IRONMAN Lake Placid – Post race and general thoughts

After a long day out in the sun, I was happy to head back to the campground and have a quiet dinner. It got very cold when night fell and I made a fire but was so tired I couldn’t burn through all the wood I had (which is very unusual for me, I LOVE fires and usually stay up nursing them to the very end). Susie and Thomas came back around 11 just in time to see me ready to fall asleep.
The next morning, I packed up camp and got dressed to go for another, last and solo, ride in the area. This after Susie and Thomas tried to convince me to go get a voucher….
Funny how I will not ride alone hardly ever at home, but up there, I do. It’s just different there. For one the cars (drivers) are almost to a one polite. They slow down, or they move wide out of the way, and before my ride today, I had never been honked at there. We’ll come back to this.
Anyway, I first took a drive since I wanted to check out some other roads and campgrounds in the area, and it was another blue sky morning. I am glad I went because I found another road that I think would be an amazing ride, and it even hooks to the Ironman course. I stopped at the campground, snapped a few pictures, then I was going to return to Jay for another 9N ride when I saw Haselton Rd which I knew went back to Wilmington and lo and behold was the out and back section of the bike course I’d heard about. Well, now I had to ride it!
So, I parked down by the church in Wilmington (since it was Monday figured this was as good a spot as any). There were a pretty high number of cyclists doing the IM loop on their tri bikes, some probably like me just trying to get in a last ride, but others maybe locals who were still training for other events. It seems around here people are always training for something. I doubt any of them were IM finishers, but maybe friends or tri club members – there were tons of tri clubs in the area.
This section of the course is approx 7 miles each way. I did it twice, keeping a steady fast pace the whole time. The tri folks still passed me (is it the bikes? I couldn’t help but wonder why I seem so slow) but I was quite happy with how I was riding, fast and strong the whole time. This road does have several hilly sections but nothing like the three sections of the course I haven’t done which make the hilly upper “U” of the loop (or the Saturday ride I did). The tri cyclists of course did it once as part of the 56 mile loop but I got to exchange hellos with a few of them twice… oh, and at one point, I got a long “get out of the way” honk, even tho I was riding singly and on the right 1/3 of the lane, with PLENTY of room to go around me and no oncoming traffic. I figure it was a resident of the street who was sick of seeing cyclists, but still,
That will be my goal for the next time I’m up there, weather permitting, to ride one of the harder sections. I am quite afraid of the long climbs and descents tho – I don’t like to go above 30 mph with no end in sight, and on some of the downhills will put you well above that. I was braking pretty good on our downhill run…
So, some general course comments. I know that every IM course has unique elements, but from what I’ve heard this is one of the tougher ones, particularly for the bike. The swim is in a generally calm clear lake, and they even have a cable with position markers so you can swim it just about any time. I don’t think the swim is considered bad vs in other areas where it may be on very rough water, with currents etc.
But the bike is extremely hilly. I heard from Susie about the online comparison tool and yeah, it sure looks to be a significantly more hilly course than many of the others. As a new rider last year, and as someone not familiar with the IM series of races until more recently, I didn’t have a sense of that other than knowing it is extremely hilly. I had already driven most of it and had a healthy appreciation of the effort involved, even before seeing the web tool.
Anyway, it starts out in LP which is at higher elevation, and goes through the town a bit, then goes DOWN, FAST along a windy road that I think looks a little maniacal to ride down, Rt 73. However, the views, at least from the car, are amazing. This goes down to Keene, and then you wind along the AuSable River on 9N (what I did the first day). The route turns up 86, and mostly up. This is the climb I’ve seen many a rider struggling with. The section on Haselton comes as a bit of a recovery but it does have some hills as well, interspersed with downhill sections. It’s also very pretty, going through farm fields and along more of a river. Back out to 86 to the town of Wilmington, then left passing in front of Whiteface Mtn. From this point, the course begins to wind and climb again, but it never seems to have too much of a pitch. I have read there are three hills near town, which means the course must leave 86 for a bit. I’ll have to track that down as well. All in all a loop of 56 miles, repeated 2ce. After you’re done, per some of the Motion Based GPS logs, you’ll have climbed close to 9000 ft.
All this left me wondering about why this race, why not an Iron distance elsewhere? Is it any less of an accomplishment if it is done on a non-Ironman branded course? These races fill up within an hour of opening, which doesn’t give much opportunity for a new racer to get in – unless he or she has been on site.
How does someone who isn’t able to volunteer or otherwise be present get into these? Do you need to be able to do all 3 disciplines individually first? What about the people who don’t finish, do they end up feeling like they have failed? Do they want to try again? How do you know what your life will be like in a year? It seems like a big step to sign on for something that is that far away. And it’s not cheap either, at $500 for the race. Of course, it’s more feasible if you’ve done it before and know the ropes, but for a new entrant there are a lot of hurdles there…
I do wonder if I could do it. The idea of running more than 3 miles in a race doesn’t sound fun, I just don’t like running that much. But I figure I could probably manage a 1/2 marathon as a max distance. So, maybe a half Iron would be a place to start. Well, ok, a sprint is the place to start.
But, yes, this has got me thinking about tris more, after I had to put it aside with the house stuff this summer… I am going to bring my wetsuit on vacation for some bay swimming. :) with some luck I can get into a tri yet this year…

Chalk one up for the little guy… (patpub vs Monsanto)

In the two plus two category…
Noting the latest news about industrial farming giant Monsanto;
PUBPAT Initiated Review Leads PTO to Find All Claims of All Four Patents Invalid

These stock sales seem exceedlingly fishy.

IRONMAN Lake Placid – Race day (part 2)

Saturday night I had a hard time sleeping. I was sure I’d miss the alarm, and wanted to get to Lake Placid in time. Well, I ended up waking up at 3:45 and left with 15 minutes buffer. Good thing too, since they’d already barricaded the same roads I used the day before. I don’t know LP that well, but apparently well enough to get around, and I managed to work my way back to the meeting point for our kayak team to head out onto the water.
It was cool, and the lake was steaming. The peaks were still covered in fog, and over the next 90 minutes it would slowly burn off. We got assigned our positions and headed out in the boats. Most of us seemed to be reasonably seasoned kayakers but there were a few newbies there which did make me a little nervous for them. I guess my fears were unfounded since nothing happened, but still I think some minimum skill would best be had for this type of assignment.
Anyway, soon we heard the whirring of the helo overhead, and the race announcer notifying the crowd that the women’s pro race was 15, 10, 5 minutes away… you could feel the excitement increasing. There were approx 25 women pros in the race, vying for prize money and coveted endorsements. I was in a position to follow down the swimmers as they completed their first lap, and the tv boat crew must have caught me in some of the filming. It was at once humbling and amazing to be performing that role, watching the swimmers intently to notice any potential trouble. The women however didn’t seem to need much help although they did break into three or four groupings.
Soon, they were on the 2nd lap, and it was nearly time to start the age groupers. From the far side lake I could see the flailing arms of 2000+ swimmers and I have to say it was intimidating, I wanted to get out of there for a second. Fought off the urge and began to focus on the task at hand, which was ultimately pointing them at the corner turn buoy.
for the swim, there are scuba divers at the start, and at the corners, since traffic bunches and things can get hairy. Lifeguards on surf boards are in the center. On the first lap in particular, there must have been 40-50 swimmers at least going around the corner at a given time. By the 2nd lap it was down to a more manageable number of say 10 but still there was almost always a pack. I’d try to pick out stationary swimmers, or people coughing, or otherwise showing concern. I didn’t actually end up having to call for help on anyone, but a few other kayakers and the lifeguards had a few resters. Every once in a while, I’d hear a swimmer yell something or just make some kind of noise but I could never hear what it was. Other than that, it was just the sound of hands and feet in the water, almost like an entire flock of birds landing on the lake but it never subsided.
The lake temps were perfect, at maybe a 72 or so. Wetsuit legal, but nothing that would cause an undue shock to the system. I imagined it was actually warm to swim in the suit, and we had one or two come through who had opted to not use it. I don’t know, haven’t swam in mine yet, but by 8:30 it was shaping up to be a warm sunny day with little wind.
Our last swimmer who was going to make the cut off came around, and as he worked his way along the buoys, we all began to follow him, shouting encouragement to get him in before the 2:20 alloted time. I found myself getting emotional about a person I didn’t even know but out there, the kayak crew was responsible for the swimmers, and they didn’t have there family, friends, or other spectators to cheer them on – so I definitely felt it was our job to get him in.
I confirmed today he did finish, with a strong bike time as a good anchor.
The crowd began to roar as he neared the last four position markers. Amazingly, there was still a significant # of people there to see the last swimmer exit the water. Once we knew he was out of the water, we separated and I paddled back to the marina to load up the kayak. It was a very unique vantage point for the race start, and I am glad I chose this job. Plus, anytime I get to paddle and bike on the same trip is a great thing!
After wrestling with my yak (new Element, not familiar with loading on it), I walked back into Lake Placid with the camera and the idea of getting some good competitor shots. I had lunch with my husband who was headed home, but then ended up chatting with a woman in her upper 60s. She was there to watch her son, age 34 (my age), compete in his 4th Ironman. We talked about distance events and the commitment that goes into them for both the participant and his/her family. Though the Ironman is of a scale and scope I can hardly wrap my head around, I do feel like I have some understanding of it all since I’ve done the PMC.
There are 4300 PMC riders, and in these parts (Massachusetts), it’s a very well branded endurance event. It’s got cachet, and it’s just hard enough to weed out those who aren’t dedicated to the cause/idea. Not unlike the Ironman in that regard. We have to train for it for many months, and it sells out within weeks of opening registration. The PMC too attracts people from all over the country who come year after year, and it too draws crowds and support from the communities it goes through. Last of all, it needs an army of volunteers that make the whole thing run well, and when you cross the line, you have done something, and you want to do it again. So despite not being a race, it is a self formed club – you know when you see the PMC jersey that someone’s slogged through the same things you have to be able to wear it. Of course, I understand the Ironman is a battle of willpower to the extreme, but being a spectator in Lake Placid, and being a volunteer, I felt I knew the whole circle of why people participate in these things. I talked to volunteers who were former IMLP participants, people who were future hopefuls, and people who loved the vibe and traveled from far away (5-6 hours) just to be a part of it.
I got to see quite a bit of the bike, and made it to the finish area where I saw Susie and Thomas as well. We ended up flanking the winners as they ran in, and I got great photos of the top women and amateur men finishers. Unbelievable athletes, all. In Tour de France news there was much dismay to hear about more doping scandals today, and has caused some to ask "Who can we look to as inspiration" in this event.
I found plenty of inspiration in hearing some of the stories as the announcers read names and places people hailed from…. the amateur male winner is a 29 year old Burlington VT man who oh-by-the-way is a medical student. Last time I checked, that isn’t exactly a cake walk leaving tons of time for endurance event training. Then there’s the story of a man running for the Blazeman foundation (read about him, his is an amazing story too) who could only see 20 feet in front of him. Or the story of the last swimmer on the course, just trying to beat the cutoff. Or the story of the hundreds of middle of the pack people whose joy is evident just to finish, when they can cross the mat raising their hands up to the sky.
That’s inspiration, and that’s what I think I have learned from being part of these types of events. You can just look around at these events and feel inspired. Better yet, you can be one of the ones who is inspiring….

IRONMAN Lake Placid – Pre race

I love the north country of the Adirondaks, and spending time in them for the IRONMAN is truly special. But most of the time I’ve spent here it’s been rainy, and true to form it was looking this way when I got in. I arrived in the dark, set up my tent as quietly as possible, and it rained overnight. I awoke to a bit of wet ground and puddling and I prepared for another rainy visit, but gradually the clouds broke up and the sun began poking through. I relocated my tent and got dressed to go riding. The campground had just a few other people, but I knew they’d fill up soon with cyclists and IM’ers. Already, Rte 86 was filled with triathletes and cyclists challenging themselves to a loop of the IM course, which runs in front of the campground.
I chose to ride a modified section of the IM course that I’d ridden last year with a friend, as an out and back from AuSable Forks to Keene. The IM course runs this section of 9N in the other direction, but it’s a glorious ride either way. This section features some moderate climbs and some nice flatter sections, and it winds along the AuSable for much of it. In truth, it’s hard to not be awestruck by the beauty of the area anywhere, but this may be an overlooked section as the peaks are out of view. Anyway, I rarely ride alone, but I knew there’d be plenty of trifollks out to be riding with. Since I was leaving from AuSable Forks, there were a few miles I might not have company, but no big deal. I am not the most mechanically inclined but had a bike tool, tube, CO2, etc.
The ride was going well, even though the tri guys were blowing by me as if I were standing still at points. But, aside from that I was happy to be there and riding in one of my most favorite places. At mile 26 or so, my chain dropped as I shifted to my big ring, throwing it outside clear to the pedal side. I stopped, reset everything simple enough, and was on my way. Well, I foolishly tried to go to the big ring again maybe a mile down the road, and this time it popped the chain off in a way I’d not possibly recover it myself. Of course, I was back on the section of the ride with far fewer cyclists, and in fact I would not see another one the rest of the way. I ended up walking the bike a good 3+ miles back to the car, then headed directly to Lake Placid for a quick service.
The bike store tech was super nice and did a great job checking everything out. I also got to get my first taste of Iron Mania as the town was packed with triathletes and their families. I also got to wish the bike store guy who fitted me for a wetsuit back in the winter good luck on his Ironman.
It is a strange thing to be in the town around this event. For one, every fourth or fifth person it seems is on a bike, in bike clothes, or is running down the street. Almost all the men are sporting well tanned, well muscled, and completely hairless arms and legs. People who are overweight or heavy stick out as an exception (unlike, say, walking around your local mall where it is probably the norm), and snippets of conversation are about the Tour, hiking, the ride or run someone just did, how many carbs they’ve had that day, that sort of thing. Just not topics you’ll hear in any other environment. I love it! I wish I could be in that kind of environment every day!
After the quick trip to the bike shop, I headed back to the campground, which had been transformed in my absence into a city of tents, with road and tri bikes all over and smoke and laughter arising from the campsites… I just took it all in with a big grin on my face. Yes, it was time to enjoy.
Most of the campers here are Canadian, since it’s a much closer race for Eastern Canadians than going to IM Canada. It seemed like a good 80% of the campground sites feature a fluttering Canadian flag or at least vehicles with Canadian plates.
Later that night, my husband Aaron, as well as Susie and Thomas arrive. But it’s late so we did not stay up long.
Saturday dawned with a high bright sun, and no clouds. I had to go down to LP for my volunteer meeting (I was kayak crew for the swim). The town was again bustling and there was a definite energy present with excited IM hopefuls walking around. After the meeting was over, we came back and had some lunch, and then Aaron and I went for our ride.
This ride is one I happened upon last year by studying the NY Gazeteer. Well, it is an amazing ride that goes up the back of Whiteface Mtn., starting from a fishing spot off of Rt 3. It doesn’t go to the summit, but it does get to a pretty high point of elevation, and features some extended and sharp climbing. Turns out this is a pretty well known locals ride and is also in a book of ADK rides, so I guess I picked a pretty good one! We eventually made it to the top, but I admit I still needed to walk part of the steepest section near the height of the ride. But, I rode the majority of the route and in much better form than last year. So, I’ll have to challenge it again and again until I can make it to the top under full power. At one point, I looked back and the peaks of the mountains are not above me, I was thinking, cool.
If you are looking for some challenging hill climbing, this is the area for you. A year ago I thought hills were to be avoided. Now I want to find them… for they make me stronger.
Pics to be added in soon.

600+ miles by bike.

Way There

Way Back

Those are my routes up and back from ny. I did about 600 miles. Not counting back tracks, and my full lap of the triathalon cycling route. My wrists, arms, back, and knee is a tad sore but I’m really good to go. Not bad for not having put that many miles on the bike in the past year or so.

It took about 6+ hrs on the way up. Stopping for gas a few times, getting off track once, and evening running into a friend along the road. On the way home, it took… about the same. I stopped for ice cream, gas a few times, and took a break about 1hr from home. I was much more sore / tired at the end of that ride. I don’t know how the iron butt guys do it, since it would be 3x + what I was able to ride in a day, and I did not enjoy the last 60+ miles on sunday. I’d like to try a few other bikes to see what they are like for distance, but I don’t think a monster is meant to be a long distance tourer.


simplify media?

have you seen this? It’s pretty neat. Basically conect your itunes to any of your 30 friends.

Here’s the little invite blurb…

I am using Simplify Media to give my friends and family access to my
music library. Set up is fast, and the software is integrated with
Apple iTunes.
To play my music, download Simplify Media for Mac or PC from:

Once installed, click the ‘invite’ button and use my screen name: m750

Rest periods

Rest is an important part of any training program. It helps rebuild carbohydrate supplies, which are depleted after a long or challenging ride. It also gives you time to flush out lactic acid, and lets your muscles repair any stress damage that may have been incurred.
Sometimes rest is good in other ways too. It allows you to mentally take a break and feel invigorated or eager to return to the bike, or it can be as simple as an opportunity to cross train or try a different activity.
But forced rest is never fun – for example, days off due to sudden schedule changes, prior commitments, sickness, weather changes, and so on. Still, a few days of rest will not derail you. In fact fitness is generally not lost significantly in less than a week’s time, though I don’t like to end up with more than four days of rest in a row; I feel like I am slacking off if that happens. Going longer than a week you will begin to see declines in fitness and endurance.
One common training technique is to have a lessened load every third week of training. This allows the body some time to recover. Another technique uses “active recovery” which is a rest day following two or three heavier training days, in which you may ride with a light touch on the pedals, slower tempos, flatter and shorter miles and so on.
The point is to complement harder training you need some rest training too. Plan for lighter days and don’t get too caught up if an unexpected rest day happens. You will probably emerge a stronger cyclist.
Well, this is what I am telling myself, anyway. It’s been 4 days since I’ve been able to bike for one reason or another. ;)

I like to break things.

But I am trying to learn about a bunch of new things about the latest and greatest in Web tech…. updating some of my sites etc. I do have a few sites to manage. I managed to break one of them which runs a content management solution around a forum, and that required a restore of the database… I am trying to go to a new content management solution and apparently don’t read instructions well. That’s what happens when you are tired and decide to do tech things. sigh.
anyway I’ve also been fooling around with squidoo to create some lenses. They are still being worked on but are out there for all to enjoy:
A guide for women just starting out with road cycling:
Women’s getting started with cycling guide
A guide to one of my favorite places in the state, if not in general, the Quabbin Woods and Reservoir:
Visiting the Quabbin Reservoir
A lens about alpacas, that of course coincides with Patriot Alpacas!
Alpacas in North America
And a new lens about cats with diabetes, from everything I’ve learned with BuddyCat (aka Bijan).
Feline diabetes
[Side note; Bijan has recently rediscovered the outdoors. Somewhat at my doing. So now he’s sitting by the door looking at me to let him out. I only let him out when I am on the deck myself to keep him from going anywhere.]
I am not sure I get the Squidoo thing yet but I’ll keep trying. None of my lenses are getting much in the way of traffic. And so far, I haven’t found the end guy on the Internet yet either.
It’s fun to learn new software and publishing means however.