Every year, my triathlon club (HEAT) takes a trip to Lake Placid for a training camp. Many of the athletes are training specifically for Lake Placid, but some are just there for a good training weekend or to enjoy the comradeship of the group and the tons of other athletes out on the course.
I headed up Friday, June 21st, right after work. A friend, Paul, and I packed my car with our two bikes and all our gear and made the 4 hour drive up to Lake Placid.
|I am amazed at how much my Fit can... well, fit in it.|
Optional 4-5 mile run
1.2 mile swim
56 or 112 mile bike
2-3 mile run (or more if desired)
1.2 mile swim
13.1 mile run
We went to bed early. I was up by 5:45a or so thanks to my internal clock. I got some food and once Paul was up, we headed down for our 7am swim in Mirror Lake.
We had a group of maybe ten of us heading out. The water felt a little chilly at first (67 degrees), but was nearly perfect!! There were buoys in the water for the skulling races on Mirror Lake. Thankfully I wasn't the fastest swimmer in the group, so when the lead swimmer stopped and started treading water to tell everyone to turn, I took note of the location and headed back to shore.
Thankfully, the water was so incredibly calm and I ended up swimming faster back than I did on my way out. Bonus!! Then it was back to the hotel to change for the bike. Once ready, we met in the parking lot and headed out. Thankfully, we had Sonic Endurance on hand for training help and increasingly important as the day continued, our roaming aid station. Shaun from Sonic Endurance took our extra bags and we headed out.
THE BIKE COURSE
We had the option of making a single or double loop of the Placid bike course. As you head out of town, there are some decent rollers. Then you hit the major downhill going all the way to the turn in Keene. The downhill goes for approximately 7 miles at 25-50 mph. You can get some crazy speed down the hill!! Once you make the left in Keene, you have the closest to a flat section you'll get. There are some small rollers, but all the way from Keene (mile 15) to the end of the first out-and-back section (mile 36) is flat. Then you take a right and start climbing. The final 20ish miles are a net gain in elevation, but opposed to what some other athletes had me believing, there are plenty of flat or downhill breaks. I had expected 10-15 miles of continuous uphill. Part way back to town, there is another short out-and-back of roughly 2 miles each way. After that, you go through what is called Baby Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear; the final hills going back into town. I only recognized Papa Bear from the descriptions they gave me, so apparently they're not as bad as I had believed beforehand.
I made it back to town in roughly three hours. I tried my best to keep the first loop comfortable so that I didn't put myself in a position of hitting the wall on the second loop. So far, so good. I stopped with everyone else and got more fuel from Shaun before heading out again.
On the first loop, I had been taking a gel every 25 minutes and sporadically taking in my Perpetum and water. On the second loop, I took along my Coke and switched to my clear glasses as some storm clouds started darkening the sky.
Early on the second loop, the guys I was with took off, leaving me to try and pick up my pace. I tried compromising with my own desire to control the pace and ended up doing my best to go my own pace as it started to sprinkle and the number of athletes out on the course dropped. At this point, I started taking swigs of my Coke as my mind started wanting to give up on the ride. Happily, it worked and it pulled me back into it. This time down the crazy hill, I tried to go without my brakes; didn't work. I had to use them on the last couple of S-turns.
I caught back up with my buddies on the flat section, but due to the rain, they skipped the out-and-back and I was out on my own for the last ~32 miles. At the end of the first out-and-back, I was SOOOOOO glad to see Shaun drive by. I had about 1/4 of a bottle of water left and 20 miles of hills ahead of me.
Savior Moment #1
The final hills went well and I kept taking swigs of my Coke. I picked up that trick from Mirinda Carfrae hoping it would help my run. At this point, all I could tell was that it helped keep my mental game in check and tasted so good after over 5 hours of gels, water, and Perpetum.
I switched into my running shoes and headed out for an undetermined distance run. I headed out and went out the short out-and-back portion of the run course. I made it out, took a quick break while watching a photography session for a wedding (crazy things you'll see on course), and then headed back. On the way back, I passed a friend who looked like he was having some trouble. He helped me out on the bike, so I stopped and walked with him all the way back to his hotel. Once he left, I headed back out for more of a run. Overall, I clocked time for 2.64 miles and then did a little extra jogging/walking to warm down.
6:36 / mile
Official opinion on Coke - AWESOME!! That, or I paced my bike well enough to give me plenty of energy early in the run. Who knows how long I'd be able to hold that pace, but I felt great! Once showered and dressed, we headed to dinner.
With a much better habit of getting in my fuel on training and racing trips, I hadn't felt very hungry as we went to dinner. However, once the food was in front of us, I couldn't believe how much I ate! Three full plates of ribs, chicken, potatoes, and corn and I only started to feel full. Then it was time for much needed sleep!
Sunday I woke up at the same time and we headed down for a swim clinic prior to our regular swim. We worked on swimming around buoys, tips on drafting, exiting the water, and then stroke analysis. The cool part was that it was coached by Jeff Stuart, a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic swim team (the year we boycotted the Olympics), and the record holder for the 10-mile swim. This guy was a little crazy, but damn is he a good swimmer. Not only that, but he refuses to wear a wetsuit even down to 40 degree water. Wow!!
Here's a video that Paul took with his GoPro. It's a great look at what a swim start or even just the triathlon swim looks like. And that is me in the red/orange cap ahead of Paul.
Then out for another 1.2 mile swim. This time, I was the fastest swimmer, so when I got to the turn around point, I stopped and waited for the other swimmers. Funny, around 3/4 the way out, I looked back and they were a buoy or two behind me. When I got to the turn around, there was no one. After a minute or two, our swim clinic coach came out and swam back with me.
When I got back, everyone else had turned around where they assumed the turn around was. That at least explained why I was left alone out there. I thought I was the only one with enough energy to make it and I had started by wondering if I should cut out early. Haha
Finally, we went back and changed for the run. One loop of the 13.1 mile course.
THE RUN COURSE
You head out from the oval down the hill and past the horse barns to Riverside Rd. That whole stretch is flat to downhill. Riverside Rd. is a roughly 3.5 mile out-and-back with rolling hills. Then you turn back towards town, climb two major hills, take a right at the oval (yes, you go past the finish line... 3 times!!), do a short 1 mile, flat out-and-back, and then repeat.
|And we're off!!|
Either way, I made it back to town and just as I'm half way up the final hill, Shaun comes by.
Savior Moment #2
He yells out the window "You good?" In my head, I'm thinking "How in the world do I look good?! The last fill up I had was at least 3-4 miles ago. I'm horrible!" All I got out was "WATER!" I refilled my handheld, took a swig of gatorade and was off. I had previously decided that the extra turn around was out of the question, but now replenished, I couldn't say no. Unfortunately, I was racing the clock on this one. We had a late check out at the hotel for 12:00pm. After finishing and checking back in with Shaun, I got to the hotel at 11:45am. 15 minutes to shower, pack, and get out!
8:38 / mile
"How did you go nearly 15 miles on a 13.1 mile course?" My thoughts exactly! We had an extra 0.5 mile at the start I knew, but I found out that the marked turn around on Riverside Rd. was well past where it should be. Thanks!! So I could have cut out the last 2 mile out and back and been perfect.
Overall, the weekend was well worth the trip. I got first hand experience with the course, made my own conclusions on how to attack it, got some tests in with the Coke, got a lot of miles in, and had fun with some triathlete friends.
I'll be back next year!!
1. Have you ever been to a training camp?
This was my first experience and a great one!
2. Do you take trips to check out the race course you're racing on?
Either way, what's the furthest you'd go to check out a course? 1 hour away, 3 hours?...
3. I know many of us have used the Coke on the run course, but has anyone had experience with Coke on the bike?
Dream. Believe. Achieve.