After spending a relaxing recovery week in western North Carolina I figured it was time for me to share some thoughts on my recent race at Ford Ironman Lake Placid. Overall, I was pleased with my performance. It is always nice to improve your placing throughout a long day of racing, but I was a little disappointed in how my run faded over the final 10 miles. My travel to scenic Lake Placid was seamless with a brief stop in Detroit. This allowed me to get in a few quality training sessions in the humidity before making the 10.5 hour drive over to Lake Placid.
Swim (58:17) - It was a non-wetsuit affair for the professionals as the water temps hovered around 74 degrees F in Mirror Lake. In the past, this may have thrown me for a loop, but my swim has been progressing well over the last several weeks and it didn't create any anxiety or distress on race morning. I had a fairly clean start and positioned myself in a good sized group which included Petr Vabrousek (Czech Republic), Mike Neill (Canada), Caitlin & Tim Snow (USA) and fellow Coloradan Craig Howie. We went through the first loop in 28 minutes and change which is about what I expected. On the backside of the rectangular course things started to get tricky as we caught the slower age groupers. I was able to navigate the crowded course well and avoid any errant kicks to the face from a breaststroke swimming athlete. I exited the water just behind Vabrousek, Neill and Snow.
Bike (5:13) - My goals for the bike included being patient, riding smart, fueling effectively and maintaining contact with the field. The previous two years I really faded over the second loop of the bike I was determined to ride better this year. Making my way down the long descent from Lake Placid to Keene and then onto the flats heading towards the turnaround in Jay I was feeling great. My fueling was spot-on and the effort felt comfortably controlled. I continued my steady pace and was able to determine I was riding in sixteenth place while maintaining contact with Howie and Snow. On the long climb from Willimington to Lake Placid, including the famed hills affectionately called Big Cherry, Little Cherry, Mama Bear, Baby Bear & Pappa Bear, Snow and I worked together. We were both thinking of the potential for carnage in the later stages of the bike and seemed content on maintaining our controlled effort. The second loop proved to be fairly solid for me as I continued my fueling. I entered T2 on the heels of Snow in 12th place.
Run (2:58) - Exiting T2 I was focused on running smooth, fluid and relaxed. I could hear Dave Scott chirping at me, "Relax your right shoulder Brad!" as he often does during our weekly run group. My legs felt great with controlled breathing. I was 18 minutes down from 5th place which was the final money slot. By mile four I was running side-by-side with Snow. He and I had the two fastest run splits from last year and upon reaching the turnaround on Rive Road we were able to take note of how the guys up the road were doing. I made a slight surge around the eight mile mark to see if I could get some distance between me and the fleet-footed Snow, but to no avail. As we approached town the gap between us and 5th place was now down to 9 minutes. As we ran through the special needs area, Snow found a gear which I did not have and he quickly opened up a gap. The snap I felt early in the run was now gone as I struggled over the next six miles back out to the far turn-around on River Road. I was trying to take in what I could to stay in the mix and fend off Matthew Sheeks who was running well behind me. Making one final pass of the Olympic Ski Jumping facility, I dug deep to run down Ian Mickelson in the late stages of the run. The crowds back in town were tremendous and carried me to my 6th place finish in 9:15.
I am very grateful for the encouragement of my family & friends leading up to and during the race. In addition, a heartfelt thanks to my sponsors for their continued support. A big congrats to my teammate, Ben Hoffman, for his win. The guy is tearing it up this season.
Thanks for reading & keep it smooth...