Lake Placid Ironman Course Elevation

by The Coaches on July 7, 2009

We received an email recently regarding the elevation at Ironman Lake Placid – more specifically, how much climbing is there?

The Ironman USA website has an interesting quote “The two loop bike course takes place on impeccably smooth roads.  There is a major 9km downhill (good for the average speed).  The rest of the bike is a mix of some rolling hills and some “small chainring climbs.  Overall, you can move on this course!

We think that this is slightly misleading in that it doesn’t really address the level of climbing that you will actually be doing.  The figure below depicts a heart-rate file (Jason’s) during one of our Ironman training camps held earlier this year.  The heart rate profile gives an ascent of 3300ft for one loop.  Obviously this needs to be doubled giving you a climbing elevation of 6600ft.  That is some serious climbing if you’re used to riding on flat roads.

IMUSA course profile

IMUSA course profile

One of the main comments from our camp attendees was that the first loop seemed ‘quite reasonable’.  However, the second loop is ‘a (insert expletive)’ and it’s mainly due to the fatigue that accumulates from the first loop.

Our advice?  Take it easy climbing out of Lake Placid initially – you can blow your race here right at the beginning.  Go fast on the downhill to Keene if you’re comfortable riding at speed.  The section from Keene thru Upper Jay and Jay is a fast road and you should take advantage of staying in aero and covering the ground quickly.  Take the climbs easy so as to keep the legs as fresh as possible.  Enjoy the crowd coming back into Lake Placid and once again, watch that climb out of town prior to the descent.  On the second loop, even though you’ll want to get off the bike as quickly as possible, hold back a little  and spin up the hills – your legs will thank you for it during the marathon!

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