Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Le Tour de Terra Cotta - Bicycle Race - Monday, August 1, 2011

THIS was a really neat event to behold.  I'd never witnessed a cycling race before - only triathlons and running races... it was quite something to see the peleton get closer and CLOSER in my 340mm zoom lens as they approached!  At times, it felt as though I was about to get run over!!  LOL!!

Here is a shot of the BIG hill that the riders had to crest as part of their looped course...

Looks like fun, huh?  That's Heritage Road in Terra Cotta, ON.

There were over 600 shots in all, over about a 3 hour period.  I missed the TT and intermediate 52k races, which was a shame...  however I managed to shoot the beginner, youth and elite 104k races.  It was a really hot day on Sunday and I applaud all who participated in this event.

For more information on next year's event, check out

See you at the races!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ironman Lake Placid - 2011

Once again, we were down in Lake Placid for Ironman.  Once again, it was a beautiful day and it was fabulous to see so many athletes doing their thing on race day!!

I started shooting photos just after 6am at the swim start area, waited for the last swimmers to exit the lake and then made my way to the bike course for a few hours before heading back towards the oval to see the finishers coming in.

I was so happy to see so many friends racing this year!  I think I knew about 20 people in the race so I was able to get tons of photographs of them!  The one thing about Lake Placid is that it's very spectator-friendly with the looped course.  If you miss an athlete the first time they come around, they will be back!

Two of my girlfriends, Maye and Cathy, were doing their very first Ironman event.  Each time I saw them, they were smiling!  You've gotta love that!!!  They were still smiling when they crossed the finish line shortly after 15 hours after beginning the race.  Way to go, girls!!!  You ROCK!

It was a scorching hot day on race day.  Honestly, I don't know how the athletes managed.  The water temperature was 77-78 degrees on race day so wetsuits were optional.  Some of my friends raced with a wetsuit and some raced without.  The ones that were going for a Kona spot, raced without. 

One friend had a mishap on the first loop of the bike course and fractured her clavicle.  We wish Denise a speedy recovery...

Another friend (Angela) was meant to race but 1 week out from race day, had a crash on her bike and was so badly injured that she couldn't race.  What a heartbreak!  All of that training and planning... sigh... I guess that's part of it but... still...  :(

Carmel won her age group and will be off to lovely Hawaii for the Kona race this year!  Way to go, Carmel!!  Some raced for 10 - 11 hours... some raced for much longer.  All earned the title 'Ironman'.  Way to go, everyone!!

Eric and some other friends signed up for 2012, so we have already planned our lodging for next year.  I can't wait to go back!  I just love that place!!

I shot 1330 photos on race day (I was out there for 14 hours, camera in hand... blisters forming on my chin - ugh!) and learned a couple of things:  I need a 100% SPF sunscreen for marathon days like that;  I need a much larger sun hat (I don't care how silly it looks - it's necessary!);  it's a good idea to take a break and plunge into the lake to cool off periodically... but the one thing that I realized (again) on race day:




A Week in Lake Placid

We just recently got back from a fabulous week in beautiful Lake Placid, NY.

This year, instead of driving all the way there for 4 days of pre and post-Ironman frenzy, we went down from Wednesday - Wednesday and actually had a vacation.  It was wonderful!

This year I got do something new - go hiking up Cascade Mountain.  When I heard 'hike', I mistakenly assumed it would involve a trail... the 'trail' consisted of boulders up the side of the mountain... the 'hike' was climbing the boulders from the base to the top, where there was a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside and Ausable River.

What a beautiful place! 

Sadly, I didn't manage to make it all the way up to the top (this injury rehabilitation is very slow and painful but I'm grateful that I was able to accomplish something) but only got half-way up.  Next year, I will have to hoof it up to the top in order to enjoy the view.  Our friends made it to the top.  It was a nice way to spend 3 hours with friends during a hot and humid afternoon :)

A week of biking in the gorgeous countryside, swimming in Mirror Lake... and walking about town... it was glorious!  This year, I wasn't able to bike 75km like I did last year, much less complete the entire 1 loop of the bike course that I had anticipated before my injury.  I went for 45-minute bike rides on 'flats' and didn't get very far ;)

It wasn't until I drove the rest of the bike course before and after my ride that I realized just how much I actually was able to do last summer.  Wow.  I am looking forward to going back again next year and hopefully will be injury-free and able to ride the entire loop!

Mirror Lake was as fabulous as I remembered it... fresh-tasting and warm but cool enough that you didn't overheat (unless you were racing... but that's for another post) for a lovely, long swim.  I love that lake.  It feels very familiar to me.  I swam the loop twice (once was only 'almost' - I couldn't figure out how much farther the turnaround point was so called it  - and found out later it was only another 100m... duh!!!) and paddled around for some short swims on the other days.  I think I got in the lake nearly every day I was there.  Loved it!!

We had a lot of friends down there during our time in LP, which was a lot of fun.  Always someone to run into at the grocery store, in town, at the beach... and made some new friends too!

We are alll booked for next year, when we will be staying about a 5-minute walk to the lake.  That should be great!

Sadly, thanks to the uncooperative weather of Lake Placid, once again I was not able to go up Whiteface Mountain to shoot pictures - the 2 days I was able to get away, it was cloudy and overcast which resulted in zero visibility at the summit.  BOO!!!    Next year I plan to get up there the first sunny day we have!  I also heard that the ferry over to Burlington, VT is a must-do day trip.  Again, it was rained out.  Next year...  ;)