Ironman Lake Placid 2019 is in the books, and we are pleased to say it was another fantastic Key Race for the Team. While every big race is an opportunity to reconnect with her teammates, a “Key Race” brings together our virtual and real world communities, our athletes and staff, for one long weekend. And it’s a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate the endurance lifestyle that means so much to all of us.
We kick the weekend off with our Team Dinner on Thursday night.
This year we decided to go old-school and have an informal meeting that the staff house. It was great to connect with friends old and new and catch up on all the events that have led to this weekend.
Friday was a busy day for everyone inside Endurance Nation. The teams were was early in the morning, followed by a trip over to the bacon station for some good eats and laughs. We then rolled over to the Palace theater on Main Street for Coach Patrick’s annual Four Keys talk on race execution, powered by our partners at Ventum. This year more than 70 athletes came to the theater and experienced this free talk and how to successfully race 140.6 miles. [Sign up for our content portal for access to this and more free resources!]
While some athletes continued on with their day, Endurance Nation staff rolled over to the Expo to network with our sponsors and thank them for all they do for our Team. Special shout out to Normatech and ROKA.
By mid afternoon, Coach Patrick was on stage to warm up the crowd for the Friday afternoon Pre Race Briefing. Patrick spoke about the value of training together as a community as well as the benefits of having a Ventum super bike on your side.
Saturday morning was breakfast time as you can tell the pictures. We take everything seriously inside the Team, even our carbo loading. Saturday is for athletes to drop off their gear, review the transition area to make sure everything is all set, and rest with their feet up. It’s also a chance for staff to take a mental and physical break. After a day of final tapering, it was early to bed for all of us the preparation for the big day.
Race Day was as epic as you could hope for. Temperatures look to be starting in the 60s and rising to the mid-80s. The winds were set to be moderate and skies seemed fairly clear for the day. Most importantly, the race was pronounced wetsuit legal and you could hear the collective sigh across the entire town of Lake Placid!
After the swim start, we made our way over to the bike mount line / T2 exit to give our athletes one last shout of motivation before they headed out on the 112-mile bike ride. It’s always great to reconnect with people and see how they are doing mentally and physically. This is also a great time to see all the different shapes and sizes that make up Ironman and different approaches to racing.
By 8am, it was clear that the bike was windier than usual for that early in the day and things only increased from there. Normally the morning is pretty uneventful from a wind perspective, but we could already feel it up in Lake Placid. The first lap was fairly calm but the second lap proved to be quite windy – even wet! – for competitors. This wind is the top reason why you will see such disparity between lap one and left two times as you look at the results.
Coach Patrick did his race day run down the notch to see athletes running riding up into town. It was already quite windy at that point and the sun had really started to beat down on the competitors. Debriefing with our athletes, it was clear that the wind and the rain were in full effect down the valley on the second lap. Temperatures were high and it was hard to keep up with fluid requirements while also fighting the winds.
After a quick turnaround we were off to the run to watch our athletes start and finish each lap. The run start is a great opportunity to connect with athletes and help them reassess their day based off of conditions, their nutritional success, and their goals. Coach Patrick always has a couple key questions to ask each athlete to make sure they are in a good place. It is also fun to cheer on all the athletes as they begin the final leg of their journey exhibition point our cheering location is also by all 11 and 13.5 and 24. We see athletes finishing Lap One (uphill) and starting Lap Two (downhill). This is an important turnaround time in Lake Placid, allowing for athletes to refocus and tackle the challenge of leaving civilization (again!) and continuing to be successful when they face the challenges that await them on River Road.
The heat was a significant factor on the run. Very few athletes were focused enough to stay cool and hydrated on the bike, and the consequences were very apparent on the run. After more high-fives then should be legal, we made our way over to the finish line for final words and post race high-fives.
It’s always great to have a chance to reconnect and get each athlete’s story right away. Over time, stories change and evolve, but the raw emotion of the finish line at an Ironman® is truly something to behold. First timers to veterans, there is always something to learn when you cross the finish line. If you aren’t excited about watching the finish line and seeing these athletes achieve their dreams, then there is something seriously wrong with you!!
The day after brings the award ceremony and the much-anticipated roll down for the Ironman® World Championships. Huge shout out to Endurance Nation long-time member Kori Martini one achieving her first podium — on her birthday no less!! She’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t her fastest race, but her ability to refocus and get back to work allowed her to hold off the competition and earn fifth place in her age group against an incredible field, including the Ultraman World Champion.
While nobody on Team Endurance Nationearned a slot to Hawaii this year, it was still great to share that experience with all the athletes who are competing. If you are considering Ironman® Lake Placid as a race venue, we strongly encourage you to do so. The event is one-of-a-kind, from the geography…to the vibe…to the town…to the people who race here…to the people who live here – you will not find a better event.
If you’re looking for more resources and information about race, please find our Lake Placid Training group on Facebook or Google “Endurance Nation Lake Placid” to find countless resources, podcasts, and webinars to help you get ready.
Congratulations to all the finishers we hope to see you in 2020!
~ Team Endurance Nation