Sunday, May 25, 2008

For Shiz? Another Hill? You have to be kidding.

Go to this link - and check out the comparison of the Lake Placid bike course compared to any of the other IMs. Seriously, my hat goes off to anyone who can pull off LP. The bike course is B-R-U-T-A-L. But I made it home alive, so that is saying something.
I left work on Thursday around 1 and headed to Rochester to stay the night with my friend Kim who was taking me along on her coach's training camp. Kim is training for GCT, but her coach has many people under her wing who are training for LP. Kim and I took a nice 3 mile run and then headed to dinner, where we had some dessert! As you can tell by Kim's big smile, it was really good! If you're ever in Rochester, check out Tasteology. Anyway, we hit the hay after dinner and got up bright and early on Friday to head to LP. It was about a 5 hour drive. Part highway, part backroads. Once you get into the mountains, the roads are very windy and the towns you drive through are very poverty stricken. The whole way to LP, it was overcast and sprinkled. Every time the sun would come out, we would get excited and hope that the rain was going to stop! We arrived in Lake Placid and the first order of business was to find out hotel. We knew it was called Apline Lodge and we had the address. We drove through town (which is mostly 1 cute street of stores), but couldn't find the address. We saw one hotel that was called Alpine Air, but we were just sure it wasn't our hotel b/c it looked like this:

But we were wrong, that was out hotel! It was nasty, but it would suffice. Just wish the pillow cases had been a little cleaner and the towels a little thicker than a paper towel. After checking into the hotel we decided to go into town and do a little sight seeing. We went into a few stores and drove around mirror lake. It had stoped raining, but was only like 58 degrees out, there were actually about 20 crazies practicing running in and out of the water. It was so cold! Around 3 we decided to get back to the hotel and see if everyone else was there yet. About 12 people came who were training with Kim's coach. We were all supposed to ride 2 hours, but at this point it was pouring. The coach had tasked us with riding the last 11 miles of the course. For those of you who don't know the IM course in 2 loops of 23 miles. The loops is a large loop with one 14 mile dog leg off of it. If you google a map you can see it. The last 11 miles are a huge climb uphill, we were to go down it and then turn around and come back up. I was scared...shitless. But I didn't want to be the only one not riding, so I decided to give it a try. I really kind of wish I hadn't now, but I made it. Like I said it was pouring and we had to ride down a huge descent. I suck at descents, they scare me, I don't like to go fast. I am getting sweaty now just thinking about the ride. So, it's rainy, it's downhill and cars are flying past us and you just have a little shoulder to ride in (see pic). It was just awful. I was holding on to my brakes so tight that when I got to the bottom my hands were cramped like lobster claws. The climb back up was a breeze compared to how scary it was coming down. By the time we climbed back up it had stopped raining, but there were still huge puddles and lots of traffic flying by. We ended up riding about 28 miles that night b/c we did go down to the dogleg and turn around and rode from our hotel. I could have kissed the nasty ass carpet in our room I was so glad to be back home. My feet were numb. Literally I couldn't feel them when I touched them. The whole experience was one of those that makes you stronger, but I really truly feel like I easily could have died on that ride! After that we got cleaned up and went to dinner. By the time we got back to our room at 9 we were ready to crash.

We got up on Saturday morning at 6:30 to be ready to ride at 8. After my experience on Fri I was pretty nervous as the coach had told us about the 9KM descent at the start of the course. Climbing up hills doesn't bother me, going down them does. I think you could easily get up to 50 miles per hour going down the 9KM descent. I got up to 30 and that was all I could handle. It's 3 big downhills and you get slight reprieves in between of flat road. I lost my pack on this descent and just settled into the fact that I was going to be alone that day. I was okay with it. It's something we all need to learn to do. THere were probably 500 people in town biking, so there were bikers everywhere. After I got through this descent, the rest of the course was hard, but that was the worst for me. I got done in about 4 hours. I don't know exactly b/c I kept forgetting to start my garmin after I stopped it. I stopped to help one lady who fell, I stopped at the A&W for some rootbeer and to pee (the best stop of my life) and I stopped b/c I fell down once when my tire got stuck in some silt from the rain, thank god that was on the dogleg and not on a busy hill. So, I am happy with my time. I managed to keep it between 17-20 mph on the flat, got close to 30 on the downhills and stayed between 8-10 mph on the steep climbs. I saw 4 & 5 mphs here and there but they were short lived and I didn't get out of the saddle once! By the time I was done I was cussing out loud at the top. There are a few named hills at the end (the sames ones we descended the day before) little cherry, big cherry, momma bear, baby bear, pappa bear. I was cursing out the 3 bears and yelling F YEAH when I finally got to the top of pappa bear. I was so ready to be done, but still had to ride around the lake and get back to my motel. The ride was breathtaking. I can't even describe how beautiful this course is, or how challenging. I don't think I could have made it through another loop. Maybe in a year. I'd like to try the course again, but have to work on my descents for sure. The roads are wide, but I didn't find the drivers to be very courteous. I think that if I choose to do IM, this won't be the course for me. But I am so thankful I went and got to experience a piece of it. After our ride Kim and I met up at the hotel and went out for a 20 min run to make it a brick. I felt okay. My back was a little stiff, but my legs felt fine. My gut was feeling kind of knotted. I am working on figuring out what nutrition works for me and I tried Gatorade endurance and I think that was my problem. I've tried it before on runs and it's made me feel sick. But I drank a bottle of G2, ate 2 cliff Z bars, 2 GUs and had that small root beer. All in all I felt pretty good the entire ride. We got back from the run and got cleaned up and then went back out on the course and took these pictures. I would have loved to have driven the whole course and gotten more pics. Then we took naps and got dinner as a group.

This morning we got up at 7 and headed out for a run on the IM course. It has a few large hills, but is mostly flat. I managed to run 10.5 miles in 1:45. Considering I haven't run over 6 miles in 6 weeks, I was ecstatic. I felt tired and my stomach was still a little iffy, but I felt strong. From there we went back to the hotel and packed up and I drove the 9 hours home! I am exhausted so please excuse my bad spelling, grammer. Here are some more pics.


JenC said...

I'm so jealous! I love Lake Placid! I know that course so well. It is challenging, but not impossible.

Great training in da bank!

Dan Seifring said...

Great weekend of training Monica. Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

tracie said...

great job!!! i knew you would have a great time and rock LP! :)

allanjel said...

Way to Go overcoming your fear. I am soooooo glad to hear your running is coming along :) I think you are really going to surprise yourself this year with some stellar performances!!!

Trishie said...

Wow, that ride looks crazy --- great job this weekend, Mon!

triguyjt said...

monica....great great post...awesome pics..thanks god you didn't crash on those socalled effing hills..haha.

now that its past will make you so much stronger as an endurance athlete...

great job... will you spray yourself for lice??? jk

ramblings of a runnner said...

yes - lake placid is a gorgeous place - but not chaulk full of the best hotels. That is so awesome that you did that ride - i would have pooped my pants if i had been there - down hills are still SCARY!!!! Way to go!!

Tea said...

Those are beautiful pictures! What a strong rider you are. I am so impressed. I've seen that profile, and thankyewverymuch I think I'll skip USA.

Just Josh Funk said...

I LOVE when you post pictures. The lake looks beautiful and so do you. Looks like you girls had a fun, productive weekend. Way to go!

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distance runner attempting to run a marathon in every state, vegetarian foodie, mediocre triathlete, sucky swimmer, mommy to Harper, tea lover, coffee drinker, animal saver, hubby snuggler, race addict, full time working 31 year old living in cleveland
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Marathons so far

  • Sept 2012 - Corning, NY - TBD
  • April 2012 - Louisville, KY - TBD
  • Sept 2011 - Erie PA - 4:25
  • June 2011 - South Bend IN - 5 hrs+ (it was 98 degrees!)
  • Dec 2010 - Rehoboth Beach DE - 4:26:06
  • Nov 2010 - Huntington WV - 4:11:44
  • Oct 2009 - Towpath - Cleveland area OH - 4:30:35

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