The morning after our Mirror Lake swim five of us drove from the motel back to Lake Placid for a tour of the 1/2 Ironman bicycle course. I had biked the course a couple of times years ago with Jan and once by myself, the day before her Ironman race, but that was eight years ago. We have also ridden the course many times in our basement with Coach Troy and his dvd "On the Road: Lake Placid". These experiences didn't help my anxiety over the miles long steep downhill leading into Keene, NY.
I have several problems with going downhill fast on my bike.
1. Traffic. When training it's tough to trust cars and trucks will give you space, especially when the shoulder of the road may not be wide.
2. Road conditions. When you are riding on strange roads at 30+mph and don't know where potholes might be, it's tough to not be worried.
3. My bike. Will the brakes hold up? (I tend to pump them a lot going downhill, I think they were smoking and hot on the Keene descent). Will the front tire not wobble or fall off?
4. My bike handling skills. They are fair, not great, especially when I'm worried about the three items above, traffic being my number one worry.
5. I know that what goes down also eventually goes up. No race director puts in a downhill section on a bike course without making you pay for it with a tough climb.
We survived the downhill, with crazy Lou who loves letting go and flying down, leading the way. I'm sure Lou and Mike W easily broke the 35mph speed limit. After that it was a fairly gentle ride to the small town of Jay, my favorite section of the course, before heading up to Wilmington and then "the notch" back to Lake Placid. The climb back to Lake Placid is tough, with many long inclines and rolling hills. It's not an easy course. When Lou saw our motel after biking 31 miles he called it a day. The rest of us kept cranking away back to Lake Placid, for a total of 42+ miles. We skipped one of the out and back sections due to a weather concern and figuring we had done enough.
I love the Lake Placid area, even when suffering on the bike, it's just so beautiful and different than the relative flat lands of western New York.