Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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30 Days until IMLP 2013

I went to Lake Placid over Memorial Day Weekend and picked up a few tips that will be good to know for race weekend – just a month away!

1. The road conditions on Rt. 73 heading out of LP towards Keene are a little rough, but the rest of the roads on the bike route are in good shape.

2. There’s a new hotel going up next door to the Lake Placid Brewery. It’s a Hampton Inn and is open for the race weekend.

3. Lake Placid Brewery now has a third floor! With a kids play room and a big room for private parties

4. Bluesberry Bakery on Main St will make things (like maple walnut scones) special order if you call ahead!

5. There’s a new grocery store in town. Hannaford is across the street from Price Chopper now.

6. Placid Planet Bicycle shop will be open 24 hours a day during race week

And, hopefully, we won’t see any of this weather we saw in May:

Snowy May Lake Placid





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Race Report: Monte Rio Triathlon

A quick last minute decision – race the Monte Rio Olympic Distance triathlon on June 2nd.  I signed up about two weeks before the race.  I figured, it would be good to get one race “practice” under my belt this season before Ironman, especially if I want to better at IMLP this year.  Plus, the race was a new addition from the team that runs Vineman – and lots of my friends from Golden Gate Triathlon Club (GGTC) were participating.

The race was sandwiched in between a perfect Northern California weekend.  On Saturday, my friends Ann, Heather, Rachel and I cycled near Monte Rio – tackling most of the Levi’s Grand Fondo Medio Route which includes a stretch of Highway 1 and a climb up Coleman Valley Road.  Post race on Sunday, we spent some time at a pool, then Stonestreet Winery and finished with dinner at Chalkboard – a new restaurant in Healdsburg (fresh crab and tater tots, yum!).

The race was great!  It was a perfect course for my strengths.  Here’s a quick recap.

Olympic Distance – Swim 1.1 miles, Bike 25 miles, and run 6.2 miles

Overall Time/Finish: 2:51/8th in age group

  • Swim – a bit uneventful.  It was longer than it should have been.  I’m glad I wore my wetsuit (it was the one thing I had been debating before the race).  And, I’m pretty sure that I hit my fellow GGTC member Erika several times – sorry Erika!  Time: 30 minutes
  • Bike: What a perfect course for my strengths!  Flat and fast!  From the moment I left the transition area to the time I returned, I felt like my goal of improving the bike was paying off!  Lots of bikes in transition when I left and not many when I returned.  I only recall a couple women passing me.  And yes, I do recall feeling a bit competitive!  Time: 1:17 (19 mph average)
  • Run: First, there was my rookie transition move – I had my shoelaces tied on my new shoes.  Oops.  It took the first mile to get into a groove on the run.  I felt confident running, but I definitely did not push myself.  I only seemed to remember to race when I was coming into the finisher’s chute and there was a woman in front of me struggling up the little steep hill before the finish line – “I’ve got this,” and passed her.  I think I spent most of the run looking for my GGTC teammates to say hi.  I almost feel like I forgot to run. Time: 55 minutes (8:53 pace)

The race definitely reinforced that my training is on track and I am getting stronger.  It helped me think about where to spend the next 5 weeks before IMLP too.  I’m excited to see if I can put a little more rigor into the run like I have on the bike.  The race also reminded me to push myself a little harder – if I’m swimming laps in the hotel pool after the race, I might not have pushed hard enough!


Motherlode Century

It’s funny what you willingly sign yourself up for sometimes.  Take the Motherlode Century bike ride, for example.  The website does little to hide the fact that it will be hilly.  And, by hilly, I mean close to 10,000 feet of climbing!  Seriously, that’s like hiking on your bike.  And, the ride was starting in Lotus, CA – that’s right along the South Fork American River in the foothills of Gold country outside Lake Tahoe – where it is HOT.

So, knowing full well, it would be a long, hot, hilly day, I signed up for the Motherlode, packed up my gear, and joined my friends to tackle this thing.

Motherlode century start

Ready to go!

The ride was not too bad to start.  And, we were enjoying the full support with aid stations every 20 miles or so.  Who can resist soda, jelly beans, and salty chips on a hot day?  Soda count: 1

It was around mile 40, that things got interesting.  First up – Mosquito hill.  And, yes, the hill was named appropriately.  At times I could see the mosquitos sitting on my arm snacking away, and I could do nothing to stop them.  Surely taking even one hand off the handle bars would have led to me falling over on the steep climb.

Next, we all wore out our brakes on the steepest descent down a one lane road that ended with crossing over a wooden bridge.  Oh, and then we had to climb back up, of course.

Mosquito Hill Bridge

Mosquito Hill Bridge

We were still in pretty good spirits, especially after the lunch stop.  Per Kelly’s advice, I loaded pickles on my sandwich.  Rumor has it they help prevent cramping.  Seemed like a good idea.  Soda count: 2.5

Mile 71 brought the most interesting and challenging element of the ride.  We cruised down a winding road only to find the road slowly breaking up – first gravel, then dirt, then a creek.  Yes, we had a water crossing.  The ride organizers had a volunteer there to serve as a bike valet.  CK got a lift, and we waded through the water and cooled off a little.  Did I mention it was in the 90’s by this time?

motherlode river crossing

motherlode bike valet











Leaving Weber Creek was one of the toughest, steepest climbs. From a complete standstill, you had to climb something so steep, all you could do was stand, pedal, and look at your front tire.

While that was challenging, it was the final climb up Salmon Falls that nearly did me in.  Totally exposed with the sun beating down on us from miles 75-87.  An extra aid station part way up the climb was essential for my soda intake.  Soda count: 3.5

The ride finally came to finish with an easy 4 miles back to the Earth Trek Campground.  Showers, the river, a band, a BBQ – perfect!

We recovered enough on Saturday for an 8 mile run near Folsom Lake.  Our spirits had improved enough that everyone was willing to participate in a little synchronized swimming lesson from yours truly.

post motherlode synchro