July 24, 6:00pm - Ironman USA Expo / Athlete Village / Transition Area
Welcome to Ironman USA!Lake Placid is quickly becoming the North Eastern hub of triathlon. After its successful inaugural hosting of Ironman USA in '99, this year promises to be even better . . . if the weather will just cooperate. It's hard to believe that we're already at the 11th race of the World Triathlon Corporation's 15 race Ironman Season in 2000 (remember, there've already been 10: South Africa., New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Lanzarote, California, Korea, Austria, and Germany!!) After Lake Placid, there's Ironman Switzerland (August 6th), Ironman Canada (August 27), Hawaii (Oct. 14), and finally, Ironman Florida on November 5th (phew!).
As athletes began to trickle into town on Monday, the remnants of ESPN's Great Outdoor Games were still in evidence as their crew hustled to make way for Ironman. As soon as the Olympic Speed Skating Oval was cleared in front of Lake Placid High School, Graham Fraser's Ironman North America staff was hard at it getting the expo cum transition area set up for the week's events. In a day and a half, the Athlete Village was built and in place.
Since there are so many semi-local athletes, the town doesn't quite yet have the buzz that is so typical of Kona or even Penticton - but it's coming. The introduction of Ironman California (in addition to Ironman Florida) has allowed athletes from all over the U.S. to do a quality Ironman event in their own backyard. This seems to have people arriving as late as Friday and Saturday before Sunday's race. Finish up work on Friday afternoon, pile your bike and gear in the car, drive up to Lake Placid, and do an Ironman on Suday!
The weather so far (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) has been cool in the morning (low to mid 50's) and warming up to the high 70's to low 80's during the day. The water temperature in Mirror Lake is a comfortable 68-70 degrees (closer to 70). It's been partly cloudy throughout this time but, as of Wednesday afternoon, the clouds have moved in. The forecast calls for rain beginning on Saturday and continuing through Sunday - let's hope the weather man is wrong this time around. If the front that is expected comes to town when it's expected, it could be a cold blustery day much like it was two weekends ago in Roth at Ironman Germany. Hopefully all of the athletes will have warm clothing for the bike.
So far we've seen some of the top contenders and even some Multisport.com campers. We'll try to post a report on a daily basis as to the goings on in Lake Placid. Perhaps the most anticipated event this year is one of two Kona Underpants qualifiers (#2 will be in Penticton at the end of August). We'll definitely get some coverage of this.