Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LP 08'

This is late, but so what. It's something to read. You can only read so much of slowtwitch.com or xtri.com or tmz.com (that's right Molson, I know how you roll). So even though this may be dribble, it can't be much worse than the alternatives. Can it?

I don't know what it is about Lake Placid. I absolutely love the place. I love the drive from 87 up to LP. I love the small town and the lakes. And I absolutely love the surrounding wilderness. The swimming, riding, running, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, is superb. Yet, at the same time, when it's time for me to leave, I'm ready to get the hell out of there. There have only been a few places that while at the end of the trip, I wished that I had a few more days there. Mostly island places. I love to travel, but I guess I am a bit of a homebody and I do miss and love to come home, especially when I travel without the family.

Monday morning at 5:45am, I was on the road traveling east to 87 and anxious to get home. I did however have a great four days in Lake Placid. Baker came up there with me and I don't think we have ever not had a great time on any excursion we have done. I was definitely laughed out by Sunday evening.

We got there Thursday around noon and our hotel room wasn't ready, so we changed into cycling clothes in our cars and headed out to ride the bike course in reverse. The big downhill, when riding it in reverse can feel like a bitch of an uphill, but it's not so bad. It's just long, but the grades not bad. Ride Whiteface and this climb on 73 will seem easy. We managed to squeeze an hour run in before dinner as well - I hit the secret trails off of Mirror Lake drive.


Tri-geeks were everywhere. This place is inundated with triathletes. Many racing and many spectating and hoping to register on Monday for next years race. I ran into a lot of familiar faces during my run back to the hotel on Mirror Lake Drive. Then it was dinner at Nicolas which consisted of a few beers, a couple of salads and the #5 pizzas. This meal is hard to beat.


The next morning, Baker headed out on his ride at 6am, I left at 6:15. We were riding down 86 and up Whiteface. This climb is a son of a bitch, and it's great. You start climbing as soon as you turn left off of 86 and it's a straight climb, meaning you don't need to steer for the first 3.5 miles up to the tollbooth. It's a constant, steady grind. I caught Baker at around the 2.5 mile mark and forged onward. The Whiteface road rules state that you must be off the road by 8:30am, when the toll booth opens and permits cars to make the 8.5 mile drive up to the peak. A truck with some workers came up on me around the 5 mile mark reminding me of this. It was drizzling rain, but not so bad. Around the 5.5 mile mark, I flatted my rear wheel. Reminder that when riding up in altitude, underinflate a bit. 100psi would have been fine. A defective co2 had me waiting and hoping Baker had an extra, which he did. I was back on track. Another flat would have made for a long walk down the mountain. When you hit the 7 mile mark, you get some switchbacks. The last 1/2 mile was directly into a nasty headwind and was brutal. I hit the summit in 58 minutes and put on some warm clothes then began the descent. After two cold miles of descending, the hale began. Fun. Then the downpours came. The descent took all of 20 minutes and it was hard to see a thing. The rain wasnt so bad though. I often say that once you are wet, you're wet, so why bitch? Hope that Sundays racers had the same attitude.

Baker and I regrouped and rode the course in reverse again. I needed to be at the top of the big downhill on rt 73 for downhill practice. I pulled into this parking area where we were to meet at 9:58 and was the first one there. I had a great turnout for the practice though. the roads were damp, making it all that much more valuable. I host this each year, the idea being that those who are racing can practice this six mile descent a few times (we have friends and spouses meet at the bottom and drive us back up) to learn it and build confidence for raceday. Everyone says that this only helps their race day. Many brake too much on the corners, only to hammer like hell on the straights to make up for it. You know who you are. This is wasted energy. This downhill, when done correctly, regardless of conditions, requires no braking. That's right, no braking! Jeff M. drove Baker and I back from the downhill, stopping at a great lunch spot (thanks for lunch Jeff!). I can't say where it's at. They are doing plenty of business already and this place doesn't need to be anymore busy, especially when I'm up there. Call me selfish but it is what it is.

I met with some athletes, hit the expo and My Athlete tent, and then headed out for a run which turned into quite an adventure. I hit the trails again and I ran one trail straight uphill for quite awhile. The trail ended at the foot of a huge rock ledge. The top of the ledge looked like an incredible view, so I began climbing. My zoot running shoes weren't great on traction, but I made it about 2/3rds of the way up. The rock was really slick at this point and about 90 degrees. There weren't many hand grabs, so after sitting there irritated for a few minutes, I decided to descend. The problem is that the descent was really steep! I didn't realize how much I climbed and how vertical it was until I turned around. Ascending is easier then descending in this terrain, believe it or not. After getting religious for a moment and saying a few hail mary's, I made my way down, including a not so stylish slide on my back the last 1/3rd. I returned to the hotel fired up to tell Baker about this experience - funny, he did the same exact thing maybe 10 minutes after me!

Jeff Molson and his wife and kids had us and some of my athletes over for a cookout that evening. Jeff rented a key house on Mirror Lake. The house itself is great and the location makes it unbelievable. We had an exceptional steak and salmon dinner which was unbelievably generous of the Molsons.

Saturday, we headed out to ride a loop of the bike course and there were easily 200+ people out there training on the course. Even with all these people, I pretty much rode alone. I took advantage of this trip to get in some training. I didn't commit to any group rides or to meeting up with people, and even though it may have been selfish, it was nice. It was sunny and the wind was howling. That afternoon, Baker and I picked up John Hirsch and blindfolded him and took him over to an unbelievable trail run. I don't know what Baker did to him on the drive over. John wasn't complaining though.

Another solid day completed with a great dinner at Milano's where we were able to watch the Tour, then John Brennan, the bad influence, kept us out drinking a bit to long.

Sunday, race day: We all know now that the rain never let up. Funny thing is, it actually made for a fast day to race LP. Temps were in the 60's. My wife was driving back from my inlaws and called me while passing through NYC - she said it was 102 degrees there! The rain kept the wind down. 86 is actually nice with no wind. We hung out and cheered from the My Athlete tent during the day. I remind my athletes that by race week, they are ready and it's up to them. They all stepped up and did amazingly well. Everyone of them! Hopefully, we'll get some race journals soon to post. I was really proud of not only the way everyone performed, but also the fact that everyone seemed to really be making the most of the day.

Maybe you were looking for more of a writeup on the race. Well, we already know about the day and about how everyone did, so why beat a horse?

Many of you signed up for next year and I have to say that I almost did as well. I do want to race an IM next year and if it isn't going to be Hawaii, then LP would be my next choice.

Cheers,

EH

2 comments:

mrpsam said...

I wish I had been in LP for your downhill adventure. To have someone drive me back to the top so I could do it again - weeeee. That was one of my highlights of LP camp (learning how to go downhill). That morning I did that descent without braking -- heaven!!!! Mary

Anonymous said...

Eric,

Do you Bakers number? I am feeling something I have never felt before, something deep inside being awoken...

John