Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lake Placid - The Vacation (Not Really)

There are plenty of things to do while visiting Lake Placid although we didn't do a ton of "vacationing." We did however make our way up to Whiteface Mountain. We took a gondola ride as well as traveled to the very tippy top of the mountain. When you drive to the top of the mountain there is actually a castle at the top! I had no idea!
The road was actually constructed during the depression to help stimulate the economy and create work for people and is called the Veterans Memorial Highway, in memory of the veterans of WWI. Franklin Roosevelt was involved with the creation of the highway which began in 1929. The road took approximately 4 years to complete.
The castle on top was constructed from the granite they had taken from the highway construction and there is actually an elevator inside to take you to the top OR you can take a trail to the top if you're not afraid of heights. (I took the elevator!)

The only other thing we got to check out was the Olympic Hockey Arena. Mark is an avid hockey fan so it was important that we visit. While he did spend some time there by himself while I was putting my gear together I got an opportunity to peak in there and snap some photos after I dropped my bike and gear off.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lake Placid - The Town

Before I jump right into my review of Ironman Lake Placid - let me please say a few things about this town and the people which live there. These people were amazing. They made us feel welcomed and made us feel as if we were home.
The picture is actually professional triathletes Dave Harju and Marie Danais. I met them on their way to the Athletes Village from obtaining their morning coffee. They were extremely nice and actually seemed quite surprised that someone wanted to take their photo!
The town makes use of every inch of space I swear. It is crammed to capacity of restaurants, hotels, motels, condos, stores and parking space. It is very tight quarters, which makes parking a hot commodity.
We stayed at the Best Western Golden Arrow. We didn't have one of the standard rooms, rather we had a condo off of mainstreet. The main hotel overlooks Mirror Lake and from the street you can look through the picture windows to the lake. It was a nice place.

We ate at Charlie's the night before the big day, which is the restaurant affiliated with the Golden Arrow.
When I went for a practice swim, I took some time to take in the views. It was then that I realized that while on Main Street there are several stores between our Condo and the actual hotel, in the back - the hotel extended all the way to our condo and then some!

Lake Placid - The Drive

We left the Twin Cities around 5:15 A.M. We finally decided to rest our heads in Buffalo, New York. It was approximately a 16 hour day filled with a ton of rain between Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. Needless to say Mark was a little testy when we decided to stop as he had taken it upon himself to drive this entire distance. Let me go on record by saying I DID offer to drive several times!
Lucky for us we had a list of potential hotels in a varied number of cities to call ahead to reserve a room. We called several places in Buffalo and after SEVERAL attempts, found a place which had one hotel room left. We took it.
As we were approaching the stop light where we would turn right into the parking lot a car abruptly cut us off. After a few choice words out of Mark's mouth we followed them into the parking lot of the hotel. I quickly tried to get out of the vehicle so I wouldn't have to stand behind whomever had pulled in. I saw a group of women unload like clowns out of the vehicle which had cut us off. I ended up following them into the hotel. Crap. I was pissed.
As I stood behind the group of rude ladies, tapping my foot quite feverishly, I heard one of the ladies tell the clerk, "yes - I would like to reserve a room for the night." My ears raised like Scooby Doo - WHAAAT? You don't have a reservation? HA! Step aside rude ladies..... That's Karma for you.

The next day we got on the road around 9:00 AM. Once we reached the outskirts of Watertown, New York we hit the winding roads on Route 3/3A which gave us some breathtaking views of mountains, streams and lakes. At one point we stopped briefly in Saranac and met a couple of guys who were driving an SUV completely filled with bikes. 16 bikes total. There were several on top, several on the back and four in side. They were driving from North Carolina while the rest of their group flew. What nice guys! Too bad I didn't get photos. We didn't arrive in Lake Placid until 3:30 and man were we tired....but not too tired to scope out the town. The town makes use of every inch of space I swear. It is crammed to capacity of restaurants, hotels, motels, condos, stores and parking space. It is very tight quarters, which makes parking a hot commodity. The people here were extremely nice. They made us feel very welcomed and made us feel as if we were home. I instantly feel in love with Lake Placid.

Lake Minnewashta Triathlon Camp

How long it's been since I've posted. It's shameful! Anyway - the month leading up to Lake Placid I was taking care of some unfinished business and having some well needed fun.

After the Fourth of July, a couple of my friends brought in Paul Huddle and Paula Newby Fraser for a triathlon camp held on Lake Minnewashta. I did this same camp last year and it was a blast. Paul is extremely funny and I think the whole group appreciated his direct and no-nonsense approach to the sport. This year he brought his wife and we had an equally fun time. It was great to have such icons of the sport leading our small camp. It was quite an honor and I learned quite a bit.

Because I had gotten a hip injection the day prior I was not allowed to do any of the open water swimming. Because I decided to push myself and bike the following day, I found my injection site/hip quite painful the next few days. So - I also ended up missing out on the track workout. I was still able to listen in, take notes and take some photos for the team.