Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lake Placid 2011

Janda and I headed up to Lake Placid this past weekend to have our first mini-vacation of the summer, which of course doubled as triathlon spectating. Janda had a couple of athletes racing, so on Saturday morning, we took off on a 5.5 hour roadtrip.

We headed north to New Hampshire and then west into Vermont. Once we got into Vermont, we were on country highways more so than true highways. That, of course, means that the ride is a little slower and you can enjoy the scenery. The drive is beautiful, right through a national forest, where we stopped for a little lunch picnic.

Janda at our picnic spot

Not too far past our picnic spot, we came to the ferry that would bring us to New York. For some time now, there has been a new bridge under construction, so there is a free ferry to get people across Lake Champlain to New York. We have never had much of a wait and it's actually a fun break during the very long trip. The bridge is almost done, so if we ever come to Lake Placid again, we won't get the free ferry ride.

The view from the car window heading towards the ferry

Just like France- hay bales everywhere

The bridge is almost done

After the ferry, there was only about 2 hours to go, and then before we knew it we could see the Olympic ski jumps. We were lucky enough to be able to stay with the family of one of Janda's athletes, who happen to live in Lake Placid, which is always 100 times better than a hotel. We arrived mid afternoon, Janda had time to get in a mountain bike ride and then we had an really great dinner with everybody. I learned a new way to prepare fish on grill that we'll have to try out next time we get some fresh fish. Of course, we all had an early wake up call to go see/do Ironman, so it was off to bed shortly after dinner.

The next morning Janda and I rode our bikes down to the start to see everybody off. This year's race was a little complicated due to the high water temperature, so we didn't know exactly what to expect coming out of the swim. Adam came out just about right where Janda thought he would, but Kat had a huge issue in the swim- due to some manhandling done by an aggressive competitor. As always with Ironman- things don't go exactly according to plan.

The start

Janda and I headed out onto the bike course to see what would happen next. We managed to see both athletes go by on their way to the second loop. Luckily both Adam and Kat looked awesome as they flew by us on the bike. All we could do now was to wait! We grabbed some lunch from town and headed out onto the run course. We found a nice, shady spot about 3 miles in and settled down to wait. We arrived about a half an hour before the race leader came through, so we had time to snap a few pictures of the ski jumps and have our picnic

Where the Olympic flame was

Ski jumps

Our picnic spot on the course

As we were watching the pros come trickling by, we met the brother of the owner of the property where we were. He was a cool guy and while we waited we helped him do a little brush removal. It was the least we could do since he was being so nice about us picnic-ing on his front lawn. We met his older brother a few minutes later and watched the race with them for a while. Then they went back to the house to get out of the sun.

As we were waiting the brothers came back over to us and dangled a medal in front of me. I took it and looked at it in disbelief. I showed it to Janda who also couldn't believe what he saw. At first, before I saw it up close, I thought that it was a finisher's medal. Then when I saw it I thought that it was a fake medal, but it was pretty heavy for its size. It was an Olympic gold medal in rowing from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics! The guy said to Janda, "Here, hold onto this for a while and show it to your athletes for inspiration." So that's was Janda did. Pretty cool!

A real Olympic gold medal

After we saw Adam and Kat go by, we headed back to the finish line, which was quite a ride given all the road closures. We finally got there about 2 minutes before Adam finished. Then we linked up with two of Janda's athletes who were spectating and waited with them. Kat came through not too long thereafter, in a PR time no less!

Ironman days are long days, so we hit the sack not too long after the finish and got up early-ish the next morning to head home. Even though it's the same amount of time, the ride home always seems long! We got home around 3 and had the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax after the long weekend.

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