Buckle up boys and girls it’s time for another Ironman race recap and you know it can be a long bumpy road. Everyone have their pillow and snacks? Good, then let’s go!
Lake Placid is a beautiful city and we were so excited to go back. Amy and I left Thursday morning and made it into town around 4pm. We tried to check into the hotel, but the room wasn’t ready yet, so we drove down main street and parked near the conference center where packet pick up was about to wrap up for the day and got myself checked into the race. I signed my life away on three different waivers, grabbed my race packet and walked over to the IM merch tent to pick up the Ironman backpack (obviously the only reason we sign up for these races). The backpack from my ’13 and ’14 IMs were somewhat disappointing in their quality, but this year it seems IM stepped their backpack game up significantly! I stuck all my stuff into my new backpack, walked around the merch tent a little looking at what they had and by that time, our room was ready for us to check into.
We were staying at the waterfront property of High Peaks Resort which we had stayed in previously on a training trip. As it was going to be close to our first wedding anniversary, Amy and I decided to opt for the slightly larger King suite which had a jacuzzi tub and a balcony overlooking Mirror Lake. The room was absolutely beautiful and we were able to jump right off the dock by our room and were no more than a few hundred yards from the swim course. The next few days were spent doing a little course recon, shaking off the cobwebs and making sure everything was fresh. Saturday, my coach arrived and we went over our plan for the race, packed up my gear bags and headed down to transition to drop off my bike. I took a few walks through transition visualizing myself on race day coming in from the swim, going out on the bike, coming in from the bike, and going out to the run.
Leaving transition and my bike behind was the first time I said to myself “it’s on!” We made our way back to the room, talked some more game plan and then made our way to an early dinner. I had the same dinner I ate last year, a NY strip steak with mashed potatoes, and my secret pre-race drink, Makers on the rocks. Dinner was relatively uneventful until we began to hear some whispers from the surrounding tables and then saw some people getting up from their tables and walking toward the street. We looked up and saw smoke rising from somewhere a little ways down main street, and heard that there was a building fire about a half mile away from the restaurant. If you’ve ever been to placid, the main stretch of town can’t be more much more than a mile from end to end, so the whole town knew about the fire and word spread quickly.
Placid has a volunteer fire department, so it seemed like the response to the call took a little longer than we expected, but we son saw fire trucks headed up main street past us. All of the surrounding town fire departments were called in for assistance, and soon there was an all out assault on the blaze. Rumors were flying around about the fire spreading to multiple buildings, but I don’t know for sure whether or not that was true. The fire continued to burn until well past 10pm after having started sometime around 6. Two hotels in the vicinity of the fire were evacuated because of smoke filling the hallways and many didn’t have water pressure. The fire was still burning when I tried to get to sleep, but struggled to get to sleep. The last thing I saw on Facebook was that due to the fire, the swim leg of the race was in jeopardy as there was runoff of water and potentially ash and chemicals into Mirror Lake from the fire fighting effort.
The alarm in the morning rang about 3:40 and it was really easy to get up and out of bed. I got dressed, made myself a PB&J sandwich and let Amy and coach Nate slowly stir on their own. We left the room a few minutes before 5 and walked to drop off my special needs bags, get body marked, make final adjustments to my gear bags and bike and hope for some good news about the swim. To my delight, the town and board of environmental safety cleared the lake for the swim, and the race would go on as scheduled. Yippee!!