This is what 50 athletes looks like!!! View More Photos Here
The 2012 edition of Ironman Lake Placid marked a decade for me in coming to either race or spectate this amazing event. The weekend was made even more special by the presence of over fifty (50) Endurance Nation members, friends and family who contributed to an incredible vibe and an indelible memory.
The Team Dinner — Thursday
You can see from the picture above that our Team dinner was an epic event. We had over 80 people in attendance. This is one of my favorite parts of the weekend, watching our members meet friends they’ve only ever known online. So much positivity and fun, with good food and drink to boot! Many thanks to our Team Captains for making this event possible.
The Four Keys Talk — Friday
I continued the annual tradition of giving our Ironman Race Execution talk to approximately 125 triathletes. Each race we cover the basics and then add specifics to the course. In the case of Ironman Lake Placid, I talked about swim seeding, hill climbing strategies, descending tips, quick nutrition goals, and the importance of steady run pacing. We had a real fun group for this talk, which always makes it more interesting…thanks folks!!!
After a night of restless sleep, I was up early to support the Team with a few pre-race high fives and hugs. The crew looked solid and ready to rock, and conditions looked perfect. The only morning hiccup was Brent Pilon deciding to rip the zipper off of his wetsuit. After trying to fix it for 15 minutes, the intrepid Steve Ross completed a 5k run to his car in record time to hand over his suit to get Brent in the water with minutes to spare. I walked some bags down to the Special Needs area with other EN supporters and caught the swim start. It was awesome to watch…but I couldn’t stand around for long.
After the swim start, I returned to my hotel to quickly change for the bike. Then I zipped over to the Bike Mount Line to watch for some EN folks coming out. I probably saw thirty Team EN athletes making their way out to the course. It was great to see just how disciplined and calm everyone was as compared to the competition. With the spectating done, I was off to ride the bike course backwards and keep everyone honest. I could tell right by the top of the descent out of town that it was going to be a very windy day. You could feel the wind pushing the trees (and me!) all over the place. By the time I settled down to spectate at about mile 32 on the course, things were also getting kind of toasty. Thankfully I found some shade with some friendly goats…yes, goats. Folks were lined up on the hill to Wilmington as far as my eyes could see; and yes there were a few packs of athletes working together. It’s still early in the day so fatigue has yet to set in…lap two is much more spread out. I returned to riding into what was now a serious headwind, around through Keene. I saw Andy Potts and the other top two men who where away from the field. As I climbed back up into Lake Placid, the age groupers started again. True to form, things were spread out and much cleaner. It was already apparent that some of these faster folks were in for a loooooooong day given how poorly they were moving their bikes.
I returned to my hotel, did a short 6 mile run and then made my way out to watch the start of the age group run. It was tangibly hot by now; while the temps were “only” in the low- to mid-80s, it felt much hotter. Clouds rolled through intermittently but never provided any rain to cool the athletes down. I spend time both in town and out by the run turnaround. I saw almost everyone here on the run, and again EN was doing great. I was especially impressed with our female athletes; they were handling the challenges of the race and the day with poise and discipline!!! I gave so many high-fives and butt slaps that my hands were salty and numb long before midnight. I just get so pumped up watching other folks race…I can’t help but get excited!
Closing Out the Race
Quite a few EN folks rallied at the Placid Brew Pub for some late night food and drink. This is right by the final out and back section which means you could see athletes on the verge of making it to the finish line. Watching their expressions change from total fatigue to excitement and anticipation of the finish is like having a window to the human spirit. No pictures do it justice, so you’ll have to go out and do some hard core spectating on your own!!! Congratulations to all of the Team EN members who competed (full list here) and thank you for an incredible weekend of friendship and inspiration. Good luck transitioning back home and recovering!!!