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TR: Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

The Ironman Lake Tahoe is in its inaugural year during a time of year that is one of the most gorgeous times of year  in the area.  This time of year you usually see people paddle boarding in bikini's, sweating it out on a mt bike ride and enjoying a nice cold brew after a great day in the mountains or on Lake Tahoe. 

As the Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 approached it was clear that we wouldn't be experiencing the usual weather and that the competitors would have to adjust their wardrobe and strategies.

 

EpicSki's Noofus, Lovebug and Cbire were three of the 2700 attendees  of this event so we followed them and shared in their excitement as they made their way to Squaw for check in on Friday, wearing the all too familiar shorts and Patagonia Nano Puff, and wondering if we would need to adjust for colder weather as the weekend moved forward. 

 

Saturday was drop off day for bikes and special needs bags, so we took a scenic past Mt Rose to make the most of the experience.  This was all the assurance they needed to adjust how they dressed for the event. 

 

The wee hours of the morning brought the beginning of the race with the open water swim. 

Air temperature was 38•  Brrrrrrrrr

 

 

 

With the firing of their cannon, they were off 

 

 

 

 

While the chill in the air made for hypothermia with many of the participants, it made for some gorgeous photo opportunities. 

 

AppleMark

 

Next up.....the bike 

The bike portion of this event went through some of the most scenic areas of Tahoe, including the beautiful old town Truckee

 

Martis, Brockway, ....

 

 

 

And if you were an athlete who got through the swim and bike portion of this event, you got to run!

The run started in Squaw Valley Village and went along the Truckee River Trail, twice. 

 

When its time to cross the finish line and you're ready to celebrate.......

Then you realize that you spent it all to be in this place at this time......

 

 

.....When you start at 6:30 AM and finish at 10PM, all you can do is smile, cry and hug the person closest to you. 

You truly are an Ironman!

 

Besides, the amazing energy and athleticism of this group, I was truly impressed with the organization of the Ironman and the volunteers who helped make it all possible. 

 

 

Pro Results: 

Top five professional men’s results are below:

 

  1. Chris McDonald                    AUS                   08:55:14
  2. Maik Twelsiek                       GER                   08:57:53
  3. Joe Gambles                        AUS                   09:02:55 
  4. Kirill Kotsegarov                   EST                   09:04:39
  5. Kevin Taddonio                    USA                   09:09:09

 

Top five professional women’s results are below:

 

  1. Asa Lundstrom                     SWE                  09:58:53
  2. Jeanne Collonge                   FRA                   09:59:43
  3. Catriona Morrison                 GBR                   10:03:38
  4. Elizabeth Lyles                     USA                   10:08:41
  5. Angela Naeth                        CAN                   10:10:47

 

 

* Photos in this post were taken by Philpug.
**additional photos will be added by Doug Kohen


Edited by Trekchick - 9/23/13 at 4:56pm
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

 

Pro Results: 

Top five professional men’s results are below:

 

  1. Chris McDonald                    AUS                   08:55:14

 Really great post TC,

 

and an Aussie won :D. Don't let them or their Kiwi cousins in ...or New Zealand might take the America's Cup home too.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Here is Noofus crossing the finish line. 

post #4 of 24

MUCH RESPECT TO ALL and ESPECIALLY OUR OWN NEWFUS!!!  

 

Great TR!  

 

Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up

post #5 of 24
Yours is so much cooler! Next year...
 
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

 

With the firing of their cannon, they were off 

 

 

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 
Yours is so much cooler! Next year....

I don't want to brag, but....

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

I don't want to brag, but....

....we're going in the Cast Iron Stomach Comp at Squaw;)

post #8 of 24

some nice shots,

 

thanks for the tour of the course

post #9 of 24

Pretty stoked, my nieces bestie won the amateur women!!!

post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
 

Pretty stoked, my nieces bestie won the amateur women!!!

 

Finishing is an accomplishment.  Winning is incredible!

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

 

Finishing is an accomplishment.  Winning is incredible!

Amen to that!

post #12 of 24

The Lake Tahoe Tri is a full Ironman event: Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles  and finish with a 26 mile run. I am totally impressed that Noofus, Lovebug and Cbiere left their Philly (read sea level) hometown and traveled to altitude in Lake Tahoe to attempt this event....then the weather turned cold. I bike on a regular basis and would/could not do half of that ride alone, as it involved a fair amount of climbing.

 

It would have been a great event to see, props to Philpug and Trish for housing the Philly team and for the support they gave the Epic team.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

 

Finishing is an accomplishment.  Winning is incredible!

 

I kinda think finishing is incredible ... 

 
winning is otherworldy. 
 
How's that?
 
post #14 of 24

Sounds hokey but

 

They're all winners....:eek

 

seriously; they are! 

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

 

I kinda think finishing is incredible ... 

 
winning is otherworldy. 
 
How's that?
 

You're so eloquent with words. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Sounds hokey but

 

They're all winners....:eek

 

seriously; they are! 

I couldn't agree more.  

I witnessed the mayhem around this event and still can't imagine it.  Unreal!

 

I'm wondering how many days it will be until Noofus walks normally.  

 

On a side note;

One of the Tahoe locals (Dawn Gaffney) got faint, and "bonked" 10 (ish) miles into the bike ride.  She went to the medics to get checked, was sent in for a cat scan.  After persistent head aches, she was checked again on Monday.  

She had a stroke. :eek  Evidence suggests that she's had 3 or 4 small strokes in the recent past but was unaware. 

According to people close to her, the Ironman may have saved her life.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 

You're so eloquent with words. 

 

I couldn't agree more.  

I witnessed the mayhem around this event and still can't imagine it.  Unreal!

 

I'm wondering how many days it will be until Noofus walks normally.  

 

On a side note;

One of the Tahoe locals (Dawn Gaffney) got faint, and "bonked" 10 (ish) miles into the bike ride.  She went to the medics to get checked, was sent in for a cat scan.  After persistent head aches, she was checked again on Monday.  

She had a stroke. :eek  Evidence suggests that she's had 3 or 4 small strokes in the recent past but was unaware. 

According to people close to her, the Ironman may have saved her life.

 

Holy moly ... that is crazy. I know a lady who had something similar, ran into the end wall  (ie, cinderblocks) in a tennis facility and knocked herself out. (ok, that's dorkier than bonking during an Ironman, but bear with me...). The EMTs insisted that she get a cat scan, since she had lost consciousness, and during the scan a small brain tumor was discovered. It was still small and treatable, but she probably wouldn't have known about it until it had grown larger and much less treatable... same kind of thing. 

 
I hope she is on the mend.
post #17 of 24
I wrote up this race report while sitting on the plane on the way back from the race. Its long, just fair warning, but I tried to put as much detail into everything I was thinking and feeling during the race.

Pre-race setup:



Despite some flight delays requiring an over-night stay in the Portland, OR airport we got to Squaw on Friday afternoon for check-in. This was a breeze and we were in the merchandise tent in a few minutes being “fleeced” out of more money for M-dot logo gear. Picking up the bikes from TBT was also a breeze. Saturday was a relaxing day and only required us to drop off our transition bags. Run bags at Squaw, bike bags and bikes at Kings Beach.



The weather turned really nasty half-way through the day which sent a panic through the race crowd. Rain, then snow, then wind. Yes it snowed on the last day of summer. The storm blew out around midnight leaving below-freezing temperatures at Kings Beach.



Race Morning:



Up at 0400, grabbed some coffee and a bagel with peanut butter. I had intended on eating a banana also but that just wasn’t happening. Everything we had left at Kings Beach, including the bikes, was frozen in the morning. Air temp at the start was about 33 degrees. Glad I didn’t leave any gels or food in my T1 bag overnight. I brought that with me in the morning and put it on my bike then. Got my tires pumped and scraped the ice (not frost… ice) off my bike as best as I could. Found the warming tent they set up for post-swim and used that to change into my wetsuit. Dropped off my morning clothes bag in the designated bin and went off to the beach.



2.4 mile Swim:



Sand was frozen. So cold on the feet. I stopped for a moment to take a look around. Sunrise was just starting and the mountain peaks surrounding the lake lit up with a crown of fresh snow. Fortunately I only had about 5 minutes to wait before they fired the gun and we all rolled slowly into the water. The water was about 55 degrees near the beach where it was shallow. By the time it got deep enough to actually swim the water was 62 degrees. I knew I couldn’t handle dunking myself in water that cold right away, so as I waded out I splashed my face a bunch and tried to steel myself for what was about to be a very unpleasant shock. Got to the deeper point where I had to start swimming and did a bit of breaststroke to avoid putting my face in the water completely. Did this for about 100 yards and then went into regular freestyle. Oh boy was that cold. The water was crystal clear and I could see the bottom for most of the swim, even when I knew the lake was quite deep. It was a real treat to swim in such a clean lake in a stunningly gorgeous place. I found myself looking at the snow-capped peaks every time I took a breath and admiring them for that 1-second before my face went back in the water.



When I got to the end of the first loop I realized the water was only about 2 feet deep so I stood up and walked a bit to take a break from swimming. The second loop was entirely uneventful and I got out of the water in 1:24. I was hoping for <1:20 but I suspect I was just starting to see the effects of the altitude.



T1: I got out of the water and immediately realized it was seriously cold out. Still 35ish degrees. Then I got to the changing tent. Oh boy this was a mess. The tent was packed tight full of people trying to get dried off and fully re-clothed into winter-appropriate cycling gear. I found a tiny square of space near a table to change. I stripped everything off, got my towel out (which was fortunately dry as I had double-bagged my stuff) and managed to kinda get dry. It was hard to really get dry as it was so cold I just wanted to be out of there. I struggled to get my cycling kit on as I was damp and there was no room to even breath in there. Bibs, compression shirt, arm warmers, cycling jacket, full gloves, socks, shoes. Finally got it all on and stuffed my wetsuit and swim clothes into the bag. Shoved my way out of the tent a bit rudely and handed off my bag to a volunteer. Long walk to the bikes, found mine, and got out. 18 minutes in T1.



112 mile Bike: The ride out from Kings Beach was flat-to-downhill and seriously fast. Came up on Dollar Hill for the first time at mile 5 and that was a reasonable climb. Kept my power down and just got over it. Flat-to-downhill from there all the way through Tahoe City, Squaw and out to Truckee. At this point I noticed that my feet were frozen and I couldn’t feel them anymore. I also notice I couldn’t put down the power I wanted to. I had planned to race at about 180 watts normalized. I couldn’t get my NP above 145. Simply didn’t have it. I think between the altitude and the cold I just didn’t have the ability to put out power as planned. That’s OK, just press onward.



By the time I got to Truckee the first time I was moving along at an 18ish MPH average over the first 20 miles, and thinking gee, I am on a 6-hour pace! Well then the climbing started. First the climb out of Truckee wasn’t entirely fun, then out to Northstar where we climbed up the private roadway into Martis Camp. This was a legitimately tough climb and many struggled. Then a screamer decent out of Northstar and then the big climb began. The Brockway climb was nearly 1000 feet over 2.7 miles. It was a long slog up that took around 25 minutes, followed by a seriously fast 40mph decent back to Kings Beach. I noticed I could finally feel my feet again where we were crossing mile 50.



At this point the dark thoughts started coming. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. This hurts. Why do I do this? Took my until mile 60 before I was able to dig myself out of that dark place and get a smile back on my face. I have no idea why I fell into that dark hole so “early” but it happened and I got out of it. Another fast ride from Kings Beach to Truckee. When I got to Martis the second time I decided it was finally time to shed the jacket, and stuffed it up the back of my jersey. I must have looked like a hunchback wearing an aero-helmet.



The second climb up Martis was uneventful as was the second climb up Brockway. At this point I am 90 miles in and realizing 6.5 hours on the bike was an unreasonable expectation. I was at 6 hours on the nose as I started the second Brockway climb. After the top of Brockway at mile 90 the last 22 miles I really started feeling it. I wasn’t really in a dark place at that point but I wasn’t feeling great and just wanted to get off the bike. I knew I still had well over an hour to ride.



Seeing the 100 mile marker at the bottom of Dollar Hill was a great feeling. I waited to do a little celebration, though, until the top. And by “celebration” I mean “stand up on the bike and stretch”, which was really all I was capable of at that point.



I rolled off Dollar hill and took the fast decent back to Squaw. As I went through Tahoe City I saw the runners on the run course which paralleled Hwy 89 where I was riding. I rolled in to Squaw with a bike time of 7:40. I was pleased that I was able to get my nutrition just right on the bike. I drank 5 full bottled of fluids and got in nearly 2000 calories over the ride.



T2: The volunteers were awesome. They grabbed by bike from me and found my bag. I went into the change tent and stripped the bike gear off. Grabbed my run gear and got that on. I started cramping like crazy in the tent but I knew if I just got on my feet I would be fine. T2 time was about 6 minutes.



26.2 mile Run: The cramps went away right away and I ran out of the T2 area with a screaming crowd around me. I was able to run for about a half-mile before I realized I was a bit wrecked from the swim and bike. I did a bit of run/walk for the first 3 miles and then actually settled into a slow but steady pace. I was grabbing sports drink from the aid stations and kept running all the way to mile 14. At that point the walking started. I started grabbing flattened coke from the aid stations. I don’t really like regular coke but for some reason it tasted awesome at that point. I was able to run anything flat or downhill from here until I got to mile 17.



It was getting dark at this point and I wasn’t enjoying the idea that it would be a very dark end of the day. A volunteer handed me a headlamp and I put it on. I am glad I had kept the arm warmers from my bike ride with me because with the sunset came the cold. So cold. I started taking hot chicken broth at the aid stations to help warm me up a little. It helps, surprisingly.



From here the run course goes back into Squaw and goes literally right past the finish line. Arrows pointed for the finish chute to the right, and second lap to the left. I have to admit it was utterly demoralizing to run right past the finish chute where I could hear Mike Reilly calling out names of the finishers, the crowd chanting their congratulations to me, only to have to make a turn and go back out. I succeeded in running a bit more and made it to about mile 20 before the wheel finally came off entirely and I just walked. That last 10k was mostly walking in the dark with other broken and demoralized people. We all just followed the line of bobbing headlamps on a dark, dark course. The light level surrounding me was about comparable to how I was feeling at the time. Dark, demoralized, broken.



I spent the last 10k chatting with fellow broken athletes discussing everything from the difficulty of the course to the merits of sushi as a pre-race meal. I got to the second turnaround point at mile 22.5 and my spirits lifted a little. Until I realized I had a hill to walk up. After that hill I managed a short bit of jogging down the other side and walked through the next aid station. I had only 3 miles left to go and I knew I was going to walk it in. More hot broth and a foil heat-sheet helped keep me from going entirely hypothermic. At the final aid station at mile 25.5 I ditched the foil because I knew I was going to be finishing very soon and didn’t want my finisher picture taken wrapped up like a baked potato.



I could hear the crowd now, only a few hundred yards ahead. The cheering was immense. And this time, finally, it was actually for me and not for a “second looper”. I soaked it in, and started running. Crowd energy is a funny thing. You can be in the depths of despair and still find just a little bit left to run in the last 2/10th of a mile. I ran across the timing mats and into the finisher’s chute. Mike Reilly called my name “Gabriel Levinson, from Pennsylvania. YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”



Run time was 5:41. Really slow considering my best open-marathon was 3:28.



Overall finish time 15:10:52. About 3 hours slower than I would have liked. I attribute the cold, the altitude and the difficulty of the bike course just beat me down and slowed me way down. It is what it is though and I am incredibly happy I finished.



It really seemed silly at the beginning of the day and even afterwards but when I was in the darkest place mentally my only thought was “Get across the line. Hear your name, get that stupid medal”. Odd that was my motivation but that’s what got me to the end. I needed to hear those words.



After I crossed the line a volunteer came to “catch” me if needed. I was fine, able to stay upright and she asked if I was OK. I just looked at her and asked, “I can stop moving now, right?” She just laughed and said yes.
post #18 of 24

It was an amazing event and an enormously impressive accomplishment. We also housed a competitor who drove up from So. Cal. I wrote daily for 2 weeks before the event giving temperature readings through the early morning, but the temperatures still caught Mark out, especially because the temperature plunged on the Wednesday before the race. Still, I kept saying it will be mid-30's until probably 9:30 or 10:00 and the first 8 - 10 miles on the bike will be brutal without lots of clothes. One saving grace that helped considerably - we put a package of "hottie" hand warmers in his cycling jacket and that saved the fingers. Still - it was damn cold out there.

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen1254 View Post
 

It was an amazing event and an enormously impressive accomplishment. We also housed a competitor who drove up from So. Cal. I wrote daily for 2 weeks before the event giving temperature readings through the early morning, but the temperatures still caught Mark out, especially because the temperature plunged on the Wednesday before the race. Still, I kept saying it will be mid-30's until probably 9:30 or 10:00 and the first 8 - 10 miles on the bike will be brutal without lots of clothes. One saving grace that helped considerably - we put a package of "hottie" hand warmers in his cycling jacket and that saved the fingers. Still - it was damn cold out there.

 

Phil and I should have looked you up.  

Did you get any pictures? 
post #20 of 24

Yes - Jen posted several on her FB page. Sorry we didn't see you at the swim start but I'll think you will agree - I've never seen that many people on the KB beach ever! What terrific support for the event.

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen1254 View Post
 

Yes - Jen posted several on her FB page. Sorry we didn't see you at the swim start but I'll think you will agree - I've never seen that many people on the KB beach ever! What terrific support for the event.

 

I'm hopeing to catch up with you a little this coming winter.  

 

We did get some hiking in yesterday and went past some of the bike route again.  This course was(is) insane! 

post #22 of 24
What an incredible day. First off, Tahoe is gorgeous, any time of the year. However, i think that shoulder season is a bit special. Getting to swim in crystal clear lake Tahoe with snow on the mountains? EPIC. Getting to ride through Truckee and screaming fans ... getting to ride up Martis (more fun DOOOOOWN) and up Brock to more motivation ... AWESOME. Being cheered on by all the people stuck in traffic WE caused? UNREAL.

It wasnt my day on sunday. But i wouldnt change anything about it. I worked damn hard all year ... got to spend the time exploring Tahoe at a slower pace, and got housed, hugged and fed by some of my bestest friends. Special shoutout for the recovery shower and burger smile.gif

This epic race left me with a lot to process. I didnt come home with a medal or a finisher shirt - but plenty of memories and more than a few lessons learned.

Oh yeah ... and some new ski boots smile.gif Think snow!
post #23 of 24

noofus, I was following your progress on the Ironman Tahoe web-site on race day.   There was some glitch on the web-site where it didn't show your time for the first check-point (I think mile 3?) of the running leg, so nothing was showing up until you reached mile 6 (i.e., the second check-point), at which point it showed you had reached mile 6 in the time it had taken you to reach mile 3.

 

They eventually got it fixed (somehow...), but for a while I thought you were FLYING on the running part -- i.e., six miles in ~30 minutes?  Wow!  Thumbs Up

 

Congratulations again on finishing!  I can't imagine being "on the go" non-stop for 15+ hours.  Incredible achievement.

post #24 of 24

Inspired by watching our friends and guests Michele and Lorraine finish the Ironman, I went on a long (for me) bike ride. 12 miles at sea level (but with a nasty climb up Torrey Pines and some city traffic) in a bit less than an hour and I was working! And worked! I have a lot more respect for all the participants (Lovebug, you rock for even being able to play the game). Congratulations to everyone involved!

 

Eric

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