Published on: April 12, 2023

Ironman Lake Placid 2023

Lake Placid – Racers in the annual Ironman Lake Placid, part of the Vinfast Ironman North America Series, have learned not to be fooled by the beautiful scenery on these competition courses in Upstate New York.

Swimming, biking and running in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountains definitely has aesthetic appeal, but if athletes are not ready on July 23 for the Lake Placid Ironman course, totaling 140.6 miles, the result can be punishing.

For nearly 25 consecutive years, the 2.4-mile swim in Mirror Lake begins the race for over 2,000 competitors, where the current water temperature is 72 degrees. It’s followed by 112 miles of biking and a full, 26.2-mile marathon. And while the scenery here is unmatched, the final two legs of this endurance battle are among the most strenuous in Ironman’s lineup of global events.

Athletes who’ve been coming to Lake Placid in the weeks leading up to race day an attest to a wet summer in this region. Fortunately, we have been spared the flooding problems of other areas and our water levels are very close to normal.

The Cascade Lakes on Route 73 along the bike course are fractionally higher. Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, where the opening swim leg occurs, has been delightful this summer with plenty of recreational activity taking place.

Yet, we still have to keep an eye on the weather.

As of this writing (July 13), weather apps are showing the potential for wet race conditions on July 23. However, we have seen locally this summer that many of these storms are hyper-local – what’s taking place in one area is not happening just a few miles away. Nevertheless, please bring a variety of weather apparel, appropriate for wet and sunny and warm.

Triathlete crosses finish line
Rasmus Svenningsson of Sweden wins the men’s division of Ironman Lake Placid in 2021

Ironman Lake Placid – where to stay

The Mirror Lake Inn has traditionally been one of the top Lake Placid Ironman hotels. Every day, our AAA Four Diamond retreat is known for its cleanliness and friendliness. Ironman athletes and families also appreciate the inn’s quiet demeanor and luxe accommodations that allow racers to gain critical rest before and after July 23. The resort’s location is also appealing; it overlooks the swim course – you can enter the lake from our private beach – and is just down the street from the transition area for the biking and running legs of the event.

The bike segment

The bike leg is held over two loops, each measuring 56 miles, and includes a long, screaming high-speed downhill section on Route 73 from Lake Placid to Keene, followed by a tortuous climb into Upper Jay.

It culminates with an 11-mile rise from Wilmington, past the entrance to Whiteface Mountain, through the winding and narrow Wilmington Notch, moves along the famous Ausable River, up the wall of Route 86 as the athletes get closer to Lake Placid and a ride past the 1980 Olympic Center, site of the Miracle on Ice. That 11-mile section alone offers an 850-foot vertical ascent.

Run to the finish

The run is a similar challenge, with a pair of 13-plus mile loops. Again, the scenery is memorable and the sites on course are famous, including the Olympic ski jumps. That portion of Route 73 presents one of two severe climbs in the final stages of each loop. The other is on Sentinel Road in Lake Placid with another attention-getting uphill leg burner to a traffic light. That signal will tell you that the transition area and finish line are very near.

Speaking of the finish, all athletes must complete the entire course by midnight to get an official result. The top finishers in each age group will qualify for the World Championship held annually in the fall in Hawaii.

So the stage is now set. We hope you reach peak performance on race day on your way to an Ironman personal best!

(Photos courtesy Ironman)