Yesterday the Ironman event was held here in Lake Placid. This grueling event combines timed swimming (2.4 miles), cycling (112 miles) and running (26.2 miles). Our friend, Allen Hutchinson, competed. He’s been training for about 18 months and competed in half triathlons in the past. This was his first full Ironman event.
Allen set reasonable expectations. When asked what goal he set for the race he said he would like to beat the average time which is over 13 hours. Donna and I didn’t see the swim event as the race starts very early and there was a light rain falling. We followed Allen’s time splits online and knew he hit his swim goal of 1 hour 10 minutes.
When I saw his 30 mile bike split time, I knew he was flying but didn’t know if he could sustain the pace through the next 82 miles which included significant climbs. Donna and I went to the course to cheer about 30 minutes before we expected to see Allen come though town. He surprised us by coming through 10 minutes after we arrived.
The streets were lined with spectators, all of them cheering the competitors. We walked over to Donna’s sister, Pam’s, house and visited for a awhile. Donna decided she would walk the three miles back to our place while I scootered back.
Upon my return I removed my helmet and could hardly believe my eyes. Water was coming out of one of the bays behind the right rear tire. I opened the bay and it was full of water dripping down from above. I ran inside the coach, the bathroom floor was flooded with water coming out of the shower stall. I quickly went back outside to the left side of the coach and opened the gray water drain valve.
When I came back in to the bathroom, it didn’t look like the shower was draining very fast. I looked at all of the faucets to see if something was left open, filling the gray water holding tank. I was puzzled as no faucets were dripping. I went back out and turned the water inlet valve from outside water to the freshwater tank position so the plumbing would no longer have pressure.
By now the shower had drained and I began mopping up. Luckily I arrived just as the bathroom floor was filling with water and it didn’t get into the rest of the coach. As I was mopping, I was trying to think of the cause of the flood when I heard and felt a loud pop in the floor. Hmmm…what was that? Then it happened again.
I dashed outside again and opened the bay where the fresh water tank is. When I diverted the incoming freshwater to the tank I neglected to open the vent valves. The tank was blowing up like a balloon and pressing on the floor of the coach. I quickly opened both valves and wondered what else could go wrong. I inspected what I could see of the tank and it didn’t appear to be damaged. One of the level sensors had a few drops of water around it but didn’t leak once the pressure was relieved.
In the middle of all this Donna sent me a text message stating she was on her way here. I replied “disaster here.” I set up a fan and space heater and continued to clean up. When Donna arrived she went to the fire station and borrowed a wet/dry shop vac. I finally figured out the source of the water. Before we left Donna started a load of laundry, neither of us thought about how much water that dumps into the gray water tank or what the current state of the tank was. Lesson learned. I was wound up tight for hours. Water damage is an RVers worst nightmare.
Meanwhile out on the course Allen was continuing his fast pace. His average speed for the bike portion was a hair under 18 MPH. On a hilly course this is excellent. I knew he would be strong in the run.
After all of the clean up work I was sweaty and felt not so clean. We had dinner plans with friends so Donna and I showered and changed clothes. We planned to go into the village to cheer Allen on during his final leg of the run. Just as we were beginning to leave it started raining again. Donna stayed back and finished tidying up the place instead of riding in the rain while I scootered into town.
The village was crazy — streets lined with cheering spectators, competitors straining to reach the finish. I looked for Allen. I walked over to the Prague Motor Inn and looked for his wife, Crystal. When I couldn’t find her I realized Allen must have already come through and she would be at the finish line.
I walked back to my scooter and rode over to the stadium where they finish the event. It was an absolute zoo. Masses of people, supporters and athletes milling about everywhere. I gave up trying to find them. I phoned Crystal but didn’t get answer. It was no surprise considering the noise.
I returned “home” and looked up Allen on the Ironman site. He finished well ahead of expectations with a total time of 11 hours, 40 minutes and 48 seconds. It was an outstanding performance, even more impressive when you consider that it was his first full triathlon. He competes in the 40-44 age division which is probably one of the toughest. His time placed him 98th in the division.He was 480th overall in a race against 2800 competitors. I’m impressed and proud to know him.
We finished off what turned out to be a tough day on the Ironman circuit and a tough day in the RV by joining friends for dinner. We ate at the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid with Wendy, Ian, Karen and Bernie. Good food, good conversation with good friends was a great way to end the day.
Today we’ll pack up and drive to Lake George to join Donna’s sister, Linda, and her husband Tom.