Friday, July 1, 2011

Pomona Lake -- Where It All Began

Ah Yes.  The Fourth of July is here.  Time to remember and thank those that gave us the freedom to swim in goose-poop filled lakes, bike in pot-hole ridden streets, and run our toenails black.  For the Bowling family (and by this I mean going back to the days of baby-dom for me), this means our annual trek to Pomona Lake, KS.  While I grew up in Smithville, MO, we traveled about an hour and a half away to Pomona in order to avoid the “city folk” traffic on Smithville Lake.

The Best Boat! At Pomona Lake.
My brother in red and I'm in blue.  I apparently have yet to discover the color orange

Pomona often enters my mind when I’m standing on the shores of a lake about to venture into a swim, bike, run event.  You see… water and I had a rough going for the first ump-teen years of my life. When my sense of fear kicked in as a toddler, I really started to resent the water.  I sickened at the thought of entering water in which I couldn’t see the bottom.  Even in my more “mature” years, I am often the last to jump into the water. 

It wasn’t until I was probably 15 or 16 (maybe even older) that I finally strapped on a pair of skis.  I did go tubing a few times but I’m not really a fan of a water-sports toy in which the goal is for the driver to whip the rider off.  I have mostly come to peace with my fear but there is very much a hesitation (aka, a split second of total freak-out) when I am mid-air, jumping into the lake. However, standing on the shore lines with a timing chip strapped to my ankle and a wetsuit strangling my body, I am able to overcome this fear.  Most likely that’s due to having more pressing concerns, such as the being whacked in the head by the size 16 feet on the dude standing in front of me.

So I return to Pomona this weekend, the place where I learned to enjoy the water and truly experience my first open water swims.

Just as I was about to finish up this post, I realized Pomona has also had other impacts that have later translated into my triathlon journey.  I remember riding a bike for the first time at Pomona.  Now, I may not have that entirely correct.  I know it was a big biking “first” for me.  It may have just been riding a big kids bike for the first (which happened to be my cousin Lisa’s bike). (UPDATE 7/4/11: I confirmed that I did learn to ride a bike at Pomona.  Thanks Uncle Roger!)

The campground we stayed at was a loop.  It was maybe a quarter mile loop with a hill on one end of it.  Of course, being a kid it felt like 5 miles with Pike’s Peak on one side. I didn’t have my Garmin on when I was 8, so I don’t know for sure.  It might have been good for hill workouts. 

Oh yes, those precious first steps when I was a baby.  Ok.. just kidding.  I don’t remember when that took place.  Maybe it was at Pomona Lake, but I doubt it.  Either way, I didn’t have my footpod on so why does it matter?

So my experience at Pomona Lake hasn’t changed too much.  There is still the same boat (yes… the same boat as from the picture above.. still looks the same excepted I’m a wee bit bigger), we have tons of family come out, campfires, tents (well, when there isn’t room in my parents' RV mansion), and the same low-budget firework show. 

What has changed is now my brother and I plan running routes to plod through in the morning instead of ripping through the campground on our dirt bikes.  This will be the first time I add a training ride to the mix.   I happily routed a 26 mile journey around the entire lake of Pomona. Now the only thing left to do is to make sure that route doesn’t contain any nasty gravel roads.

I hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend (Or First of July weekend to my friends to the North)!  Don’t drink & ride and be careful with the fireworks.  You might lose a few seconds on your swim time with fewer digits on your hand!


  1. Have a great weekend! We used to go to Elk Lake in Independence, KS when I was little. I had the same fear of the lake. I still kind have that fear.

  2. So glad that you and Tricia could join us this weekend.What a great time we all had! Your blog brings back many memories! Love that picture of you and Mike in the boat! I am sorry we gave you such a hard time about getting in the water and skiing when you were younger -- little did we know that you would be swimming in deep lake water without a life jacket on in years to come! Love you, Ma