Friday, September 6, 2013

Lake Placid Ironman July 2013


Not me! I am not an idiot. Four friends recently competed in the Lake Placid Ironman event.
Lorenzo, Wade Howard, Andy Sandy, and Stacey Racer. For those that do not know what an Ironman event is, I have posted two videos. The first is Lorenzo explaining to his wife, that he is going to do an Ironman. The second video is Stacey Racer hiring her Ironman coach who is also her husband Frank. Once you watch these videos you should understand what an Ironman is. These are rather short videos.

 Lorenzo explaining to his wife he is going to do an Ironman

Stacey Racer interviewing her Coach / Husband for the Ironman

All kidding aside, it was very inspirational to watch these four friends train for over 6 months and than compete with 2,500 other idiots, I mean athletes.

I was very luckily that Lorenzo invited me up a few days early to spend sometime with him and his family at the Whiteface Lodge  in Lake Placid, New York. While I have been to Upstate New York
many times, I had never been to Lake Placid. What a beautiful area.

It was early July, but from what I could tell it is a place you can visit all year round. There is so much to do, much of the activity is outside. Fishing, hiking, boating in the warmer weather, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, bobsledding in the winter. Lake Placid has hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. You may remember the Miracle on Ice when the 1980 United States Men's Olympic Ice Hockey team beat the Soviet team. This happened in Lake Placid.

We arrived Friday afternoon the race was not until Sunday. We had a nice relaxing afternoon at the lodge. The competitors, Lorenzo, Wade Howard, Andy Sandy, and Stacey Racer had a pre-race meeting.

Early Saturday morning I met up with Frank, Stacey Racer's husband and coach. We had decided we would do the Ironman Bike route to get a perspective of what the athletes would be doing on Sunday. The bike route is a 56 mile route around the lake. Our plan was to do the route once, for the race the
athletes would do the loop twice.

It was 5:30 AM, 55 degrees and no humidity, you could not have asked for a better morning, the air was cool and crisp. The bike route starts off in town and you immediately hit some easy rolling hills, what a way to warm up. About 6 miles into the ride you hit a 9 mile long down hill. You might say wow that makes it an easy ride, NO! For Frank and I, the sun was just coming up and we were heading east, so we could see just a few feet in front or us because of the sun glare. We had to ride our breaks the whole way down. For the racers, they did not have the issue with the sun, but wait to you hear what they had to deal with.

Once at the bottom of the hill we made a sharp left and rode a very scenic section of the ride, for about 10 miles, right along the river. We got to the town of "J" did a quick out and back, before heading back to Lake Placid, we had about 20 miles to go, so far so good. Remember that 9 mile down hill in the beginning, up to this point we had been riding mostly flat. What goes down, must go up. You guest it, the last 20 miles was all up hill. Frank and I had a blast, but remember we
did not swim 2.4 miles before the ride and we only did 56 miles on the bikes, not the full 112. Plus we had breakfast after our ride, for the Ironman they will be doing a marathon when they finish their ride.

After breakfast I meet up with Lorenzo, his family, best friend, Wade, and Wade's girlfriend Amber.

The plan was to go for a hike to Copperas Pond, This is one of Lee Ann's (Lorenzo's wife) favorite places. At the start of the hike I got a little distracted and lost site of the group. The trail was well marked, but I guess not well enough for me, somehow I got lost. I eventually found the pond, but about 30 minutes after everybody else. Lorenzo was worried about me (ne cell service), and went back to find me. Somehow we missed each other and he ended up doing the hike twice. Exactly what he needed the day before an Ironman. Lee Ann was correct Copperas was fantastic, there was a rock that hung about 10 feet over the pond, but seemed like 20
feet. We could jump off the rock into the cool fresh water. We did a little swimming, and had lunch before hiking back.

The afternoon was rest and relaxation for the competitors, while the spectators had another plan. We rented a boat and took the boys tubing. Lake Placid is a long narrow lake. This allows ski boats to get up some nice speed which can be a lot of fun if you want some wild tubing rides, fun and wild was what the boys got.

Tubing Video

Lorenzo had a great dinner brought in for everybody to enjoy. The key was a nice quite dinner with no stress and an early night to bed.

We all meet up at 5:00 AM. I was Lorenzo's support team. The bikes were all dropped off the day before. This morning before the race we had to drop off the special needs bags, each racer has a bag that they can put anything in. They will have access to the bags half way through the bike and half way through the run. It was a wild scene, 2,500 competitors along with their spectators and support staff.

I was not sure where Stacey Racer and Andy Sandy where, I was watching over Lorenzo while Amber kept and eye on Wade. Lorenzo is a very laid back guy, in fact he is so laid back sometime we have to take his pulse to make sure he is still alive. Not this morning he was ready to go and he had a plan and we better follow that plan or who knew what might happen.

Wade and Lorenzo entered the swimming area, Amber and I were on our own, no spectators allowed in the swimming area. Once the race started we could see all the swimmers, but had not idea where our friends were. As the swimmers started finishing, about an
hour after the start we headed over to the section they had to run to get to their bikes. Yep, swim 2.4 miles and then run a half a mile, bare foot, on cement, to get to your bike.

Wade was the first out of the water, followed by Andy Sandy, Lorenzo was just a few minutes behind Andy Sandy, with Stacey Racer taking up the rear. The weather, it was perfect about 58 degrees and overcast, well almost perfect about 10 minutes before the swim finished the skies opened up and we had a moderate rain for 30 minutes. No big deal, or was it. Remember the bike course, a few miles in there is a 9 mile steep down hill, it is also VERY windy. Now the riders had a steep, windy down hill that was wet, not the best conditions for biking. Yes, there were a few spills, but nothing critical.

The bike would be somewhere between 6 and 7 hours. I found Frank and we went and got some breakfast while we waited for the second loop of the bike. Fortunately the rain let up and the bike course dried for the second loop.

You know the saying all bikers look the same, well it is true, trying to find four bikers out or 2,500 is close to impossible, but not impossible. We found 3 of the four, could not find Andy Sandy. Lorenzo made up some time on the bike completing the course in 6 hours 17 minutes, Wade, right on his tail at 6 hours 24 minutes, and Andy Sandy and Stacey Racer taking up the rear in just over 7 hours. They were now all off on the Marathon, 26.2 fun filled miles.

Again we saw 3 our of 4, this time we never saw Lorenzo. Though from what I heard he had a smile on his face the whole run. Lorenzo had the best Marathon time at 4 hours 4 minutes. Remember this was a 4 hour marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. Wade completed the
marathon in 4 hours 42 minutes. Both Andy Sandy and Stacey Racer were just over 5 hours.

Detailed times:

Lorenzo        Swim 1:30:41  T1 8:05    Bike 6:24:07  T2 5:46   Run 4:04:17  Total 12:12:56
Wade             Swim 1:19:07  T1 10:14  Bike 6:17:15  T2 8:09   Run 4:42:18  Total 12:37:03
Andy Sandy  Swim 1:26:08  T1 15:45  Bike 7:08:01  T2 8:57   Run 5:22:53  Total 14:21:44
Stacey Racer Swim 1:37:34  T1 8:56    Bike 7:11:18  T2 11:01 Run 5:41:11  Total 14:50:00

I was shocked four people just spent between 12 and 14 hours doing a race and they all looked like they were ready to rock and roll. I think it may have been the adrenaline. After a nice soak in the hot
tube everybody called it a day.

After spending a day watching these nut cases compete, if you do not believe me, that they are nut cases, go back and view the first two videos. I felt this competition was not for me, but I wanted to make sure. I decided to go down to the lake and do one loop of the swim, 1.2 miles. After an hour of swimming, I completed one loop, 1.2 miles. Stacey Racer was the slowest swimmer of the group and she did 2 loops in 1 hour 37 minutes. If I could do two loops at the same pace I did one loop at, I would have been 23 minutes behind Stacey Racer. Now I was convinced I would never do an Ironman.

After the swim I was off, not sure to where, but I was off.



All Pictures

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dug, Great write up! Makes me want to go get a tattoo! Thanks for coming up.