July 26

Start: Whiteface Brook Lean-To
End: South Meadow Road Campsite
Mileage: 13

Today was the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid. It stats with a 2.4-mile swim, then a 112-mile bike, and finally a marathon (26.2-mile run). I spent last night at a lean-to that is eight miles out of Lake Placid. It was raining when I woke up this morning so I slept in. I hate getting up when it's raining. By 8:00 the rain had stopped, so I got up finally. It was four miles to the trailhead, then another four miles on the road to Lake Placid. When I got to the trailhead around 10:00, bikers for the triathlon were going by. At this point, the sun was out and it was hot and humid.

I walked on the road into town, being passed by hundreds of bikers. Many spectators biked or ran to watch this part of the race (since many roads were closed to cars). As I got closer to town, spectators lined both sides of the street. It was very exciting. I was told that there were 10,000 spectators. Many were family and friends of athletes and wore specially made T-shirts supporting their athlete. But there were also a lot of people who just came to watch.

When I got to town, I just walked around and watched the race. I did get ice cream, of course. The entire town was turned around for the race. Most streets were closed, and many community and church groups set up stands to sell food. I was glad I came back into town to watch it. Unfortunately I missed the first leg (swimming), because it started at 7 and was over by 9:30.

The outdoor speedskating track, in the center of town (a remnant of the Olympics) was the transition zone and the finish line. It was cool to watch the athletes bike in, change shoes, and then leave the track to start running. Later, they would enter the track again to finish. At the finish line, an person announced each finisher, saying "John Smith, congratulations; you are an Ironman!" The first finishers came in around 4:00, when some people were still on the second leg (biking). The athletes have until midnight to finish the run.

I would've liked to stay until it got dark to watch the athletes finish, but I had nowhere to stay. So I started hiking out of town aroud 6:00. For the first two miles I was going along the race route, with athletes running by me. After the athletes turned (and I continued straight), I was able to hitch a ride from someone who works for the Adirondack Mountain Club at the Adirondack Loj. He said he frequently gives rides to hikers.

Tonight I'm staying about two miles from the Adirondack Loj. The Loj is owned and operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club. It was originally built in 1928 as a hiking base camp. Now the Loj has private rooms and a bunkroom, as well as campsites, all for a fee.

I didn't feel like paying to set up my tent, so I figured I would camp for free about a mile up the road from the Loj. There are a lot of campsites along this dirt road for people with cars to drive up to. But because they are single sites that are spaced out, I'm camping alone again tonight.

Well, I'm actually pretty tired, even though I spent most of the day sitting (it was in the hot sun though). Tomorrow should be a short day - hiking two mountains and then staying near the Loj.

Oh, as an interesting side note, I should mention that Loj is pronounced like Lodge. It was named by Melvil Dewey, who was president of the Lake Placid Club, which originally owned the property. Dewey was involved in a movement to simplify spelling (it movement never gained much success, obviously). He is also the Dewey of the Dewey Decimal System for organizing library books.

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