I made a pact with myself this weekend….. to not train on the Ironman Lake Placid course. It’s not that I don’t love the course… I LOVE the course. But I have been riding it 2-3 times a year since 2002 (when you were in high school). I did that because I didn’t really know anything else around here, and I liked to be in the thrill of the action, especially during Ironman week.
Lake Placid has a really special place in my heart. Ironman Lake Placid is what ultimately brought me here so many years ago. But after a while, you start to look beyond the beaten path and you start to understand that there is so much here that you have never really experienced. It took me a really long time.
During Ironman week we have come to stay out of Lake Placid, believe it or not. The hustle and bustle of Ironman…. after all this time has worn off on me. Each year I understand the viewpoint of the locals and how they feel. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the race, I love everything about it. We are on course as our athletes race it coaching and cheering…. but aside from race day…. I will let the nostalgia of the Ironman experience rest with those who haven’t experienced it before.
This year we found an awesome studio apartment to rent for a week in Saranac Lake. The family we are renting from owns a coffee shop (hello! destiny!!! incredible coffee and people!), and I have done nothing except explore. It also helps that I have a super Adirondack resource (thank you AMY!). I am on new bike routes that wind around lakes and take me away from the hub that gets so crowded. Interesting observation: motorists treat you differently here on a road bike. Truly, they do.
We have been SUP’ing and swimming in a few different lakes, but have found the best vibe at Lake Colby. There are few motorized (I haven’t seen any) motorized boats and the water is slightly more rough, which I like. Luc continues to master his SUP skills and yesterday we realized that Curt and I can keep up with him (for now) as we swim! I can’t even begin to convey how amazing this is. During Ironman week our traditional Mirror Lake is crazy crowded, so this has been great.
For cycling on the road, I found several different routes right off this website, the roads are good quality, the traffic is low, and the hills are amazing. Not to mention the scenery.
Sadly, I have never done much mountain biking while up here, and I confess, it’s because I am typically training for a triathlon and fear injury. Truthfully, road cycling is more dangerous than mountain biking, I can promise you that. So we loaded up the mountain bikes and we hit some trails.
For a relatively easy trail, but one with different terrain, you can hit the Bloomingdale Bog, which runs about 10 miles point to point. Luc traditionally has been comfortable on crushed stone trails on his mountain bike, and on the Bog he realized he can in fact roll over big rocks, roots, ride through sand. It was the perfect ah-HA moment for him. Experiencing those moments on a bike, on a SUP board, they are priceless.
And he told us we were cool parents. YEAH!
I wish I would properly convey what a big deal this was for him. I have been hoping there would be a day he would show interest in actual mountain biking, and on the Bog… HE DID. Our hosts also are avid cyclists and mountain bikers and pointed out to us that we have not one but TWO awesome mountain bike parks right near where we are staying. Dewey Mountain and Mt. Pisgah are literally right here, so off we go to their trails today! I love dirt and my mountain biking skills are adequate… just because I haven’t put the trail time in. What a perfect opportunity to do exactly that. A little road bike in the morning, a little trail in the midmorning. Perfect.
The running? Same. Tons of trails and routes that wind me around things I have never taken the time to pay attention to. Shame on me, but I am making up for all of that now.
And that…. is the whole thing I am learning. Because you are never too young or too old to stop and look around. And change, and change again. There is so much to do and to be seen in this world, hell right here in the Adirondacks. Had I always had this appreciation I fear I might not appreciate it as I do right this minute, and I would not trade one moment of my journey to have seen it sooner. This is happening as it should happen, and I am open and willing for the whole experience.
On Sunday we focus on what we came here to do, support our incredible Valor Triathlon Project athletes as they complete a journey that began a year ago. There is nothing in the world like finishing your first 140.6, just as there is nothing like finishing your first 5k, or sprint triathlon. Today we meet with each of them and I get to see the look on their faces as they prepare to take on one of the biggest challenges of their lives.
The cool thing is this: they are ready and I know they are. They have put in the work, and the recovery. The awesome thing about being the coach…. I know the end of their story. It has a lot to do with a finish line.
We can’t wait!