Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lake Placid Training Camp: Things I Learned

DISCLAIMER: I am very tired and had to go right from this training weekend (where I got very little sleep) into an overnight so please disregard any misspellings, grammatical errors, or sentences that just don't make sense.

I will rewind and get to this weekend in a second. But I arrived back in Rochester at around 7 pm on Sunday and called my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day. He then asked me about my weekend and if I learned anything good. I told him, "I didn't really learn anything, but I did ride a lot!"

But now that I think about it.. I may have learned a thing or two.

Swim: ~1.5 miles
Bike: ~140 miles
Run: ~15.5 miles

Rae and I left at 7 am. We took our sweet time (AKA missed a turn and went way out of our way) getting there. Everyone slowly arrived and I met a bunch of new people/teammates. We rode for an hour and swam for 30 minutes. I saw the infamous "cable" that people use to sight in Mirror Lake. I SWAM IN MIRROR LAKE!! Kim and I did cannonballs off of a dock. I was feeling good! We ate dinner. Mary got drunk and then I watched her lube her bike chain and demonstrate the TRX drunkenly. I saw Kim mount her bike in her underwear and a t-shirt. I learned the turns on the bike course for the next day.

For the record, there were TONS of triathletes in L.P. Everywhere you looked there were tri bikes, people in spandex, aero helmets. It was awesome!

This was the big day. This was the day where I got to test out my fitness level, nutrition plan, and general ability to NOT blow up on the bike course. I am going to give my personal perspective of the IM Lake Placid bike course (it may differ from others because my strengths/weaknesses are individual to ME!!).

We all left between 7:30 and 8:00 from the hotel. I was planning on riding near Kim, but.. I got dropped very quickly. This was probably good. I needed to ride the course at my own pace and not Kim's pace. The course is super easy (navigationally speaking) - it's basically 3 left hand turns with an unknown out and back section (unknown because currently a bridge is out on the legit out and back section). 1 loop = 56 miles so the course is 2 loops. The first half of this course is ridiculously fun. There's a climb (Mary calls it Jackrabbit Hill) but since it's early on it's no big deal. There are some false flats that I honestly didn't even notice on loop 1. There is a beautiful view of a lake off to the right before you hit *the descent* into Keane. I was terrified of the descent. It's ~10K of downhill where there are curves in the road and crosswinds. It's where Travis E. crashed last year during IMLP. I was riding scared! Turns out, this descent is WICKED fun. There are 3 sections and the hill levels off after each section of downhill so a controllable speed is easily maintained if that's what you're going for (which it is - I am not going to bomb down a hill and risk dying). Then there is a sharp-ish left hand turn onto 9N which is super fun. Pretty flat with some easy rollers.. I had to remind myself here to maintain a quick cadence on this section because if you grind a heavy gear anywhere on this course, you will pay for it later.. oh yes. We added in our own out and backs to get the mileage in but who knows what will happen for race day! Then a left hand turn onto 86 began my version of hell on earth. Up to this point I was like "WOOHOO this course is AWESOME.. I LOVE MY BICYCLE AND MY LIFE!!!" ...And then I started to climb. And climb and climb and climb and climb and I NEVER got to go down a hill AGAIN!! And then I hit the one section of 86 that I DO like which starts at some gorge thing (High Peaks Gorge maybe? I can't remember the name) which is still a climb but it's a long, not as steep climb which I LOVE. So I rocketed up that and then I hit the 5 legendary hills of IMLP which are named: Little Cherry, Big Cherry, Mama Bear, Baby Bear, Papa Bear. If you don't believe me you go to LP and look on the road and they are freaking spray painted with these names. Now these hills aren't THAT bad, however you've been climbing for probably a good 45 mins by now and the legs are most likely bushed. So I was spinning my little legs off in my easiest possible gear (P.S. this course loves the small chain ring) and slowly making my way up these hills. I was cursing my 12-25 cassette and lusting after my 12-27 cassette which was at home on my Zipps. :( At this point, Ultra Adam goes zipping past me (honestly I don't know how he was going so fast up the freaking hill) and I spent the next 5 minutes trying to catch up because I had been riding alone for the entire loop. I only caught him because he got stuck at a stop sign waiting for cars to go by.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #1: I thought I could climb hills well until I became acquainted with the last 11 miles of IMLP bike course.

So Adam and I rode into town and stopped at a Stewart's to refill bottles and found Mary, Don, and Ken there! The 5 of us set out for loop 2 (ummm.. I had to go around AGAIN?!?!?!). We lost Don (I still don't know if he was ahead of or behind us). Definitely noticed the false flat a lot more on loop 2 but my legs got a pretty good recovery on the descent and the nice stretch on 9N. Peer pressure caused Ken and I to skip the longer out and back. By the time we got done with the smaller out and back, Mary, Ken and myself were all hurting. We stopped at a gas station. Mary was pouring gallons of water on her head, dumping her nutrition, and putting Coke in her bottles. I chugged a bottle of Coke. Adam's like "I need sunscreen" because he's a freak who doesn't get tired. So we got back on our bikes and Adam took off up the hill.. and that was the last of him that we saw (and then he went around a THIRD FREAKING TIME!!).

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #2: I have witnessed a miracle - I've seen the Coca-Cola resurrection.

The Coke helped my tired legs out and I just spun my ass off up the hills. I took off at the fun part in Elba and all I could think was, "I need to make sure Mary doesn't think I suck at riding my bike" because she was behind me. So I spun spun spun! And we freaking made it! And I dragged a bunch of strangers up the hill who were riding my wheel! I thought it was Mary and Ken but it was 2 people that I had passed up the hill and they latched onto my draft!

I have never been so happy to get off a bike. Correction, my crotch has never been so happy to NOT be in contact with a bike saddle.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #3: I need a titanium reinforced crotch.

I immediately dunked my head in the pool. Mary was standing in the pool with Rae. I dragged myself out on my 30 minute T-run with Ken and Don. Then I got into the pool fully clothed. It was so cold and it felt amazing. I got sunburned like you would not believe on the bike. My sunburn is bordered on one side by where my tank top was and on the other side by where Rae's handprints are from a failed attempt at putting sunscreen on my shoulders. It looks ridiculous! I swam for 20 mins in the lake.. I swam until I couldn't ignore the scraping of my wetsuit against my fresh sunburn any longer. I ate my face off at dinner and Ben & Jerry's. I drank a beer for the first time in god knows how long and sat around talking with everyone. I saw Jackie drink scotch with Eddy (who rode his freaking mountain bike around the Lake Placid course and then up freaking Whiteface Mountain). Nuts. We are all nuts!! It was 99 f-ing degrees out! Everyone had a hard ride. It was a tough day!

I ran 2 hrs. It was totally normal. I rode 1 hr and could barely sit on my saddle. I drove home with Rae. I did not stop at McDonald's and I did not eat fries and 2 apple pies. I REALLY did not sleep at all and then I went to work (I am currently at work trying not to die). And I have been so excited to blog about this weekend because it was fun and horrible and hot and amazing!

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #4: Urine can turn some very odd shades of yellow.

I need to stop drinking Diet Mt. Dew (I am trying to stay awake!) and drink some friggin water.

Thing learned at Lake Placid Training Camp #5: My coach, my team, and my sport are amazing.

I stole this photo from Mary but I just love it. We were the stragglers that were still in Lake Placid for lunch at 1 pm.


  1. This post is awesome! As inspirational and fun as any race report...

    I have a newbie question for you: When you ride in your small gears on hills was sort of speed are you going? I just started cycling and am still trying to figure out the whole climbing hills thing - so I don't blow up on/after every hills I face. Thanks!

  2. I'm sure I'm going under 10 mph up some of the big hills.. honestly I don't even look at my speed because I just don't want to know how slowly I am going. the best way to get up a hill is to keep your cadence high because you're going to save your legs that way, and I also always try to completely pedal through the crest of the hill.. not get to the top and die!

  3. This is an awesome post - so much fun to read! Sounds like you had fun - but WOW also sounds hot! You are going to do awesome at IMLP! Good luck with the titanium crotch! ha

  4. Great report homeslice. Your incessant whining, meandering rhetoric, and adolescent humor has shown through like a shining beacon of hope in this sad, insipid triathlon blogosphere.

    I have no idea what I am talking about.

    p.s. Adam is still single.

  5. That's a GOOD weekend of work! How cold was Mirror Lake?

  6. I don't know what the temp was but it was a little chilly at first but once you got going, it felt GREAT!


I love creepy blog stalker friends! Don't be afraid to leave me a comment!