With my family vacation winding down I figured it was about time for me to share a few thoughts from last weekend's IMUSA.
This is perhaps the most scenic North American race I have experienced. The Adriondack Mountains are absolutely beautiful and the town of Lake Placid has a great history of playing host to large sporting events. The support from locals combined with the enthusiastic crowds make this one of my top five events.
Swim (55:42) - With limited swimming two weeks prior to the race due to a strained serratus muscle I was a bit uncertain how this portion of my day would go. I had a good start and found myself in a small group which included Jason Shortis, Christian Brader, Peter Vabrousek, Dave Harju and Sam MacGlone. The swim in Lake Placid is pretty straight forward with it's rectangle shape and two loops. As our group began to run into traffic on the second loop I was determined to stay on the feet of Jason as he navigated through the masses. Our pace was comfortable and I felt relaxed and smooth.
Bike (5:20) - Exiting T1 and into the early miles of the bike leaving town I was in good company with several of the race favorites. Within the first two miles I lost one of my bottles and had to make some adjustments to my fueling plan which would cause me some stomach issues on the second loop of the bike. Unlike last year's downpour, we had good weather and I was able to maximize the long descent into Keene before making the sharp left-hand turn on the flatest part of the course. Making the turn I reminded myself to be patient despite the nice tailwind. My legs felt great and I was maintaining a good mental focus. Through the first loop I rode mostly on my own and was spot on my target time as I made my way past the famed hockey arena to start the second loop. Once again I lost some of my nutrition as a gel flask slipped out of my race kit after going over some rough road on a steep downhill just outside the transition. Around the 85 mile mark I started to have stomach issues and felt downright awful. Burping, belching & wanting to puke was not something I had experienced during a race. As three of my buddies from Boulder (Curt, Billy & Dennis) passed and rode away from me within a 10 mile stretch I knew it was going to be a long, tough climb back to town. I tried to keep my mind in a good place, but admitedly had thoughts of simply calling it a day.
Run (2:54) - My legs felt pretty good on the early stages of the run. Coming off the bike in 17th I knew I had a huge task if I wanted to make the top 10 after giving up so much time on the bike. Running out of town I felt comfortable & relaxed with my focus on fueling & hydrating through the aid stations. I ran down a couple of guys through the first two miles and caught my buddy Dennis on the out & back section of the course. He was struggling a bit as we exchanged words of encouragement. Making my way back to town the crowds were great with their encouragement and I was beginning to make some ground on the fellas in front of me. From miles 16-20 I was in a really bad place and found myself in IM survival mode as my paced slowed to what seemed like a crawl. At this point I was in 8th place and giving all I could to hold on to the final money spot. My friend Carrie gave me a big lift as she told me she was praying I had strong finish when I passed her on scenic River Road.
Crossing the line in 9:15 and 8th overall I was grateful, humble and glad to be done with my day. I was able to hold things together fairly well despite the stomach crud. A big congrats to my friends Billy & Curt for their strong finishes in 7th & 9th overall.
I thank God for the gift of good health and the support from family, friends & sponsors.
Keep it smooth...