I saw this bike in the Ironman Lake Placid transition area after racking my bike Saturday afternoon. My first thought that this guy (or woman) was crazy to attempt the bike at Lake Placid with this piece of ancient machinery. The hills will bring him (or her) to their feet begging for mercy. I started to visualize and feel their pain. There would be a brief moment of joy as they sailed down the 6 mile downhill at Mile 10. I know just what they would think, "Man, I can do this." But what waited ahead would bring even the most confident of bikers crawling into town crying like a baby. That is, if they could make it back to town after 3 moments of truth.
First, there was the hill out of Jay going up Route 86. A long, steady climb that goes up, flattens briefly and then goes upward some more. It's one of those quad busters that leave you crying out in agony as you reach the top. Not to mention a curse word or two.
Second, there was the out and back. Especially the back. The hills coming back rival the hardest of climbs. It's usually hot at this time as well if the sun is out. It was that day.
Third, the last 10 miles into town. I believe they call these hills Poppa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Many a soul is flattened here. The first time through it's tough. The second time it's merciless.
But then I started to think of this old clunker and the bravey of its rider. I had found a new hero. As they say in Ironman, "Anything is Possible" and this athlete was going to spit in the face of the naysayers. Power to the people!
So recently, I tried studying the photo to locate the athlete. A few bikes down from it, the number of another athlete, 632, was visible. So I started to looking at results near this number and cross referencing it with the pictures that are available after the race. Eventually, I found him! And it was a him. I looked up his results and that's when I saw it. The DNF. I was disappointed that he didn't finish the race let alone the bike. He had completed the first loop, 56 miles, in 4 hours 28 minutes 23 seconds. If he was to make the cut off, he would need to do the second loop in 4 hours 19 minutes. Tough to do. But it appears he couldn't answer the bell for the second loop. Was he injured? Did the bike breakdown? Or was his psyche too damaged that he threw in the towel and became another IM victim falling short of his goal? I may never know.
One thing is sure, I do salute him for his attempt. And I hope he will try again. But I do further hope that it is on a different bike. Dreams do come true but sometimes you have to have the right equipment.