Ironman Lake Placid remains one of my favorite races, however only doing the event once, in 1999, the venue, which is oriented around the hub of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics motivates one to perform at a higher level.  The course is scenic, with abundant pine trees and creeks,  and the ski jumps of a previous era, but is also a tough course.  Two loops of a hilly bike route and two loops of a run course very much like IMCDA.  If you want to try the course in 2009, and you have yet to register, fugeddaboudit.  The race was on July 20th and is now closed to entry.  Following the lead of IM Canada, IM Lake Placid now only allows on-site registration.  The world of Ironman racing continues to get more competitive and yet at the same time less appealing due to the additional pressures of limited resources and crowded conditions.  An example is the LP swim start, 2500 bodies launched from a beach for a two loop swim, interrupted by a short beach run.  2500 people with a mean height of 6 feet yields a stream of single file, drafting swimmers that is about 2.8 miles long.  Maybe a three mile swim would reduce congestion.  Anyway, a lone representative from the SB area completed IMLP, David Piper's results are listed below, along with an excerpt from  Note that Petr Vabrousek picked up a second in the pro mens race. Petr is an interesting study since he rarely trains outside of doing Ironman races in the season and crosss country skiing in the winter.   VB


914 12:23:28 PIPER DAVID M35-39 189/387


In conditions not unlike those seen last week at the Iron distance races in Europe, over 2500 people started at the 10th Anniversary Ironman Lake Placid in upstate New York. In fact, conditions here may have been a bit worse, as the rain began before the race started and never seemed to let up all day.


The weather didn't seem to phase Hillary Biscay one bit; after racing last week in Roth (earning a PR of 9:24) Biscay led out of Mirror Lake with her time of 51:02. Not only did she maintain her lead out of T1, she increased it over nearly all of her competitors once on the bike. Following her out of the swim were Ali Fitch and Caitlin Shea-Kenney (at 52:34 and 53:43 respectively). Her main competition at the time, Kim Loeffler, exited the water nearly 12 minutes back. Loeffler, who's trained on this course several times, was one of the favorites for the win today, and she steadily gained some time back over the bike. Biscay was first into T2 with her 5:30:22 bike, and Loeffler decreased her deficit to 7:30 with her bike time of 5:26:15. Ali Fitch, unfortunately, crashed out of contention and had to painfully end her day.

As soon as her feet hit the ground, Loeffler started running down Biscay slowly but surely. Little did either of them know that an even more fleet-footed competitor was behind them. Shea-Kenney exited T2 nearly 24 minutes back from Biscay. By 10.5 miles Shea-Kenney whittled the deficit down to 13:45; by 16 miles it was down to around 7 minutes. Around mile 22, Loeffler passed Biscay who had led for the entire day until this point. But Loeffler's lead was short lived. Shea-Kenney turned on the after burners, and blew by Loeffler with less than 3 miles to go. She won today's race with a record 2:59:55 marathon (breaking Heather Fuhr's 3:01 record) with her time of 9:51:00. Loeffler nabbed second in 9:54:55 and Biscay held out for third in 9:58:45. Oh yeah, and Shea-Kenney got married two days earlier to pro triathlete Tim Snow (who placed 10th here today). What a way to celebrate!


Francisco Pontano very nearly would have led from gun to finish today, but the great cyclist Bjorn Andersson refused to make things easy for him. Pontano led out of the water in 46:07; he was followed by James Bonney, Mathias Hecht and Bjorn Andersson. Very quickly on the bike, it became a two man race between Pontano and Andersson through the dumping rain. Once Andersson, notably riding a Cervelo and wearing K-Swiss apparel, passed Pontano, most spectators expected that to be it for the bike race. But Pontano never let Andersson ride away, even reclaiming the lead at various points. Although Andersson was first into T2 with his bike time of 4:42, Pontano was a mere 3 seconds behind him. They exited T2 nearly side-by-side, but it didn't take much time for Pontano to build a gap on the Swede. And that gap just continued to grow. Pontano ran uncontested to the win in 8:43:32. Andersson unfortunately dropped out of contention during the marathon. Perhaps one of the other great stories of the day became Petr Vabrousek's run up to second place (2:58 marathon) - having placed 6th at Ironman Switzerland just last weekend; he finished today in 8:55:20. Mathias Hecht rounded out the podium at 8:56:33.

Ironman Lake Placid
July 20, 2008


2. KIM LOEFFLER 9:54:55
7. JACQUI GORDON 10:31:53
9. MIMI BOYLE 10:33:57
10. NATALIE GROVES 10:36:45


3. MATHIAS HECHT 8:56:33
5. WILL RONCO 9:02:32
7. DAVE HARJU 9:11:58
8. ALEX MCDONALD 9:13:04
9. PATRICK EVOE 9:14:18
10. TIM SNOW 9:18:38