Amber had been up in Placid since Thursday night, staying with aR's Ryan Kelly, Myles Chase of MC Cycles and Alex and Audra Index of Endurofun Sport. I arrived Saturday night after attempting the Presidential Traverse. Due to slick rocks from rain, I didn't complete it but did get a chance to (nearly) run into a moose and her children on the trail as well as a stray fox in the parking lot.
By the time I made it up to Lake Placid, all the preparation was set. We had dinner, watched replays of that day's Tour de France and got to bed around 10pm. Race morning came as it always does: too early. And after a mile walk from our condo to the swim start they were ready to go. Miles was competing in his second Ironman having done LP last year as well, Ryan was doing his first "real triathlon" and Amber, the vet, was doing her fifth.
It was soon announced that, as predicted, the water would be too water for wetsuits. Luckily, Amber's coach Kurt Perham, had brought her a speedsuit which may not have helped her physically but certainly helped her psychologically as she, now, at least looked similar to the other pros.
The swim went off well(in my opinion) with Am swimming a 1:00:18 and coming in 4th Pro woman. As I was volunteering in the Gear Bags, I was lucky enough to see her as she transitioned from swim to bike. Thinking that I wouldn't see her until half-way through the bike in about two and a half hours, I went back to my volunteer duties. However, a few minutes passed and all of a sudden, there's Amber on the other side of the fence screaming for me to go get her wheels. Apparently, during her transition, another spoke(see IM St. George) had broken and the mechanics had told her that there were no 650's. I ran probably my fastest mile ever back to the condo, picked up the wheels and my bike and jetted back to the transition area. Just as I arrived(I'd like to think 5 minutes later but was probably closed to 9), I saw her take off on the bike. A mechanic had found a pair for her to use(hopefully not off another racer's bike). All in all, it took about 15 minutes for her to get out on the bike dropping from 4th to 8th place.
Despite the set-back and the resultant worsening in placing, Amber then put together a solid bike with a 5:44.00. I was able to see her at the half-way bike and was also able to see Heather Wurtele zip by. To say she was flying would be an understatement. Tine Deckers kept up with her for the first lap but seemed to slow a bit on the second eventually coming in 5 minutes behind. When Am came off the bike, she had made up only one spot with Heather, Tine, Tyler Stewart, Suzanne Zelazo, Jackie Arendt(awesome race for the 1st year pro!), and Jacqui Gordon rounding out the first six spots.
While Amber proceeded to try to chase down Jacqui G, Jackie A and G did the same to Suzanne running a 3:22 and 3:28, respectively. Amber looked solid on the first half of the run, but then slowed a bit on the second finishing with a 3:35.31 marathon, with a total time of 10:30.39, 9 minutes back from sixth place Suzanne. Had she maintained her first half marathon pace she would have run a 3:15 or so, and not broken a spoke, she would have finished right around 10:05 which would have been fifth place. You never know how these races will turn out though and I am just so impressed that she kept going. She actually passed a fading Ryan Kelly on the run, but Ryan, as to not let his training partner beat him, caught up and they ended up finishing the last few miles together. Should make an awesome finish line photo.
This race was particularly fun to watch because I was able to see all the runners on multiple occasions as the run course was a two loop, double out and back course. I was able to see TJ Tollakson run a sub-3 hour marathon to win. Even more impressive was Tim Snow's 2:51 marathon(check out his article on how to run a fast IM marathon here). It was also nice to see all the S2, PBM and TriHard triathletes from New England out on the course. Looking at the beautiful Suzanne Zelazo wasn't so bad either(I know. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, but it seems that doesn't apply to triathletes and furthermore, she's not my neighbor:) Anyway....).
Here's how the Pro Women's Field turned out:
1st-Wurtele, Heather 09:19:03
2nd- Deckers, Tine 09:34:41
3rd- Stewart, Tyler 09:38:09
4th- Arendt, Jackie 09:56:21
5th- Gordon, Jacqui 10:07:22
6th-Zelazo, Suzanne 10:21:08
7th- Ferreira, Amber 10:30:39
8th- Alldritt, Miranda 10:46:46
9th- Danais, Marie 10:48:26
Other Notable Racers:
Jimmie Cochrane- 11:06:52
And so many more excellent performances that I cannot list right now. Awesome job to everyone that not only finished but had the guts to start!
Below is a bunch of photo's that I took along the course. Sorry the resolution is so poor-only so much you can do with a Blackberry phone.
|Jimmie Cochrane at mile 10|
|Ben Hoffman at mile 24 coming in second overall|
|David of PB racing at mile 10|
|Jacqui Gordon(I think)|
|Chad Carter starting his run|
|Amber too fast for the camera on the bike|
|John Rymes of S2 on the run|
|Sean Snow starts lap 2|
|Keith Shields coming out of the water: "Well that's over."|
|Danny enjoying a nice "maple whip"|
|Amber Pre-swim: No Wetsuits Allowed!|
|Maria Danais, 9th Pro Woman|
|Heather Wurtele approaching the finish|
|TJ Tollakson finishing|
|Miranda Alldritt, 8th Pro Woman|
|Gina Whipple of S2 starts her run|
|Tyler Stewart starts lap 2|
|Amber in Transition|
|The Snow Family|
|Jackie Arendt, 4th Pro Woman|
|Handsome Ransom starting the run|
|Tine Deckers, 2nd Pro Woman|
|Ryan Kelly starting the second lap of the marathon|
|TJ Tollakson starting second lap of marathon|