July 15, 2024
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July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Ironman Lake Placid 2017: The Race Day Experience

Sometimes, just surviving is itself a victory.

With all the training I did, I was hoping to break last year’s record of 15:39:10, but Ironman Lake Placid did not go as planned.

Before the Race:

I set the alarm for 5, but my body woke up at 4:45.

I popped my new contact lenses in, nibbled on some lox & grabbed my 12-year-old for a selfie.

I had no idea how fortunate I was that he was awake.

You’ll see.

I prepped my three bottles of liquid nutrition. They still had to be placed on the bike.

I hugged the wife, prayed & slapped on my rub-on tats.

Finish an Ironman race, you’ve earned the right.

Bike Transition (t1) closed at 6 a.m. After that I would not be able to put all my nutrition on the bike.

So I timed my morning to get everything done at a “calm before the storm” pace.

5:45 I was in t1 put my three bottles into their holders on the bike. That’s when I stood there in horror. I saw the fourth one was missing. This was the utility one with my spare bike tires.

These are my insurance policy that no matter what happens, I will be able to finish the bike portion. With only 15 minutes left before they closed t1, I ran back to the hotel room.

I banged furiously on the door. Time was running out & I was hoping my son was still awake.


My 12-year-old opened the door and I ran in…it’s not there.

I remember at that moment, I left the black canister of spare tires in my transition bag yesterday.

“Next time bring your own key!” He called out. I ran back to transition.

It was now 6:02, but security let me back in. Then I heard the officials calling out to us,

“We need everyone out of transition. The pros can’t start until we sweep the area with bomb sniffing dogs.”


The canister of spares was right there in my transition bag.


I took it & ran towards my bike while the officials are telling everyone to head in the other direction. I reached the bike and inserted the canister into the bottle holder.

First potential disaster of the day averted. I hoped that would be all…

Now it was time to get my pulse rate down. With my wetsuit sitting on my shoulder, I walked down the road to meet Ed at the swim start.

For the second year, my buddy Ed Lapa was volunteering.

Ed was trying to calm me down as I put on my wet suit. I put both feet through the sleeves

All I could hope is that things would start going right.

To be continued next week…

By David Roher


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