LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Tucked away in Cumberland County, three triathletes quietly smashed the competition. Last weekend, Josh Beck, 35, Rick Fesler, 32, and Casey Williams, 45, took center stage at Ironman Lake Placid, putting them — and the Midstate — on the map.
Ironman Lake Placid, held in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is one of 28 Ironman races across the world where athletes can qualify for the 2013 Ironman World Championships.
An Ironman event features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. It takes an average triathlete 13 to 15 hours to complete the course, but the local trio raced past professional triathletes to gain some of the best times at the event.
A comeback for Beck
Beck, of Carlisle, had to overcome a slow start in the race. A swim time of 1:17.13 put him in 1,113th place.
“The swim! I am not a fan of the water, so seeing all the buoys lined up and how far I had to swim was a little daunting,” Beck said.
Over the bike course, however, Beck sped into 11th overall by posting the fastest bike time — 4:40.40 — and crushing the next-fastest time by more than 8 minutes. That second-place time belonged to Andy Potts, of Hershey, a 2004 Olympian and one of the top triathletes in the world.
Beck stayed strong and finished with a 2:57.09 marathon and overall time of 9:06.44, which landed him in seventh place overall and first overall for amateurs.
Fesler steady to the finish
Fesler’s advantage is his consistency in all disciplines. He has been swimming since age 10, and it shows. He came out of the water in 50th place overall with a time of 57:02. A time of 5:05.12 on the bike moved him into 12th place, but transitioning to the run portion concerned Fesler.
“Knowing that you still have to run 26.2 miles after biking for five hours, or 112 miles, but then getting off the bike knowing your legs feel great was a big motivator,” he said.
He finished strong with a marathon time of 3:04.07 and a cumulative finish time of 9:14.25, giving him ninth place overall. That made the Carlisle resident the second-fastest amateur of the race and placed him ahead of two-thirds of the professional athletes.
“During the marathon, I started catching the pros, and one of them jokingly mentioned, ‘Why aren’t you racing pro?’” Fesler said.
Williams powers through
Boiling Springs resident Williams had one of the most impressive performances of the day. Battling plantar fasciitis, Williams powered through the day with a 1:09.15 swim time, ending the bike portion at 4:56.25, and finishing the marathon at 3:44.02. His overall time came in at 10:00.11, about 15 minutes slower than his last Ironman, but still qualifying for Kona.
The Lake Placid race featured 2,500 competitors, and the Midstate men snagged three of the 60 slots to participate in the Ironman World Championships. The event will be held Oct. 12 in Kona, Hawaii, and televised on NBC.
“It would be great to finish as the first place amateur and to go faster,” Beck said. “I’m actually just looking forward to the vacation side of things. I’ll race as best I can, but I can’t complain about anything.… We’ll be in Hawaii!”