Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ironman Lake Placid

Google said the trip was about 6 hours, which makes Lake Placid close enough for an afternoon drive.  I left after work on Thursday, and spent the night with the trucks in the parking lot at the OnRoute just outside of Cornwall before crossing the border into the US.  I should do that more often.  With the right planning and bedding, it would be quite comfortable.  
Run Aid Station #3, on River Road
 I arrived Friday morning with plenty of time for a full day of adventure.  First the bike.  I rode one lap of the bike course.  It reminds me of the Mont Tremblant course, only with higher mountains all around.  

Looks better in 3D
Highway 73 descends into a gorge down, down, down, like forever.  Then it finally levels out alongside the river valley.  ...and the sign for "trucks use low gear down the hill for 2 miles" comes.  More screaming fast downhill.  Finally 2 miles later levelling off.  That will be some climb coming up out of this valley.  Then another sign, "trucks use low gear down the hill for 1 mile".  I'm still chicken on the downhills, and that one set my brakes to squealing.  
Me on Mount Marcy. Fitbit says it's 400 floors for the hike.
The climb doesn't seem nearly as steep, taking almost half the course to get up the hill to the village again. 
Danger, No swimming
 I should eat and go to the washroom, but I just have an energy bar and set off for the run.  I made one lap of the run course.  It's a lonely out and back down a farm road by the river.  Lonely because it's largely inaccessible to spectators. Quite flat, which will be nice, except for a long, steep hill on the way back into town.  I got some cramps at that point, needing the room of requirement, so I walked the last few km.  
Last swimmer gets his own flotilla
Everything in town is booked, so my hotel is 40 miles away, for a long night's drive.
Sunscreen is spray-on this year
Saturday, and the highest peak in New York state is just up the road, so I drive to the trailhead and hike up to Mount Marcy, about 12 km each way.  My Fitbit records it as over 400 floors worth of climbing. The round trip takes me about 7 hours.  I wore one of my Ironman finisher shirts, so people keep asking if I'm racing tomorrow.  No, just handing out water. The peak is just above treeline.  I don't think I've ever been above treeline. Not on foot anyway.  
Kids building sand castles behind the wetsuit strippers
Well rested overnight, I make it to town to watch the swim.  I like watching the swim, especially the last few racers, for whom the crowd cheers like mad.  Then it's off to Run Aid Station #3, out the isolated River Road.  I'm there in time to see the first pro come by, and stay on into the night until the last man on course has passed.  Like last year, at dusk I set out to do roadway clean-up.  I fill about 3 garbage bags.  One item, I think is a shoelace, until I've picked it up to see closer.  Dead snake.  
Me at the aid station

I make it back to town for the last hour of finishers coming in.  There's a large set of bleachers, so the crowd is wild.  I hear that the race doesn't sell out anymore, with this being one of the more difficult Ironman courses available, but I come back Monday morning anyway, to buy my race entry.  I will be back again as a racer in 2017.