Tag Archives: adirondacks

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 2-Acclimatization

The first day of our Winter trip usually consists more of acclimatization to our environment than activity. This year was no different. We started off the day heading into town for breakfast at the Breakfast Club. As we headed out the door, Denise noticed that it was raining out in addition to being extremely windy. We turned around and went back in to get our rain jackets. By the time we came back out again it had turned to snow. Heavy, blowing snow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As we wound our way down River Rd., the snow continued to fall. The road was re-covered again by the time we go out to RT. 86, a distance of 2-3 miles. By the time we got into town it was really dumping and it continued most of the morning. We had a nice breakfast and I switched from being plant-based to a vegetarian for a bit since I ordered a big stack of pancakes with maple syrup. Mmmmm. Not planning on making a habit of that, but for vacation I guess I can splurge a bit.

After breakfast we headed over to Placid Planet Bike Shop to drop our skate skis off to get waxed. Usually deciding what type of temperature wax to get for the week is a major decision. You need to assess the forecasted temperatures and conditions for the week and then decide which was will work best with those conditions. Sometimes you put one temperature wax on top of another so that the one wears off as the temps change. This year was fairly simple, since they were expecting single-digit to below zero temps most of the week. We chatted with the shop owner for a bit and did some window shopping.

We cruised around town a bit looking for any changes that happened since our last trip in July. We noticed that several places had moved buildings which seemed to be a trend. We stopped in the local Eastern Mountain Sports(EMS) shop to do some shopping there. There was a 30% North Face stuff going on so we had to check that out.


I picked up a EMS wind barrier top I had been looking at for the last year for 50% off. It was usually $80 and I just could never justify that price. $40 and its mine….sweet. It pays to be patient! We headed back to the apartment for a while and did some reading and relaxation. Vacation rules!
For lunch we headed down to Saranac Lake. We ate at the Blue Moon Cafe. I had their Nadaburger which was comprised of beans, grains and veggies which was awesome. I also had a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. I don’t usually have beer at lunch, but hey…I’m on vacation. Denise got the Curry Bowl, which is usually a dinner item, but they were out of the two things she ordered so they conceded on that. We stopped in the sporting goods/outdoor shop down the street after lunch and I scored a new pair of Madshus carbon skate ski poles for $40. I was pretty stoked about that. I was still using my first pair cheesy pair of steel poles and I think these will speed my up a ton. Yeah right. We checked out the local health food store and picked up a few items.


We made our way back to Lake Placid and picked up our freshly waxed

Tri Phone Bike Bento Box
Tri Phone Bike Bento Box

skiis. I also picked up a cool bike bento box that has a smartphone holder on the top. I thought this would be great for following mapped bike routes on my iPhone. You can actually use the phone through the cover. The other benefit is that that compartment is huge and I can fit a ton of grub in there. I would not use it for races, but for long Saturday rides it should be perfect.

We headed back to the apartment and did some more reading and napping a little. Shopping and eating wear me out. 🙂 The snow had continued to fall off and on throughout the afternoon. The temperatures continued to fall during the day. It was 36 deg F when we left the apartment in the morning and it was around 9 deg F when I went to bed. We ended up staying in for dinner since we weren’t all that hungry when dinner time rolled around. Give it hell tomorrow I guess.


Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 1-The Long Haul North

Yuki Hides in the Covers
While packing for our Winter Vacation Yuki hides under the covers.

The bike racks were removed from the top of the CR-V and the ski box replaced them. I then loaded up the gear and a few items of clothing, funny how there is more gear-related items packed than regular clothing, and we are on our way again to our annual winter pilgrimage to Lake Placid. We have been making this winter trip now for over 10 years and it never gets old. The week leading up to this trip had wiped out much of the mass of snow they had had previously and reports from Mt. Van Hoevenberg indicated closing of trails. Not good. We tossed around the idea of rescheduling, but with my mind already set to “vacation-mode” I said we must push on and take what it gives us. Last winter was not the greatest as warm temps wiped out all the snow after only 2 days of skiing. The forecast looked promising with chance of snow each day and VERY cold temperatures. We pushed on.

As we made our way up I-87 North, we anticipated our lunch stop at Karma Road in New Paltz, NY. A great little vegetarian restaurant at the end of the main street in town. To our chagrin, we spotted the large closed sign hanging in the window as we approached. The inside looked a bit cleared out which caused me to fear they closed down for good. I parked and ran up to read the sign in the window which put my fears to rest stating they were closed until January 25th for their winter vacation. At least we could stop on the way home now. We walked through town to find an alternative and spotted the Earthgoods market well stocked with healthy groceries and some take away foods. We enjoyed some vegan sushi, homemade bean soup, and coconut water at the little table at the front of the store. Not sure if they meant it for that but it worked out. Disaster averted.

The remainder of trip up was pretty uneventful. We listened to the first half of the book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Dr. Robert H. Lustig on the way up which really made the time go by. The book was very interesting and although he gives you the resulting “bad guy” early on in the book, the process of how he comes to that conclusion is quite interesting. It does get a bit technical at times, but he does a decent job of bringing it back to layman’s terms. I will try to do a more informative review of this book later after I finish the other half. The funny thing was the first half download from Audible.com finished exactly as we pulled into our host vacation home driveway. So far the book is consistent with my current food intake which is reassuring.

ADK Cafe's Earth Plate
ADK Cafe’s Earth Plate-Kale, Cauliflower, Red Curry Quinoa, and Sauerkraut.

As we approached the Town of Keene just prior to reaching Lake Placid, we stopped at the ADK Cafe for dinner. This is one of our new favorites up there with their local, organic foods and my favorite, The Earth Plate! Tonight they had a special appetizer too which consisted of pita with hummus, red pepper dip, white bean dip and some other little goodies. A good pre-cursor to the Earth Plate. I also enjoyed a couple Davidson Brothers IPA’s from Maine which were just what the doctor ordered(not Dr. Lustig anyway) after a long drive. The Earth Plate was a pile of plant-based goodness consisting of cauliflower, kale, red curry quinoa, homemade sauerkraut and some brussel sprouts(my new favorite now). Great end to a long drive.

We then headed up the mountain to Lake Placid. The lights at the Ski jumps were glowing in the night sky as we approached River Road. They were having some ski jumping events going for a couple days and there was a good amount of spectators making their way. We bypassed that and made our way to our favorite little den just outside of Lake Placid. Ahhhh….vacation time!


Ironman Lake Placid 2012 Trip Report–Pre-Race Day

My eyes pried themselves open around 5:30AM for the first time after a good nights sleep. Something about being in the mountains that enables me to sleep so well. It must be the fresh air and the fact that I don’t have work on my mind. We headed into Lake Placid early for breakfast at the Breakfast Club since we were not sure if it would be crowded or not. It was not. At least at that time. I deviated a bit from my plant-based diet by having some pancakes, but they were yummy. Oh well, 80/20 rule is now in effect. After breakfast, we headed back to the house, I geared up and headed out on my 2:30 bike ride. I did a modified loop of the Ironman bike course. Mainly cutting off the out-and-back to Ausable Forks and cutting off the ride through Lake Placid by going down River Rd. The ride was 42 miles and took about 2:30 which is exactly what I need to do. After I got done that I quickly changed into my run gear for 36 minute brick run. I always feel so good doing brick workouts, why does it never feel that good in races???

[nggallery id=2]

We headed back into town after getting cleaned up for some lunch at Pan Dolce. It was the first time we ate there and it was quite good. I got back on track with a really good black bean salsa burger and a side salad. After lunch we headed over to the Olympic oval to check out the Expo and Ironman Store. I wanted to get a bike jersey, but they were sold out of my size. May have been a good thing as I usually have bad luck buying a event bike jersey before I do the event. i.e. Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3. I ended up just getting a M-Dot golf shirt and a water bottle. Should be safe with that I hope. We then headed over to see one of my wife’s old high school friends, who we will call Kathy. Kathy had rented a gorgeous house on Mirror Lake Drive with some of her friends and two brothers. Kathy’s brother and another guy staying there were competing in the Ironman Lake Placid event on Sunday. It was cool talking to them and getting a feel for what they were anticipating. Everyone there was really nice at the house and I felt like I knew these people for a long time. The house was in the perfect location for watching IMLP being on Mirror Lake Drive since the bike and run course both use this road for 2 loops each. It also sat up high with Adirondack Chairs on the front-lawn and even a private little beach across the road. They graciously offered us dinner, but we had planned on hitting Cafe Rustica and I didn’t want to be picky with my non-carnivorous ways. One thing was funny was that my wife had told her friend about my plant-based, vegan diet so when they offered us dinner she said “oh that’s right you’re vegan.” It was the first time I had heard someone other than me or my wife say it. It was a bit of a reality check. Never thought I would ever hear those words. Our dinner at Cafe Rustica was very good. I had Gnocchi with Vegetables which was a good, healthy belly-filler. I love gnocchi! We headed back to the house after dinner and settle in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day so a good nights rest was in order.

Lake Placid Training Camp Day 4-The Final Push

The sore blasted in the room at around 5:30AM and I immediately took inventory of the damage done from the long ride the day before. To my surprise, my ability to walk to the bathroom was not hampered in any way. “Could I really not be sore at all from a 7 hour bike ride?” I thought to myself. My head was a foggy, most likely from the microbrews that we enjoyed at the camp dinner the night prior. I started working on that with a few large gulps of coconut water from the fridge. I enjoyed my typical breakfast of a banana, some granola and a bar of some sort and washed that down with some green tea. I had a few minutes so I grabbed my Canon 7d and headed out on the patio and took some pictures of the lake. It was a bit cool this morning and there was a nice fog rising from the lake(above).  I snapped a few shots and headed back in the room. I put my suit on and grabbed my  wetsuit and headed for the lobby to meet up with the crew. Everyone was ready to go chatting away when I got up there. Some people already put there wetsuits on in order to stay warm on this cool morning. Troy rounded us up and we headed down to Mirror Lake.

We all suited up and made our way out to the starting line at the end of the dock. Coach Troy informed us that today we were going to be swimming 15 minutes down the lake focusing on technique instead of pace and then at 15 minutes we would turn around and come back trying to reach the start in less than 15 minutes. Essentially doing a negative split. I meandered my way through the pack of swimmers to the front and outside so not to get hung up on the slower swimmers. He gave us the “Go” signal and we were off.


I started with a nice, easy pace. The first 7 minutes are always a little tough until you get warmed up and get into a good rhythm. After 15 minutes I made it about 0.51 miles out which is not as good as the first OWS swim, but still good for me. Now we had to take it up a notch and try to get back in less than 15 minutes. I increased my stroke rate just a bit, so that I knew I could maintain that the whole way back. Every so often I would bump it up a little from one buoy to the next and then slow back again for the next. Just to push it more. I ended up having someone drafting me most of the way back, which turned out to be Rich one of the guys I had become friendly with in the camp. All was going well until right near the end I ran up into some of the slower swimmers and it totally through off my pace. Rich ended up going past me and then I just followed him back in. I ended up completing the second half in 14:29 which cut 30 seconds off. I could have done better if I didn’t stop for the slower swimmers. I will need to work on that cause I will be running into many people in a race condition.

We finished up and Coach Troy informed us we had 30 minutes to get ready to run half the IMLP run course. It was a gorgeous day and I was looking forward to the 13.1 run. We met in the parking lot and jogged down to the IMLP transition area where Coach Troy debriefed us on the layout and goings on there on raceday. After that we headed down Main street and made a right onto Route 73/Sentinel Rd. Coach Troy and Rich lead the way and I tailed behind them by about 25-50 yds, although that eventually increased as we went. I settled into my pace while staying in HR Zone 2(<= 152 bpm). The sun was strong and the sweat began flowing very quickly. The stretch down to River Rd. was pretty nice as it was either flat or downhill. I was very familiar with the River Road portion since this is my normal running route when we come up to Lake Placid. There were a few A-hole drivers with redneck pickups on River Road that would not give us any room. Really pisses me off. Coach Troy dropped back a bit and ran with me for awhile and we chatted a bit. When I reached the typical turnaround there was nothing there to indicate it, but I saw Torrence and the SAG vehicle down at the intersection with Route 86, so I kept going. I needed to fill up my water bottle.


While filling my bottle I noticed a red stain running down my white shirt. I thought it was the electrolyte mix in my water, but it was actually blood from my HR monitor creating a sore on my stomach. Yuk! I stuffed down a handful of pretzels and started back to town. I met up with Robin, one of the girls in our camp. Robin used to live in Boulder, CO and now lives in Saratoga, NY. I was curious how those two towns compared. Although I would not want to be in CO right now with all the wildfires out there. I ended up getting a stone in my shoe so I stopped right at Dan & Wendy’s house which is where we typically stay when we are up in LP. The gate was closed and I didn’t see any signs of activity there so I kept on. I reached the end of River Road and then made the turn up the steep hill by the ski jumps. This one took some life out of me. I kept running but it really slowed me down. I eventually got back to pace again on the flat part into town. Then was the big hill up to the intersection with Route 86, another big climb. These two hills will be brutal, especially when you have to do them twice.


I headed back along the lake, but I only went as far as the Boat House since I added some extra distance on River Road. I finished in around 2:09 which is fine for a training run. My pace was 9:34 on the way out and 10:02 on the way back, mostly due to those hills. I managed to stay in Zone 2 most of the time too, so racing should speed things up a bit. Not a bad effort especially at the end of a weekend of constant training.

I headed back to the room, showered up and packed. It was 11:20am and I had to checkout by 12PM, so not much time to dilly-dally. I checked out and did some shopping down Main Street and then on my way home. I had a 6 hour drive home ahead of me yet and with the exhausting weekend I was hoping I could keep my eyes open. I stopped in Keene to have some lunch at the ADK Café. They were quite busy, but I managed to get a table. It took longer than usual, but it felt good to just chill. I had a bowl of Black Bean Jalapeno soup and a white bean spread with wilted spinach, tomato, and pesto grilled on cafe bread which came with sweet potato fries. Quite yummy! I also had about 5 iced teas, so I was hydrated and caffeinated too. I grabbed a cool T-shirt that said “locally grown”  on the front and their logo on the back and a six pack of LP Brewery’s IPA for home.

I made good time driving home and only had to stop twice. I made it the whole way on one tank of gas too and averaged over 40 MPG in the Honda Fit. That car rocks. I made it home by 8:30PM and had the car unpacked in a half hour or so. It was nice to be home. All-in-all it was a really successful weekend and I have some confidence and experience on the course now. I think this will pay big dividends for me next year. I would like to do the camp again next year before the race if I can.

Lake Placid Training Camp Day 3-Cycling, Storms and Bears

The sun began shining in the door around 5:30AM waking me up a half hour before the alarm would go off. I tried as hard as I could to get back to sleep for another few minutes but the anxiety in my gut would not allow me to do so. Today was the day that we would be riding the entire 112 mile Ironman Lake Placid bike course, and for me would be a good indicator as to what I would have store for me next July. On top of this we had done 3/4ths of a half-ironman distance the day before, so I questioned how much my legs would have left. It would be a long day in the saddle.

I chowed down some bars and a banana with some water and got my stuff together. I packed my bento box full of corn chips and goji energy bars and filled up my water bottles. I decided to head over to the bagel shop in town at 7AM for some extra carbs before starting out. The bagel shop was closed when I got there and Coach Troy was also there waiting for it to open. We shot the breeze for few minutes until the shop opened up. People started lining up while we were talking. I headed back to the room, finished up my bagel, and made my way to meet up with the group.

Everyone topped off the air in the tires and Troy debriefed us on the ride particulars. We made our way out the parking lot and out of town. I somehow managed to get right behind Troy in second position in line. It was cool to see what his gear selection was and to match it. After two miles passed, he turned around and said  “only 110 miles to go!” Funny guy. Everyone stuck together for the first half of the first loop and then we all went our separate ways at the intersection in Jay. The rest of the of the first loop went pretty smoothly even though I was alone the whole time. The climb from Jay to Wilmington was also not too bad either. I shifted down to a nice spinning gear and just settled into a nice rhythm. The ride from Wilmington back to Lake Placid was ok too and I even picked up a couple of drafters too.

LSD Ride 6-23-2012

As I made my way back to Lake Placid I noticed some really heavy storm clouds forming over the Keene Valley. I was hoping I would not run into them. I ran through town and headed back out for my second loop. The first loop took me 3:25 minutes, which is not too bad considering the hills. But Coach Troy told us to try and even or negative split(complete faster) the second loop if we could. I was thinking I would be happy to complete the second loop let alone do it faster. I did the climb up to Cascade Mountain and then it was bombing back down into Keene again.

This time the descent was a little trickier since it had rained a bit here and the roads were somewhat moist. I decided that I was going to use the brakes this time and not take any chances. The road is pretty gnarly too and I didn’t want to wreck while being on my own. I still ended up passing people on the way down so I was not totally putzing. I reached Keene and started the nice ride up the valley, only this time the sky let loose. It started down-pouring with raindrops the size of golfballs. I stopped for a few minutes, but it didn’t let up too much. I pushed on and it just kept coming. The road had little rivers running down it. It actually felt good and cooled me off a bit. The rain eventually slowed by the time I got to Jay. The whole time up to Jay I was thinking I would skip the out-and-back to Ausable Forks, but when I got there I pushed myself to do it.

It is amazing all the negative thoughts that go through your head on a ride this long. I was constantly fighting myself to stay positive. Can’t imagine what it will be like on race day. I returned back to Jay and made the turn up the hill to Wilmington. On the climb I saw a bright flash from the corner of my eye, then a big rumble of thunder. Great! I didn’t have anywhere to really go and I thought that hopefully the rubber tires would ground like in a car. Not sure if that is true or not. Hopefully the carbon-fiber lightning rod between my legs(my bike that is) would not attract the lightning. A minute later another flash and a boom. I passed a place that sold little log cabin dog houses and I considered climbing in one, but I don’t think that would buy me anything. Then I would end up getting stuck in there or something. The thunder and lightning stopped as I continued up the hill. About a mile later I was climbing up the next climb near the Haselton Lumber sign and a large black mass came speeding across the road about fifty yards ahead of me. At first glance it didn’t fully register and then I said to myself “A BEAR!” That was pretty cool. When I reached the area where it crossed I looked around, but it was long gone from what I could see.

As I progressed towards Haselton Road in Wilmington I had thoughts of skipping the 2-mile out-and-back, but just before I reached it, I remembered that my times would not line up evenly if I didn’t do it. It is pretty easy anyway, so I pushed on. The haul back up to Lake Placid was tough. Not only were my legs tired, but there was a stiff headwind now. I just kept my head down and kept pushing. I know my speed was slow at this point, but I was almost there. Every rise in the road seemed taller than ever, but I somehow found some more power to keep going. At this point everything becomes more of a mental game than a physical one. I eventually reached the “three bears” set of hills right before Lake Placid. They seemed ominous this time. Then making the right turn at the top presented another uphill to the Northwoods school. Ugghhh. I crested the last hill at Northwoods school and I knew it was all downhill from here…You did it, I thought. What a relief.

LSD Ride 6-23-2012, Elevation

Now could I still run a marathon at this point? Well let’s see if I could just do 3 miles. I got back to the room. stuffed down some grub and water, put my running shoes on and headed back out the hotel for a run around the lake. Troy was packing his bike in the car in the parking lot  as I headed out and asked how I was feeling. I said “good”. He stated that I looked strong coming in on the bike, which provided me the perfect motivation to get me around the lake. I have to say I felt really good running. Much better than I felt at Ironman Miami 70.3 last October. No crampy feeling in my quads, which I think is do to the increase in my salt and electrolyte intake. A lesson learned there.

LSD Ride 6-23-2012, Heart rate

Done Deal! Full Ironman Lake Placid Bike Course completed in 7:09 with an average speed 0f 15.6mph. Given the over 6000 feet of climbing elevation, that isn’t too bad for the first time. I would hope that would be a little less for the actual race. The other positive about this ride was that I completed it while keeping my heart rate in or below Zone 2 for 88% of the ride. This is what I will need to do come raceday. The bike sets up the run. If you blow your legs out on the bike you will be toast on the run.

I have to admit I had some doubts about completing this, but I stayed positive and kept to my plan and managed to complete the course. This really pushes my confidence level for IMLP . After a quick jump in the lake to cool off, I headed to our 5PM lecture and we discussed the ride and Coach Troy gave us some great tips on nutrition. We then headed out for the camp dinner at the Northwoods Inn. It was very good and they even had pasta with veggies so I am still sticking to my plant based diet. Oh yeah and I am feeling spectacular on it too! Tomorrow will be another swim and doing half of the IMLP Marathon course and back home Sad smile.

The full ride can be viewed here on Strava…

Lake Placid Winter Vacation 2011–Day 1

Got off to a late start on Sunday morning due to wrestling with my Yakima Rocket Box so I could get my car keys out. I was on the road by 10:15AM and the drive up was pretty uneventful. Hit some some in the Catskills and southern Adirondacks, but nothing that caused any issues on the road. Picked up the wife at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass and we rolled into Lake Placid around 5:30PM. We had purchased tickets to the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the LP Center for the Arts which we thought started around 7PM, so we headed straight to dinner at Lisa G’s. Lisa G’s is one of the best places to eat in LP for a fair price. They have all types of food from sandwiches to platters, so there is something for everyone. Good beer selection too. The wife had Sole and I had the Burrito. Both were very good.

After filling our bellies, we headed over to the LPCA for some adventure films. While picking up our tickets we ran into the people we stay with which was cool. Banff Mountain Film Fest did not disappoint again. Saw several good films on mountain biking, climbing, caving and 2 Aussies that “Crossed the Ditch”  in a kayak which was the best of the bunch. The ice climbing film really made me want to get out there climbing this week, but the cost of a guide is just too much. My wife sacked out during the kayak flik which was too bad for her.

After the movies, we headed back to the apartment, unloaded and hit the rack. The weather report is looking promising for the week. Very cold early in the week and another big dump of snow on Wed predicted. Kind of crazy because we have hit a couple other winter vacations up here where we had gotten a foot or more of snow on a Wed and it is half price lift tickets at Whiteface on Wednesdays(when you bring a Coca-Cola product). Looks like it could be a third time again.