LAKE PLACID — Today’s Ironman Lake Placid will kick off at 6:50 a.m. at Mirror Lake, but for Pete Jacobs, it won’t really start until hours later.
“I’m really motivated when I get off the bike because it’s my least favorite leg. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a new race once I start the run,” Jacobs said. “That’s the start of the race.”
The Australian, who finished second at the 2011 Ironman World Championship and is known for his speedy marathon, is one of the top professionals in the field at the 14th edition of the triathlon. More than 2,800 athletes registered for the race, which starts with a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and then the 26.2-mile run.
The pros will compete for a $25,000 purse — the male and female winners will each take home $5,000 — as well as qualifying points for October’s World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. For the age-group athletes, there will be 50 Kona spots up for grabs.
Andy Potts is one pro who will try to get a jump on Jacobs early in the day. Potts was an NCAA All-American in the pool, and he tries to take advantage in the opening leg of triathlons.
“Unfortunately with Ironman, my strength happens to be around 10 percent of the total day’s worth of work. But yeah, I like to get out hard,” said the Colorado Springs, Colo. resident, who won two Ironman races in 2010. “I find that mentally if I have this wait approach — this kind of be patient, wait for it, wait for it (approach) — sooner or later the race is gonna pass you by and you’re still waiting.
“So I like to get after it and just kinda see what I’m capable of doing that day.”
Matthew Russell, on the other hand, knows he’ll have to come from behind. He was a runner and cyclist in college.
“But the thing with me, I was always timid about the water. I didn’t learn how to swim until two years ago,” he said. “So I just learned how to swim, so I’m usually one of the last pros out of the water and I try to play catch-up throughout the race.”
The Scottsdale, Ariz. resident grew up in Lisbon, and his first experience at Ironman Lake Placid involved packing wetsuits into bags as a volunteer when he was in high school. He’s seeking his first Ironman win today.
The field of 14 male pros also includes France’s Romain Guillaume, who is coming off a victory at Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant last month in Quebec. The 2011 Lake Placid champion, T.J. Tollakson, is not competing today.
Heather Wurtele isn’t back to defend the women’s title either, but five of last year’s top 10 finishers are in today’s field. Sarah Piampiano of Los Angeles said there’s no clear favorite.
“I definitely think it’s a wide-open field, for sure,” Piampiano said. “Amber Ferreira … she’s a really strong swimmer, and swimming for me is my weakness. So from the get-go, she’s kinda the person that I have in my mind a little bit in terms of getting out of the swim and trying to make up that time on the bike.
“On the run, there’s a lot of good runners out there, and if they come off the bike and run well, it could be a great race. But I’m planning on putting in a hard bike and hoping it works out for me.”
Piampiano, a first-year pro who won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in April, has been training hard in the Santa Monica Mountains to prepare for Lake Placid’s hilly course.
Ferreira placed seventh last year, and Suzanne Zelazo (sixth), Marie Danais (ninth), and Suzanne Serpico (10th) are also among the 15 female pros.
Jacqui Gordon, a South Africa native who now lives in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., took fifth in 2011, her fourth time racing in Lake Placid. She said she’s been coming to the area to race or train since 2004.
“I know every single part of this course, and the thing about this course is you never know what to expect, though,” Gordon said. “And I think I’ve trained in all the conditions that you can get on race day here. So I know the course pretty well, and I hope to use it to my advantage.”
Morrisonville’s Wendie Bishop, the fastest local female last year, is back in the field today, as are Jacob Painter of Keeseville and Peru’s Jeff Rushby, both of whom were among the top five local finishers in 2011.
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Local Ironman Lake Placid entrants
Bib Name Division Hometown
2943 Jim Adams M65-69 Altona
1053 Andrew Baird M18-24 Lake Placid
2567 Lawrence Baker M50-54 Tupper Lake
424 Heidi Baumbach F18-24 Lake Placid
N/A Bruce Beauharnois M Peru
806 Wendie Bishop F40-44 Morrisonville
2932 Michael Bryant M60-64 Wilmington
2233 Jeffrey Burdo M45-49 Morrisonville
825 Rachel Butler F40-44 Lake Placid
594 Veronica Byers F35-39 Lake Placid
2917 Ed Cassot M60-64 Lake Placid
2918 Paul Cassot M60-64 Lake Placid
2421 Russ Clopine M45-49 Lake Placid
2901 Charlie Cowan M60-64 Lake Placid
820 Lori Crowningshield F40-44 Keene
1054 Dan Dohman M18-24 Jay
1077 Michael Douglas M18-24 AuSable Forks
2944 Richard Erenstone M65-69 Lake Placid
10 Logan Franks MPRO Syracuse
1663 Robert Gerken M35-39 Lake Placid
495 Joni Gerken F30-34 Lake Placid
1085 Edward Givis M18-24 Saranac Lake
2758 Chris Grant M50-54 Lake Placid
2341 James Griffin M45-49 Lake Placid
N/A Bart Hayes M Wilmington
N/A Johanna Hayes F Wilmington
N/A Randy Kelley M Plattsburgh
2740 Timothy Lawliss M50-54 Peru
148 Christine Lennon F30-34 Lake Placid
469 Carolyn Mandeville F25-29 Lake Placid
2941 Stewart McCullouch M65-69 Tupper Lake
2756 Mark Miner M50-54 West Chazy
2818 Robert Morgenson M55-59 Lake Placid
N/A Kami Netri F Lake Placid
170 DJ O’Neill M45-49 Lake Placid
1079 Jacob Painter M18-24 Keeseville
147 Erin Rasco F18-24 Cadyville
983 Sandy Rasco F50-54 Cadyville
2196 Jeffery Rushby M40-44 Peru
1046 Michael Saulpaugh M18-24 Lake Placid
2862 Tony Searing M55-59 Morrisonville
1231 Robert Seymour M30-34 Lake Placid
423 Caitlin Skufca F18-24 Wilmington
2673 William Skufca,Jr. M50-54 Wilmington
992 Catherine Snow F50-54 AuSable Forks
2942 Robert Tebo M65-69 Tupper Lake
1087 Steven Vargo M18-24 Lake Placid
1044 Diane Wagner F60-64 Elizabethtown
1123 Weston Wheeler M25-29 Lake Placid
2713 Wesley Wilson M50-54 Bloomingdale