Other than the details of the race itself, how was the trip overall? Good, really good. the weather was beautiful, until Monday morning for the drive home. It was mostly sunny, but not ferociously hot like it could be. Race day was pleasantly cool in the morning, with more and more sunshine throughout the day, making it a wonderful bike ride. Cool again in the evening for the run. No rain affecting any day's activities.
I stayed in the village of Willmington, about 20 minutes drive North of Lake Placid. Hence my worst fear was having car trouble. Friday and Saturday have required activities, so if i'm stuck outside of town, i'm screwed. The motel was a typical room, but cost over $200. For what it cost, a few years ago I got a condo with room for 8 and a full kitchen in Mont Tremblant, so Lake Placid was definitely pricey. Both Madison and Chattanooga had cheap hotels nearby, so for the overall cost, Lake Placid has a problem that way.
My trip last year helped tremendously with navigating the city. I parked every day at the big field on WesValley Road, which is just a 10-minute walk over the hill to the race site at the Olympic oval. Sign-in on Friday was quick. They were concerned that I didn't have a companion to provide race support. This shouldn't be done alone. The drive in from Wilmington was fine on race morning. I even picked up a racer hitch-hiking after his ride dropped him way too far from the start line.
I needed shoes. I brought my typical 4 sets of footwear, but gave one to a hobo whom I picked up on the highway out of Toronto. I sometimes pick up a hitchhiker, who's usually a local without a car, needing a ride to the city. This guy was a professional drifter, making his way to the East coast, with plans on going out west later in the year. I found him on the on-ramp just east of Toronto, and brought him for the 3 hours to Cornwall where I cross the border. Noticing he was just wearing socks, I gave him the shoes off my feet. They were the burner shoes that I meant to wear down to swim start and abandon. when I unpacked, my training runners were missing. The hobo was admiring them, and we might have left them in the parking lot at the gas station, or perhaps he took them too. I don't know. That left me with my race runners, and my slippers. I tried wearing the slippers for the day, but they weren't good for walking, and my plantar fascitis began bothering me. I went to the local Marshalls and bought some cheap sneakers as walk-around shoes. I left them in my morning clothes bag and went barefoot like most everyone else, to swim start.
What Worked Well
- The motel in Wilmington. I considered staying at the cheap Motel in Malone where i stayed last year, an hour away. That's too far. Wilmington at 20 minutes was just far enough. I drove it quickly enough race morning, with no traffic issues when i got to the city. I was able to drive home that night without being too tired. I could even have eaten at McDonalds first, on the way out of town.
- Nutrition. I ate all 4 Clif Bars and all 4 Rice Krispies while on the bike. It was great having them open and ready to go. Fumbling to rip open the on-course food was no good in Wisconsin.
- Riding easy. I should have pushed harder, instead of cutting it so close to bike cut-off. I loved having so much energy coming out of the gate to the run.
- Lots of run training. Nothing like running to improve endurance and power. I should have taken a refresher swim, but overall I wasn't hurt by my lack of swim training. If anything, I could have done more strength training to get my shoulders and back ready for the swim and bike.
- Lists. I packed Wednesday night using a trip list and the triathlon list. Did i miss anything? I meant to bring my bottle belt, but went for a run Wednesday, and it didn't make it into the packed set of stuff. That's about it for the entire event. I loaded my bags Friday night using the triathlon list, and everything that i needed was there when i opened the bag.
- The hitch mounted bike carrier. A year ago I bought a SportRack carrier from a second-hand store. I had to refit the hitch adapter for my 2-inch hitch instead of the 1.5 inch that it came with, but overall has worked great. It is much easier to mount that the octopus rack which i used to use.
- Parking. The field on WesValley road was easy to get to, always had a spot for me, and was really close to the event area.
What didn't work
- No bike computer. My super-easy pace made it risky to make the cut-offs, so it was important to have the computer to measure my distance and figure out my estimated finish.
- My feet. Not sure it it was my shoe choice, or short taper. I could have gone with my customary Asics. Perhaps a set of new Nimbus 2000's, my favourites. I could have eased up further during the week or two before the race. Who knows if either would have helped.
- No breakfast. The McDonalds was closed at 5:30 in the morning. I didn't know where to go for my customary coffee and egg sandwich. All I ate was a granola bar. I drank a Mountain Dew, but that just helped give me that bloated feeling during the swim. With that little food, i had plenty of energy for the swim, but overall missed the coffee and eggs.
- Sleep. I had trouble sleeping the week before, including the evening of the race. I should have gone to the movies. That's worked well to calm my mind. Going to the mountain Saturday to meditate on the race just got me worked up.
- Mountain Dew. It was good to have in Chattanooga, but failed in Lake Placid. When I dumped out the Run Bag, it split the can open and pissed Mountain Dew all over my stuff. Half the can went down okay. At run special needs pickup, i was starting to feel nauceus already, and the fizzy pop was no good for that, so I poured out most of the can.
- Running. I probably could have gone back to my loping run after resting the ankle for a couple blocks. After an hour of walking, I just couldn't pick up the pace to run steady again.