First, the famous Apache winds were back. Haven't heard official measurements, but I'd definitely call them comparable to 2015. Perhaps not quite as bad (and my finish time supports that theory), but enough to reach the same scientific category: Quite Unpleasant to Terribly Unpleasant.
Second, it was cold. I'd say the temp was the same as Canyon (63), but the time of exposure in Apache was about double Canyon (which had some temp-related DNFs, too). Plus it was steady. There were no "warm" patches (a relative term, to be clear) to boost spirits/core temp.
- Smart money never never started. 3-4 took one look outside this morning and thought better of it (to be honest, I was tempted, but no one will ever confuse me with the smart money)
- Of the 37(?) who did start, only 11 finished
- Several (I believe 4) were forced out because they had become incoherent due to the effects of hypothermia (unable to communicate clearly or solve 1st grade math problems--although I'd like to know if they were Common Core math problems, as that might cast doubt on the diagnosis)
- Several more (I believe 3) were pulled from the water after sunset (meaning they were in the water for over 10 hours)
- The remainder white flagged (self-selected) for one or more of the above, including several within the first several miles
On a positive note, I finished! And, at the risk of getting flamed (perhaps deservedly) for celebrating the misfortunes of others, at least 2 of the DNFs were ranked in the top 10 before Apache, which means I may have managed to way out-perform my ability (unless having too fragile an ego is an "ability") and cracked the top 10.
[Spoiler alert] Speaking of fragile egos, Team Kiwi gave me a proper thrashing. I blame the local ringer (and SCAR veteran) they brought in to replace Garth in the kayak. Or perhaps it was the Smack Talk Rule (Texan for Karma).