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Ironman USA Lake Placid - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Lake Placid, New York
United States
Ironman North America
Total Time = 12h 04m 7s
Overall Rank = 834/3000
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 157/463
Pre-race routine:

This is a typically long race report for me in which I talk about everything I did and esp. talk about the food. If you just want the SBR portion, scroll ahead.


Last August, I had a bike crash at Vineman (full) where I broke my shoulder, had a compression fracture in my vertabrae and possibly a broken rib. This was also a month out before IM Canada so I DNS'd that race. 0-2 at 140.6 in 2009. I was anxious to get back on track.

I spent the rest of the year focusing on ultra marathons and laid off of swimming for 6+ months, mostly by choice. I started focusing on training again in February and completed Wildflower (long course and olympic course) and Auburn tri (70.3 distance) in May.

Fast forward to race week. DW and I flew out on Wed, which is pretty a full day when travelling from San Francisco to Albany (via Chicago) and then the 2+ hour drive up to Lake Placid. Whenever we travel back east, we're always struck with how green everything is...the grass, the trees; we're both originally from the midwest (I'm from St. Louis and DW is from Wisconsin) and it reminds us both of our younger years.

About 50 miles out from Lake Placid, there are some heavy rainstorms. I have a sinking feeling not knowing how I'd be able to bike in something like that. After about 10 minutes, this storm passes, but I'm still a little worried.

We know we're getting close when we see the big ski jump towers looming above. When we finally arrive in town, we're driving down Main Street and pass the Olympic Center where the setup for the event is well underway. There are a fair number of athletes already around. We drive up to the Northwoods Inn, the host hotel right in the middle of the main part of town.

We check into our "Executive Suite" at the Northwoods Inn. It's a bit of a dump. The hotel is dated. It might have some historical significance of which I was unaware and been more famous and elegant in it's time, but seen through these eyes, it seems old. Our room is large since it has a living room with a sleeper couch and a separate bedroom. The room has a funny smell of cleaner or disinfectant, but it is clean. There are no amenities other than old looking TVs and cable - no coffee maker (a problem for us since we bring our own coffee that I had roasted earlier in the week) and no refrigerator. At $300/night, I would have expected more, but these are of course event pricing and we're paying for location (I have to say that the last two times I've stayed at a Holiday Inn for races (Auburn Tri and Vineman), I was actually surprised at how nice the accommodations were).

We're hungry, so we head down to the lobby. There are a few athletes here and almost all are wearing some piece of ironman branded clothing (i.e. race shirt, hat, etc). One of the folks we talk to John who is either the manager and/or owner. We ask about nearby restaurants and we're given a few options (most of which we would try out through the course of the week) and also told about the restaurants in the hotel. We also ask about coffee machines and they tell us they will provide coffee in the morning in the lobby. We ask about hot water (so we can use our own) and they tell us there will be hot water available also.

We head out to Milano's, an Italian restaurant since it's close and presumably a safe choice. It's nicely decorated. It's fairly late here so we're glad the restaurant isn't so crowded that we have to wait for a table. I order the prosciutto and pancetta fusilli and DW has the stuffed trout and we split a salad to start.

We also notice that there are very few non-caucasians around since we landed in Albany and arrived here; it's just something we notice (I am of Asian/Pac Islander descent and my wife is of Norwegian/Swedish descent) when we travel. In any case, our food arrives. Our salads and both our entrees are pretty decent, although they are both pretty oily. I'd give them decent marks for their choice of ingredients for their food, but the execution is good, but lacks a certain finesse to be be very good. Plus, everything is expensive (about $80 including 2 glasses of wine), but we know we're in a tourist trap, so we know everything is going to be an expensive trip.

We wake up pretty late (3 hour time difference us coming from California). It's still overcast and a little chilly outside. We head out to Starbucks first to get our morning dose of caffeine and some steel cut oatmeal (sorry, I have to say Jamba Juice's is better and I'm not just saying that because I work there). We head down to the Olympic Center area to register. This was in the high school directly behind the speed skating oval. The process and is like all the other ironman branded races I've done and all this goes quickly and efficiently.

Weather is quite nice at this point, sunny and warming. We then head to the bike shop and I pick up a pump since I don't pack a pump in my luggage and wheel disk adapter for the pump some tufo glue tape and valve extenders. We walk over to Mirror Lake so we get a preview of what that will be like.

It's a beautiful lake surrounded by all the trees and mountains in the background. There's a small beach and dock and you can see the buoy line that goes out, so the loop is pretty obvious. There are quite a few people swimming the loop. We head back to the hotel so we can go back to the car to drive the course.

We follow the initial up and downs as you get out of town followed by the big descent down to Keene. There are cyclists on this section and pretty much every section as we drive. It's very scenic on the stretch along the river. There's one stretch on the downhill where there is a big turn left. After Keene, it's a left to head towards Jay on 9N. These roads look pretty nice and it looks like a very mild climb. After Jay, there is a section that continues north, which is the revised course section. This section has gentle rollers, but net downhill, so the reverse will obviously be net uphill. Back to Jay. It's now onto 86 headed west. There's a good climb straight away. A few ups and downs. There's a short out and back on Hazelton, basically flat. Back onto 86 and then the turn south on 86 to head back to Lake Placid. This stretch is where you have to gain back all of the elevation you lost on the initial descent. It's quite a scenic stretch since you're along the river. None of the climbing is steep, it's just continuous for a long stretch. A turn onto Northwood Road with it's requisite climbing (probably the steepest climb on the course) and then back around the southern section of mirror lake and back into town. It's a beautiful course.

Back in town, we grab some croissants and other baked goods at the Bluesberry Bakery. The croissants were disappointing, probably because we came late in the afternoon and those were probably sitting out all day.

I decide to go for a quick swim and run. I grab my wetsuit and we head down to Mirror Lake. I quickly throw on my wetsuit, which doesn't go on so well since I'm sweaty from the heat and humidity. The water is quite warm, actually a little too warm for my tastes. I can see the cable underwater that everyone talks about to which all the buoys are attached. When people talk about this cable, i always imagined some huge tow cable under the water that you could use to easily navigate the swim. In reality, this cable is not very think and you'll only spot it if you are close to the buoys. But it does in fact make swimming (at least during practice/training) easy since you don't have to sight at all. I notice that I don't have my wetsuit pulled up enough on my shoulders and I can feel it tugging down with every stroke. Good reminder to pull my wetsuit all the way up for the race. I only swim out about 400m or so and then cut back over to the other side of the loop and swim back. No need to wear my self out...just want to do enough for the arms not to forget they have work to do in a few days.

I walk back to the hotel and throw on a tank top and my running shoes and I'm off for a quick run around the lake. As I'm walking down the stairs, I see one of the hotel workers carrying a coffee maker. I ask him if they have any more and he says it was the last one (argh. why didn't they tell me about these yesterday when I asked???). i go to the front desk and ask if i could be put on a list to get a coffee maker and one of the clerks tells me that I should keep asking later since they'll free up when people check out on the 27th (which is when I'm checking out of course). They basically brush me off and tell me to just come down in the morning when they have coffee available.

I took my Droid with me so I could measure the distance with its GPS. Turns out it's 2.6 miles around. There a nice brick sidewalk that goes all the way around. My legs are pretty well rested so I'm able to run with strength and energy that I don't normally feel like I have when I'm in the think of training.

DW and I meet back up at the hotel. I shower and change. We decide to have our last heavy meal knowing that my body will have time to process and evacuate all of it before the race. So we head out to the Great Adirondack Steak and Seafood Company. After a short wait, we're seated at a nice seat at the front window. There are all kinds of of vintage knick knacks here. DW orders the rib eye (medium rare). I order the Bison, but they're out (bummer) so i have the surf and turf - prime rib (medium rare) and a half lobster. This restaurant also has an on-premise brewery so DW orders the Ausable Wulff Red Ale and I have the beer sampler which consists of the Haystack Blonde Ale, John Brown Pale Ale, Ausable Wulff Red Ale, Adirondack Abbey Ale, ADK Smoked Porter, and one other ale. Food was good and beers were tasty although DWs rib eye was a little closer to rare than medium rare. DW really liked the Abbey Ale, which was pretty intense/complex flavor wise. Not sure I could drink a lot of it, but it was tasty.

We wake up at 7am, trying to get better adjusted to the time zone difference knowing that we'll probably need to get up at 4-something AM on race day, which means 1-something AM in our time zone.

We head out the Starbucks for our lattes and oatmeal. It's overcast and a little chilly outside. I see that the they have a french press for sale, so we buy that too so that we can have coffee in our room. After this, we pack up my bike so I can bike part of the course and give my bike a test spin to make sure everything's okay with the setup (put on my race wheels, brakes for carbon fiber rims, etc.).

DW drops me off in Jay so I can bike all the major uphill sections on the way back to town and she heads off to go do some hiking. There are a good number of cyclists, even out here. I'm only looking to do 20 miles or less , again, like with my swim and run yesterday, not looking to get a significant workout, just enough so my legs don't forget they have work to do and a chance to preview the course and test out my gear. on the latter note, it's good i tested my gear because my brakes are very squealy (need to be toed in a bit) so that's something I fix later when I get back. The ride back is quite pleasant, esp. on fresh legs. It's definitely not very steep, just continuous and it comes at the end of the loop so it'll undoubtedly be a challenge at the end of the race. Before I know it, I'm back in town already.

I shower and change. DW's still on her hike, so I grab a bite to eat in the restaurant (Norther Exposure) in the hotel. It's packed (lunchtime), so I sit at the bar with my Kindle (reading the Nebula award winning and currently Hugo aware nominated sci fi novel Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi). I have a pastrami sandwich and fries. not bad, but nothing special and I am thankful that the bread wasn't soaked in butter. The fries were not freshly fried so they're not great, but I'm hungry so I eat everything anyway.

Eventually DW gets back late in the afternoon and we get ready for an early dinner so we can go to the race briefing at 7:30pm which is inconveniently at another location, the olympic horse show grounds about 2.5 miles south of the olympic center which means everybody has to drive down there which will make traffic a potential pain.

In any case, we walk to Mykonos, a greek restaurant, for dinner which she picked so we'd try something different. When we're a couple hundred feet from the restaurant, it starts to sprinkle.

It's early (5:20pm or so) and so we're only the second ones at the restaurant. The restaurant decor has a cheapness to it. Sparse, cheat tables and chairs, etc. Hope this doesn't translate to the food. We order three starters since we want to try things out - we had an tzatziki (yogurt dip), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip) and a mushroom dish and pita. Pita was toasted and tasty with the dips, esp. the melitzanosalata. The mushrooms were a disappointment - the were whole button mushrooms (bland, not cooked), but the sauce they were in was tasty. I ordered the swordfish (didn't want red meat) and DW had the lamb chops. DW also had wine which was served in these tiny wine glasses (maybe held 6 oz) and were $8/glass. Yikes! My swordfish was cut very thing (which kinda ruins a good swordfish steak) and DW's lamb chops were decent, but not great. The meal was only so-so, but very expensive. Would not go back here.

After dinner, we walk back to the hotel (no rain) and drive down to the olympic horse show grounds where the big tent is set up (the pasta dinner and pre-race briefing). They're still wrapping up the inspirational talk from the dinner and then they get into the pre-race briefing. i was actually reluctant to come to the briefing because I didn't expect to learn much (to be frank, i learned more from reading everyone's RR here on BT) and I figured the transitions would pretty much work like every other full IM branded race (transition bags, changing tents, etc.). They played a generic race briefing video (generic in that it only covered things that were common to most IM races, but with the caveat that a particular race might be different...not so helpful). Then they had some individuals talk about a few more particulars of each race segment. They mentioned how there would be scuba divers at the start line to pull you back if you went ahead of the start line. DW and I wondered what the real reason for them being there was - was it in case someone got knocked unconscious during the swim start and they could spot and rescue that person? Who knows.

Sad to say, but I don't think I learned anything from the briefing so when they had a race official start talking about rules, I took that as a cue to leave so we could avoid the big rush of everyone trying to get back out of the parking and back into town.

Today, is the setup day for transition. I double bagged my items (since I never use special needs, I just use those bags inside) since it might rain between now and race start and I don't want everything wet. I also packed extra cooler/wetter weather gear (i.e. arm warmers, vest, etc.) in case I decide to wear more come race day. plus, the double bagging will keep my wetsuit separate from all the other clothes I don't end up using.

We head down with bags and bike in hand. I make a mental note of which set of racks I'm in and how I get there from the swim in. I put my bags on the rack, bag above is swim-to-bike and bag below is bike-to-run. I ask about where drop off of morning bags occurs and they said it was easiest to hang it myself back on the rack in the morning, but could bring to the swim start (which is NOT what we were told at the pre-race briefing so i don't necessarily know which is correct). I rack my bike and that's it.

We walk over to the swim area and take another look at that and see what they have set up.

We also ask about the glasses table, so I know where I can drop off/pick up my glasses for the swim (which not something I've done in the past and just run with my prescription goggles on, but it's a relatively long jaunt from the lake to T1, so real glasses are better than foggy goggles.

We head to lunch at the Brown Dog Cafe & Wine Bar. We're seated at a table outside by the railing with a great view of the lake.

At the 5 tables here outside, each one has someone racing. DW has the pulled pork salad and I have the lobster BLT sandwich. Both our meals were excellent - great ingredients prepared well. In addition, the service was excellent and we had a great view. Couldn't ask for much more than that.

After lunch we started a walk around Mirror Lake. A high school classmate of mine who was also doing the race texted me so we could finally meet up at Starbucks.

I met him there and we spent a great time catching up since we hadn't seen each other since graduation 24 years ago (a testament to the power of facebook getting people connected).

Later for dinner, I had planned to simply order take out from one of the italian restaurants, Jimmi's 21, expecting the place to be packed, but we went early enough that it was fairly open still and we were given a window seat so we could look out on the lake. DW ordered the scallops primavera pasta and I had the seafood pasta special which with the red sauce which was sort of a cioppino with half a lobster, scallops, clams, etc. My dish was excellent and DW's was so, so because it was too oily bogging down the scallops and the entire dish. Still, we liked this restaurant since the food had a decent authentic italian preparation of their food.

I put on my timing chip to sleep with it so I don't forget it in the morning grogginess. We set multiple alarms (clock/radio, iphones, droid, blackberry) set to between 4:45am and 4:55am to make sure we get up. I tried to go to bed by 8pm, but I just couldn't fall asleep that early. I think I finally went to sleep at about 9:30pm.

I'm actually awake about 30 minutes before the alarms are scheduled to go up, so I just lounge in bed for just a little bit. Then I shut off the alarms. I put some of our grounds into the french press and head down to reception to get them to fill it with hot water for me. I eat a granola bar and a few handfuls of frosted mini wheats for breakfast. I put on my tri top and shorts. There's not much more to do since everything is otherwise ready to go.

At about 5:30, we head down to transition. Everyone seems up and there are crowds already all around the olympic center. I hand my wetsuit for DW to hold while I go to pump up my bike tires. Once that's done, I take off my morning clothes and put them in the morning bag and hang this on my transition rack (did this instead of giving to DW to lug around all day). I go back out and get bodymarked and then meet up with DW.

There are a few porta potties with a short line here, but we decide to go down to the swim start and use the porta potties there - this was a mistake since it's packed with people and the line was so much longer here.

By the time I make it through the bathroom line and then it's pretty much time to suit up. I make sure i pull my wetsuit way up to my crotch and to my armpits to make sure my wetsuit doesn't tug down on my arms.

I kiss DW and then head to the swim start. I drop my glasses off on the glasses table (there isn't any organization here. I had tagged my glasses with my race number and name), but I place my glasses in the far left corner of the table.

I start to wade into the water just as the pros take off. I make my way about 2/3 the way out along the line from the buoy line to the shore and about 20 feet back. It even looks like the weather might cooperate since there's even a small break in the clouds for the sun. For the next ten minutes it just continues to get more and more crowded in the water. I can see people lined up although way back to the shore behind.

Wow, this is a lot of people. There isn't a countdown and the horn goes off and away we go.
  • 1h 14m 40s
  • 3862 meters
  • 01m 56s / 100 meters

It's crowded so the going is pretty rough right away. For the 500m, I felt like I was in constant contact with someone - either being hit or kicked, or hitting or kicking someone, or swimming onto someone or being swum onto. Plus, you couldn't stop since it'd be like being in the middle of a stampede and just stopping - you'd get trampled.

If I hadn't at least been someone used to the washing machine (although this was the worst by far) or I was not as comfortable in my swimming, this could be panic inducing. But fortunately, this thinned out and the turnaround came soon enough. I'm only feeling so-so, but I always start out feeling that way until I really get warmed up.

I just keep swimming and stay comfortably away from the buoy line and the return swim on the first loop finishes uneventfully. I stand up and trudge across the beach and catch a glimpse of the clock. It's says 45 minutes. Ugh. 45 minutes would be my worst split ever. All these thoughts are going through my head. Maybe it was all the banging around at the start. Maybe I tapered too much. Maybe I never really recovered my swim fitness from laying off for 7 months.

I start the second lap and just take very relaxed even strokes. It seems like it takes a long time to get to the turnaround, but then again I didn't have all the distractions of the first loop. I make the turnaround. I'm zig zagging just a little bit and then suddenly I spot the buoy line. It's not crowded with people so I just hang close to it and can mostly just swim. It still feels like a long way back, but I'm more relaxed. I know I have a long day ahead so that's okay by me.

Eventually, I get to end of the second loop. Once I can touch the bottom, I stand up and trudge to the glasses table and retrieve my glasses. I then head over to the wetsuit strippers (which is always a treat since I always have problems removing my suit over my ankles when I have to do it myself). Whoosh and they're off just like that.

I start the jog down the block (at least it's downhill) and across the street to the olympic center. It's into transition.
Transition 1
  • 08m 49s

I enter transition, navigate to my row, and grab my bag. I run into the changing tent. It's fairly crowded, although there are plenty of seats. It's dark in here. I pull on another pair of tri shorts, put on my socks and shoes. I put 4 gus and 2 bars into my back pocket along with my inhaler. I put on my sunglasses and helmet and put my wetsuit into my transition bag and I'm good to go. I hand off my bag to a volunteer and I'm out the tent and run to where the bikes are corralled. There are porta pottys here and I have to pee, but I don't want to wait for all the people here and decide I'll go later.

It looks like a good number of bikes are gone, which I suppose makes finding mine that much easier. As I exit the bike out, I see the race clock says 1:24 or so, so I realize the previous clock must have been elapsed time since the pros started, so I'm a little relieved to see I had a more typical swim in the 1:15ish time frame. I jog out to the mount line, which is crowded with other racers and start the bike section.
  • 6h 17m 54s
  • 112 miles
  • 17.78 mile/hr

The first part of this course as you get out of town is a bit technical as you wind your way through some of the streets. It's pretty crowded with racers and I'm passing a good number, but not trying to be too agressive. I'm glad to say there was less contact than during the swim! I still have a bit of a monkey on my back since my last IM experience was a bike crash with a broken bones, so safety is paramount in my mind and I know there is a long hilly ride ahead and all the advice I've heard is make sure to save something for the second loop. But with fresh legs, it's hard to keep those instincts to get ahead totally in check and I find myself jockeying back and forth with a few people.

There are a few climbs still as we get out of town before the big descent down into Keene. At a certain point, it starts to rain a bit. Great. The initial descents go okay. The stretch along the river is beautiful, but I can't really enjoy it much during the race with the rain and all. The big descent was really scary. I was flying down the hill at undoubtedly 40+ mph (don't really know exactly how fast since I don't had a bike computer no my bike). I'm scared, so I'm trying to keep more in the center of the lane. I'm running an 999 wheelset, so I have an 808 in the front and I'm getting blown around a little bit by the wind (and I'm only about 135 lbs). The lane on the other side of the road is partially coned off so that a few feet extra past the double yellow are blocked from cars. The faster, braver(?) riders use this extra bit of lane to pass. Suddenly, I start feeling what seems like a death wobble, but what and I'm afraid I have a flat tire or something. I'm scared that I can't control the bike and I'm going to go down. I see that it's the road and try to pick a line that's not as bumpy and keep things under control. When the turn on the descent comes, i take this at a fast, but not out-of-control-feeling speed. The descending ends and I'm relieved.

We make the left turn to head north towards Jay. I'm was jockeying with folks, but decide to just settle in and just pace off of others for awhile. Based on my typical rankings on the bike, I expect that there will be about a thousand people who are going to bike faster than me so I get comfortable with the idea of many people passing me. I know I just need to race my own race.

The ride up to Jay is a pretty mild and fast stretch. We continue through Jay and onto the out and back section. I'm passing some and getting passed by some. This stretch is net downhill so when I finally get to the turnaround, I know it's net uphill. It's also windier than I expect. That doesn't bode particularly well for me since I'm small and don't have the raw power that stronger/bigger folks have. I return to Jay and make the right hand turn onto 86 and am promptly greeted with an uphill climb.

In many ways, I welcome the climbs because I can change up the position from being in aero. Being light serves me pretty well here and I'm able to pass some folks. Downhill, up, downhill. Then we have a short out and back on Hazelton. Then it's back onto 86 and shortly thereafter a left turn to head back to town.

The next 10+ miles back into town are mostly climbing. I continue to pass others, perhaps more than pass me even though we do have a headwind at times. I also think this stretch is beautiful along the river. My legs are feeling good and I'm hoping I'm setting myself up for a decent second loop.

With the turn onto Northwood, more climbing is involved. As we get close to town, there's the sharpest climb of loop...nice to have it right near the end...not. What is nice is the crowds cheering us on.

Many pop out of the saddle and climb that way, but I've managed to stay in the saddle the whole time and do so here as well. DW is here and cheers me on.

Then it's a descent down towards Mirror Lake. We ride along Mirror Lake and pass the special needs area, which I try to steer clear of (obviously, I don't have a special needs bag).

Then it's onto main street and the streets are packed and crowds are enthusiastic. It's energizing to have everyone cheering although I was very much in the zone and could only take in a small fraction of it in.

We wind up and around the back of the high school and come around back to where we started the loop.

Now that the warmup lap is over, it's time to do the loop again. Fortunately, it's thinned out. I'm generally able to pass more on the climbs than pass me. The descent is still pretty scary. I mostly avoid the washing board this time, but I'm out towards the left of the lane. Some folks pass me fast on the left side and the right (not nice). I try to maneuver to the rightmost part of the lane. I'm carrying a lot of speed so steering has to be done in small amounts. The road has some rough spots that wouldn't be a big deal at 20 mph, but at 40+ it's scary to me. Still, I navigate through without incident. I am, once again, relieved that it is over. The rest I know I can handle.

I've had to pee ever since the start of the bike and haven't gone yet. It's kinda stupid of me to have not stopped earlier and because my bladder is full, I am a little less active on my fluid intake. It's starting to get uncomfortable and I don't want to stay in aero since it compresses my bladder to much so I find myself riding the bullhorns. After the out and back past Jay, there's an aid station and I stop and finally relieve myself. Ah, that feels so much better. it's also nice because stopping to go to the bathroom also gives my legs a little break, which helps just a bit for the climb right after Jay.

I complete the rest of the loop without incident. There's wind though, but my legs don't feel toasted, but they've obviously done some work. The final climb on Northwood is a relief once it's done since I know it's just getting through town. I ride through town, the crowds are cheering, and wind my way to the dismount line and hand my bike off to one of the volunteers.
Transition 2
  • 04m 24s

I waddle in my bike shoes back through the racks, grab my bike-to-run bag and run into the changing tent, which for some unknown reason has a different entrance into the same tent than it did we did T1.

I have my sunglasses on so it's dark and humid and/or I'm sweaty so my glasses are fogging up. I take off my shoes and socks and put on some fresh running socks and my running shoes. I load up on 4 more gus. Put my visor on. Place all my bike stuff into my bag and I'm off and running.
  • 4h 18m 20s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 52s  min/mile

The sun is finally out now. My legs feel remarkably good coming off of the bike. Of course, this is probably aided by the fact that the initial part of the run course is downhill. I hope this energetic feeling lasts, although we're going downhill quite a bit so I know what that means for the return leg. The streets are lined with spectators cheering.

There's a bit of uphill, then a flat section and then another downhill. I have a chance to chat with some fellow racers. My left knee seems to be bothering me a little bit even this early on in the race, which is odd since during training and such it was my right knee that bothered me. It's not affecting my gait at all, but it's something of which I'm aware.

We're out by the olympic ski jumps and cross a bridge and then make a left onto river road. This stretch is quite beautiful, basically feels like running on a country road with the sun shining, some clouds in the sky. There really aren't any spectators out here, but I chat with my fellow runners. We talk about the bike segment and one of them says that according to accuweather, the winds were up to 29mph. That sounds a bit high, but there was definitely plenty enough wind to make the bike ride that much more of a challenge. The road has a few small rolling hills on this section, but mostly flat.

I see a few SF Tri folks and they cheer me on and I cheer them back; I'm with Golden Gate Tri and I thought I was the only one on my team out here (turns out there was one other, but SF Tri apparently had about 20 racers. I also keep a look out for my classmate, but never see him, so I don't know if he's ahead of me, behind me, if he passed while I was in the porta potty or what.

Eventually the turnaround comes and it's time to head back the way I came. At some point, perhaps at the uphill, my right quad feels fatigued/sore. It doesn't stop me from doing what I know i have to do, but it's another pain to go along with my left knee. I manage to shuffle up the hill in a manner that faintly resembles running, which is more than many who are walking. The return stretch on the flat and downhill is okay.

As I get close to town, I have the bigger uphill to do. Plenty of spectators here. I make it up about half way and then decide it's not worth it to burn my legs so I walk the rest of the uphill.

After it makes the turn and flattens out a bit (but still uphill), I start running again. I make the right turn onto the out and back stretch along the lake. There are tons of spectators lining the streets here cheering everyone on and cyclists are still coming in. The special needs area is located here so I steer clear of all the traffic there. This run goes along for a little bit and then there's the turn around. I run back to main street and it's time for loop # 2.

DW asks me how I'm doing. I say "eh," but she tells me I'm looking pretty strong.
(if you can call what we're doing running at this point), but that burns him out so I leave him behind and continue onward. I continue slugging it out until I get to the big uphill section. There were a couple other folks I had been leapfrogging with for a little bit and they crank up the hill and I walk it. I only have a bit over 2 miles to go, but I can't say I have very much left in the tank, at least not enough to run uphill.

As it levels off, I begin running again. It's a right turn for the final out and back along the lake. The crowd cheers each of us on by name (from our bibs) which is nice. I'm pacing behind a couple guys and they talk about the finish at the oval where you have to run about 2/3 the way around it. I'm saying, geez, I'm going 26.2 and I still have a sprint around the oval. Ugh. They laugh.

After the turnaround, a spectator says that we need to average 7.5 minute miles to finish in under 12 hours. One of the guys goes for it and takes off. I do what I can to crank it up. The other guys falls behind. It's kinda fun to kick it into gear at the end of a race since I'm passing a ton of people like they're standing still. Finally, I come onto the oval.

The sides are packed with spectators. I can whipping around the curve. The friggin' Ford pedestal with a damn SUV is in the pathway so I have to jig around that. DW is here cheering me and I'm sprinting to the finish and I'm done.

Post race
Warm down:

I turn around and see my finish time. It's 12:04 something. The catcher greets me after my finish. She literally says to me that I look like I could run another one and I laugh. I get my medal, my hat, my shirt and my timing chip is removed. She also gets me a bottle of water and a thermal mylar wrap.

1:14:40 6:17:54 4:18:20 12:04:07 835 157

TOTAL SWIM 2.4 mi. (1:14:40) 1:57/100m 1215 217

BIKE SPLIT 1: 30 mi. 30 mi. (1:20:45) 22.29 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2: 56 mi. 26 mi. (1:42:06) 15.28 mph
BIKE SPLIT 3: 86 mi. 30 mi. (1:27:22) 20.60 mph
BIKE SPLIT 4: 112 mi. 26 mi. (1:47:41) 14.49 mph
TOTAL BIKE 112 mi. (6:17:54) 17.78 mph 1042 208

RUN SPLIT 1: 5.7 5.7 mi. (50:14) 8:48/mile
RUN SPLIT 2: 11.9 mi 6.2 mi. (1:04:54) 10:28/mile
RUN SPLIT 3: 26.2 mi 14.3 mi. (2:23:12) 10:00/mile
TOTAL RUN 26.2 mi. (4:18:20) 9:51/mile 835 157

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 4:24

Swim split was as expected. Bike is slower than I would have liked, but it was windier than expected and my second loop was only 12 minutes slower than my second loop so I paced reasonably well. Run wasn't too bad considering it was after a tough bike and a run course with some hills. Overall, I'm happy although I certainly would have liked to have broken 12 hours.

I go get some food at the finishers tent (sandwich, pizza, fruit, soda, chicken broth) and DW finds me. DW has generously already sherpa'd all of my gear back to the hotel room. On the walk back to the hotel people are congratulating me which is nice. I shower and we head downstairs to the Northern Exposure, the hotel's restaurant, for some food, but they tell us they can't seat us even though there are plenty of open seats because the kitchen is so far behind. A bit annoying, but we head across the street to the nearest restaurant, Generations. It's not too crowded here. I order the french onion soup and the salmon. DW orders a scallop pasta dish. We're waiting, waiting, waiting. We ask about bread and they said they just have some coming out of the oven soon. My soup arrives (it's so, so) and then the entrees arrive about a minute later. My salmon is the blandest salmon (undoubtedly atlantic, farm-raised) I've ever tasted and DW's scallops are not cooked well (very brown on one side and not browned at all on the other side...Chef Ramsey would have screamed at a chef for doing that). A few minutes later, our bread arrives. So, in short, food and service sucked.

Monday morning, we take my bike over to tri bike transport for shipment back and then we head to the ironman shop to check out the finisher's gear. There's a line maybe 20 people deep to get in, but it moves quickly. I supposed it's moving quickly because pretty much any of the decent gear (e.g. the black fleece jacket) is already gone and anything left is no where near my size (I'm a small. the regular lake placid bike jerseys were sold out of small even before the race). Oh well.

We head to the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery for lunch. It's still before noon, so we're able to sit outside on the balcony. We order a bruschetta appetizer and I have the fish and chips and DW has the BBQ burger. I also order the beer sampler and DW orders an Ubu Ale. The food and esp. the beer are excellent. The bruschetta was actually much more than that and included generous servings of hummus, salsa, and another dip. My fish was cooked perfectly, battered, crisp and a very large piece of fish. DW's BBQ burger was good, but overcooked (ordered medium rare, but received well done).

The beers were fantastic and significantly better than the beers produced by the Adirondack steak and brewery. You could tell they were pretty serious about their beer when they gave industry standard ratings for the coloring and the bitterness (as well as alcohol content and a description) for the beers.

We did some shopping along Main Street in the afternoon and took a trip out to Whiteface Mountain.

Our evening dinner, which was a chance to celebrate a bit and splurge (not that the food tab for our trip wasn't substantial already...). We had an early dinner at The View, which is one of the restaurants at the Mirror Lake Inn. After having stayed at Northwoods, I really wished I had stayed with our original booking here at the Mirror Lake Inn (although it is just a bit further away from the olympic center since it seems like the accomodations would be very nice.

The restaurant was nearly empty (early dinner so we could finish packing tonight) and they gave us a window table at the far corner of the restaurant. We started with some champagne from Riem. We ordered oysters to start since we don't often eat oysters from the east coast. The woman taking our order didn't know what kind of oysters (other than that they were from Nova Scotia) they were when we inquired further, but she'd said she'd ask the chef. Later, the chef came out and talked to us about them (they were Tata oysters) and he talked extensively about them and what other oysters they source, etc. Very cool.

For our stars, DW had the heirloom tomato gazpacho and I had to get the seared foie gras. Both were delicious. For entrees, DW had the cote de veau (veal, locally sourced) and I had the columbia king salmon (omega 3's! have another race in 5 days!). My salmon was quite good nice color too it, nice tight stripes on the fillet (so probably not farm fed to grow at an accelerated rate). But DW's veal was exceptional - perfectly cooked, tender with a very tasty sauce. She didn't finish it and I ended up finishing it for her.

We were pretty full, but we weren't going to turn down an opportunity to also try dessert. DW ordered the fresh figs poached in port (along with a glass of vintage port) and I had the cherry bread pudding. Since it was our anniversary, they also took picture of us and printed it out and also wrote Happy Anniversary around the plate on DW's dessert.

My dessert was decent although I prefer a bread pudding that is more eggy than bready and this was more bread and DW enjoyed the figs. All in all, an excellent meal.

On our walk back, we were treated to a nice view of the lake, a beautiful end to a great trip.

Last updated: 2009-07-27 12:00 AM
01:14:40 | 3862 meters | 01m 56s / 100meters
Age Group: 217/463
Overall: 1214/3000
Course: The two-loop swim takes place in Mirror Lake, a calm, pristine lake right in the heart of Lake Placid. It is an excellent spectator course. The water temperature is typically in the high 60s to low 70s. Wetsuits will be al- lowed. The swim is a mass start keeping all swim buoys to your left. Each athlete will exit the water and run on the beach before entering swim entrance for second lap. After the second lap, exit the water and run down Lake Placid Club Drive, downhill to the transition zone. There will be carpet on the road. The swim course will close at 9:20 am. (2 hour and 20 minute time limit)
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 08:49
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:17:54 | 112 miles | 17.78 mile/hr
Age Group: 212/463
Overall: 1041/3000
Course: The two-loop bike course takes place on state, county, and local roads. ** IMPORTANT 2010 INFORMATION - Ford Ironman Lake Placid 2010 Bike Course Update** The bridge project on the Haselton Rd. section of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course will not be completed in time for the July 25 race. The 2010 alternate route will utilize 5.6 miles of Route 9N north from Jay to Ausable Forks as well as 1.0 miles of Haselton Rd. The Jay bike aid station (formerly positioned in the parking area just before entering the hamlet) will now be just north of the Jay intersection to be accessible on the way out to Aus- able Forks and on the way back into Jay. The aid station at the Wilmington Fire Station will now only be acces- sible on the way out from the short Haselton Rd. turnaround.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:24
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
04:18:20 | 26.2 miles | 09m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 140/463
Overall: 805/3000
Course: This spectator friendly two loop course passes by the downtown area four times! This incredible route features some spectacular tree-lined river scenery, coupled with lake side running. There are a few rolling hills, but over- all athletes will find this a fast, fair run course.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2010-08-04 12:45 PM

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San Francisco
Subject: Ironman USA Lake Placid

2010-08-04 1:16 PM
in reply to: #3023224

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Extreme Veteran
Sea Isle City, NJ
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great race and great journey! Enjoyed the pictures. Congrats on a great race IronMan!
2010-08-05 3:28 PM
in reply to: #3023224

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
So sorry I missed your race. Sounds like you had a very nice race...and yes after my accident I'm very scared of the down hills too.

they repaved that road last used to be much worse.

I should have remembered to call you and could have given you some good suggestions on eats...I LOVE that pub with balcony across from Mirror lake that you went to after race.

PBF didn't make the race?

Hope all is well. I quit my job and started my own company!

Went to Seattle, Vancouver Canada and Olympic National Park but I was able to track you throughout the day on IMlive.
Another great race report! Thanks and keep in touch.

2010-08-05 5:22 PM
in reply to: #3023224

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St. Louis
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Nice race and fantastic RR!
2010-08-07 12:37 AM
in reply to: #3026233

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Redlands, CA
Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Great job Donato, I know its been a long time coming since last years dnf / dns; great report and good job!
2010-08-07 7:04 PM
in reply to: #3023224

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid

Great race report as you always do. So glad you had a good race after last year. I missed meeting you in Penticton last summer.

You brought up many fond memories of LP and the race in your RR. I am going back next year and can't wait. That Keene descent can be scary with crosswinds off the water.

2010-08-11 12:21 AM
in reply to: #3029502

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Subject: RE: Ironman USA Lake Placid
Congratulations! Great race report! Thank you for taking the time.

Edited by dkrrt 2010-08-11 12:22 AM
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