Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lake Placid, Day 1

Got in last night around 8:30-ish, checked in and then walked around town. Lake Placid is a REALLY cool little town. Its Main Street is booming with all kinds of little shops and tons of restaurants, including the Lake Placid Brewery ;) I met up with some friends there last night.

This morning I walked down to Mirror Lake and did the 1.2 mile course. Let's just say that swimming that course is CHEATING. I call it cheating because there is a buoy line that you can follow from start to finish. There is NO need to sight! So I cruised along and had the easiest 1.2 mile swim of my life. I didn't have a watch on, so I have no idea what my time was, but COME ON, that was too easy! They were putting out the BIG buoys while I was swimming.

Went back to my hotel and pounded down some food and got ready to ride. It was starting to heat up! Getting through town with traffic on Main St took forever, but once I finally got out of town, it was GO time....and I hit the first hill. I rode along a 2 time Lake Placid finisher and I peppered the poor guy about gearing choices. He said, "Go so easy on the first loop of this course. You should NOT be going hard AT all. Then you can open it up on the second loop if your legs are feeling good."

This was good advice. I have heard this before I am glad a former finisher repeated it.

Fortunately I was just doing 1 loop today so I could just open it up the entire way :)

The first 14 miles are rough. You are climbing and then on some flats with a pretty serious cross wind. I was kinda scared riding on these types of roads. I am used to no shoulder close tree lined roads. This section was pretty open which made the downhills scary, especially the Keene descent. The Keene descent is wicked!!!

I was flying down this hill with my hands glued to the breaks. I don't know how some people ride in the aero position down that sucker. There are two major sections of downhill, and despite not peddling and producing ZERO watts, my heart rate was sky high due to the "Oh shit! Don't crash!" feeling vibrating through my body. I was HAPPY to have that section over with.

And then the course turned flat......for a LONG time. There is are these two stretches where I was holding 24 mph for mins and miles on end. It was incredible! I felt like Superman!

By mile 31 I had held a 20.9 mph average. I just knew in the back of my mind that this was the easiest part of the course and what was about to come was going to WRECK my averages. Disclaimer: Because this was a 56 mile training ride, I was able to push it this much today. Next year, it is gonna be conservation city on that section. I would still have 81 miles left to go!!! Talk about epic future FAIL!

So at the last major turn in Wilmington, the course started. There was a sign that said "Lake Placid: 10 miles." Ok, how bad can 10 miles be and that won't take too long. WRONG. All of my worst fears of this course came true. Other than the scariness of the first 14 miles of the course, these last 10 ARE the course. These last 10 miles will make or break your day on the bike. Its not steep. There are no long huge up hills. Its just this long gradual up that is at this pitch that just kills your pace, especially since there is this knarly headwind coming at you.

Eventually you make it to the Wilmington Knotch. The wind got the worst there and it felt like you were riding through molasses. It was miserable and mentally I was f-ing FRUSTATED. I just couldn't GO. Then it turned flat again for a bit and I was able to pick it up, but I remember reading about the last three hills, Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear. Seriously! These are the names of the hills! They have them spray painted on the road! I as SO relieved to hit the first one. These aren't bad hills, but they were a huge metaphor for THE END.

I like this course. It is both fast, and both humbling. Doing it a 2nd time will take strategy and a LOT of will power to hang back. Oh my god that guy was SO right. You have to swallow your pride and ego and literally go just about as easy as you freaking can on that 1st loop, cuz otherwise its gonna be a loooooooooooong day!

But I wasn't done yet after the ride! I threw on my running shoes and blasted out a 2 miler around Mirror lake in 15:30 flat. BAM! Mission accomplished! It was SO hot at this point and there was a bit of mugginess. My 2 miler ended right at the beach.

Think of me as a completely on fire. I mean absolutely engulfed in flames. Then I run into the water and you just hear that sound of a burning match hitting water. TSSSSSSSSssssssss.

That was me and hitting that water was one of the best feelings in my life!

Got cleaned up, checked out the expo and transition area where I will be tomorrow. This is a small sample of what 3000 bags and bikes looks like:

Then I just sat by the beach in the shade and just watched all of the swimmers going up and down that awesome swim course. Man, that is the best swim!

Then I met Mandy @ Caratunk Girl! Woo hoo! I met another blogger! She is awesome! We discussed a funny future blog post that require all of your attention and humility. It will be great!!!

We also met a fellow BT'er, Walt, from He did Placid last year so I was peppering with all kinds of questions about the race. He was really cool and answered them all. Thanks Walt! We will be volunteering together tomorrow AM in the men's changing tent.

After a few beers @ the Lake Placid Brewery and some ice cream @ Ben & Jerry's, I am calling it a night.

So today I accomplished a 1.2 mile swim, 57.5 mile bike, and a 2 mile run and my legs feel great! So basically its either I didn't go hard enough on the ride today (which is BS, cuz I hit my wattage targets) or its the run that really does the number on the legs. I am going with the run does the number on the legs!


  1. Hi little bro,
    Good luck to you! Kick some ass and have fun!

    I love the pictures of the bike transition area....all is calm before the storm:)

    How cool to meet Mandy too!

    Can't wait to hear how it goes!

  2. Your legs feel great because you have been logging some serious miles this year!

    I'm intrigued by the Lake Placid Brewery. Is there going to be a restaurant/beer review in the future?

    Good luck volunteering tomorrow!

  3. You are probably running around like a madman finding athlete's T1 bags at this point! Hopeyou have a great time!

    Explain to me this buoy line? I've heard others mention it but don't completely understand? Is it like an underwater tow line and the water is clear enough to see it?

  4. That just sounds like a really great training day! Woohoo!

    Have fun volunteering tomorrow! I can only imagine how crazy it's going to be!

  5. Good Luck Jon!!! Have a great time and be safe. I am sure by this time you are well into your bike race but anyway... Can't wait to read the RR!

  6. You got some priceless advice from that guy yesterday. I read an awesome article the other day about mindset for tackling an IM distance race. I'll send you the link in an email. I think you'll be able to appreciate it after your S/B/R yesterday. Hope you are having an awesome volunteering experience out there.

  7. Way to be proactive about NEXT YEARS RACE!! Way to know your strengths and be prepared for the weaknesses!
    Can't wait to hear how volunteering went!

  8. Hey what was that post we were talking about? I can't remember!! WOOOOO I am pumped!


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