever seen it in terms of current. I would love to know how many dnfs there were because of that part. Otherwise it wasn't too bad."
Based on that information alone, I would say this year was certainly more difficult than last year! I did the One Mile Chesapeake Challenge last year, and it was great conditions... one person described last year's conditions as "glass".
While it is impossible to compare your personal times at the Bay Swim across years due to the conditions, you may consider looking at the field's times across the past few years to see how the conditions affected the field in any given year. Consider looking at the winning time, 100th place, 200th place, etc. After my 2009 swim, I was initially disappointed that I was only a minute faster than I swam in 2005 despite much better training, but when I compared the field in both years I found that 2009 was roughly 6 minutes slower on average, due to tough conditions.