When we bought our house, we were so excited about the workshop in the garage and the finished basement and the hardwood floors we found under the ugly carpet that we never stopped to think, oh yeah, we're right on the Iron Man race route...
Once a year, on a Sunday morning, thousands of athletes race their bikes up the hill right past our house. The roads are closed, of course, so in years past, we've gone for day trips on race day. One year, Kathy and the girls were here for the race, and we all stood outside in the pouring rain while the bikers went past the house, and Kady and Kinsey cheered them on and played in the rain.
While the Iron Man does bring some business to the area (mostly to Lake Placid - the only thing Wilmington and Jay get are headaches from the road closures), it also creates a lot of traffic hazards during the months leading up the race. Athletes who are training on the bike routes tend to travel in packs - and sometimes they ride four or six across the middle of the road. And they can be rude. More than once have we exchanged unpleasantness with a biker who made a rude gesture or shouted at us as we drove past them. And it drives me insane to see them biking through Wilmington Notch, a very narrow, twisty road nestled between steep cliffs and the AuSable River. Cars absolutely fly through that road - much faster than the 35 mph - 50 mph speed limits - and the bikers just don't seem to care that there are so many cars on the road.
That said, it is amazing to watch these men and women. The Iron Man, for those of you that don't know, starts out with a 2 mile swim in Mirror Lake, followed by a 112 mile bicycle race and then a 26.5 mile foot race. The winners usually finish in about 8 1/2 or 9 1/2 hours, and some of the participants don't finish until midnight, when the race officially ends.
I read this morning in the newspaper that the man who finished first overall walked over to get some congratulations from his friends and supporters and then COLLAPSED and had to be carried off by medical personnel. Nothing else about his condition this morning, though, so I hope he's okay. I can't imagine pushing my body to such limits - some days it feels as though I'm pushing my limits just taking care of Colden and working and taking care of the house!