Tag Archives: adirondacks

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 5-6-The Big Chill

Wednesday and Thursday of the week brought about temperatures in the -20 to -30 F range. I had planned on taking a rest day on Wednesday anyway, but with 10-20MPH winds on Thursday, it wound up being back-to-back rest days. We attempted to do a snowshoe at the Flume Trails, but it was so brutally cold and windy we only lasted about 10 minutes. In addition, the snow was frozen so solid that our snowshoe crampons did not even penetrate the snow surface making for extremely awkward walking. Like walking on concrete! It was just not fun. So, what else to do but eat and shop…

[nggallery id=16 template=caption width=600 float=center]

On Wednesday, we stopped over to the new Good Bite Kitchen, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Main St. This is a breath of fresh air in Lake Placid. When we first starting coming up here everything was either steak or pasta, but the last couple years have brought about some more healthy and flavorful options. The Good Bite Kitchen is both of those. The place is quite small and superbly nestled into a little side entranceway to a larger building. Kayte has very creatively made the most of a space that most would deem as not useable. The food here is really great and I highly recommend the Hand Pies. Yum! She is only open for lunch and brunch on Sunday unfortunately, but worth a stop in town. She posts her menu daily(prior to the 11AM opening time) on her Facebook page, and it does change everyday so check it first.
We ended up putzing around town the rest of the afternoon. Stopped in Starbucks for a bit and then Denise did some shopping. Fun 🙁 I was really wishing that the old Aroma Round was still in operation. If you don’t know what that is it is the round UFO-looking building at the end of town on Saranac Ave. It was originally built for one of the Olympic teams during the last Winter Olympics in 1980 and eventually became the original building for High Peaks Cyclery. When we first came up here it was a cool coffee shop called Aroma Round. It was a great place to hang out on a freezing cold day. It has been shut down for the last several years though.

For dinner, we tried another new place called Alegria Garden Cafe. Alegria is also located on Saranac Ave(just down the hill from the Aroma Round bldg) at the front and lower level of the Lake Placid Summit Hotel. They had several vegetarian options on the menu and they also do their best to use local, organic meat and vegetables. We had the Brussel Sprout & Walnut appetizer which was excellent. I cannot believe I am saying that anything with brussel sprouts is amazing, but this surely was. Denise had a Lamb Burger for entree and I had the Beet Risotto. That was the first time had plain lamb and the typical “gamey” taste that I had warned her about was ever present. Not at all a knock on Alegria, that is just how lamb is. The Beet Risotto was awesome. It was quite cheesy and I have not had cheese in awhile, so I was loving life with this dish. We will definitely be coming back here again on our next trip up.

After dinner we headed to the movie theater in town to catch a flick. This is really the only place I ever go to see movies. It is one of those real old type theaters too which is pretty cool in a nostalgic kind of way. Denise wanted to see Les Miserables and I cannot stand musicals, so I ended up seeing Django in the other theater. They have 4. Although Denise showed me the one she was in and I think it was more of a closet than a theater. Django was a Quentin Tarantino film, so it was lots of blood and guts with a little humor thrown in. Every time someone was shot a large, splash of blood would go flying. It was so ridiculous that I could not help but chuckle every time someone was shot.

On Thursday, after our failed attempt at a snowshoe we headed into town for lunch at The Good Bite Kitchen again. Another fabulous lunch! Afterwards I hung out at Starbucks for awhile while Denise did some more shopping. We also stopped at the Fallen Arch Running Store on Main St. which had 40% off Newton running shoes. We talked to the salesman, Bob Tysen, who we later found out was a RAAM competitor. It was a bit ironic since we had just watched the movie “Bicycle Dreams” about a week before, which was about that race. I would highly recommend checking this movie out. I can lend it to you if you live close by. Anyway, Bob had made it all the way to Louisiana in his attempt and was pulled out by his team due to a miscommunication issue and they ran out of gas. Pretty interesting guy with a very decorated past in endurance sports such as long-distance speed skating, mountain-biking, ultra-running, and cycling.

We eventually made our way down to High Peaks Cyclery to peruse their goodies. I usually try to stay away from here after the horrible runaround service they gave me a few year back trying to get my skis waxed. I lost two days of skiing because of their incompetence and they did not do anything to make up for it. They do have some good markdown deals on the upper floor, which are hard to pass up. Denise ended up getting a $200 Patagonia down jacket for $100. So I guess it was worth it. Don’t want to make a habit of it.

Thursday night we headed down to Keene and had dinner at the ADK Café again. Denise got the Earth Plate this time, but was a little disappointed since it did not have all the goodies(i.e. a pile of Kale) like mine did. I ordered the vegetarian Lasagna, which was crazy good! Of course with all the cheese in it, how could it not. No shortage of Vitamin B12 here! I really need to chill on the cheese after this vacation.

Well, that was our two days of inactivity on our vacation, not including travel days. Who says we never relax on vacation? Of course –28 deg F will do that. It is not going to last 3 days, cause I am busting at the seems to get out skiing again. Friday looks to be a little warmer. Well up to 9 deg F anyway…Never thought I would call that warm!


Thanks for reading!

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 4-This Ain’t Disneyworld!

The day started off at -12 F. Cold, but only just the beginning. We enjoyed a healthy breakfast in and relaxed a bit. We took a walk down the road to the nearest trailhead, popped on the snowshoes and headed into the woods for a quick jaunt. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to get our fix in the woods. I brought my DSLR and tripod along with hopes of getting a couple images. There was a mostly-frozen stream that paralleled the trail and I managed to get some images of that. Nothing amazing, but something to wet the whistle a bit.

[nggallery id=15 template=caption width=320]

We had lunch at the apartment and I headed down to Mt. Van Hoevenberg for my afternoon skate-ski. Denise decided to hang in and catch up on some reading in lieu of skiing. When got to the ski lodge the wind was whipping and the snow was falling. The snow was very tiny dense flakes that almost resembled a mist. By the time I got out to ski it had calmed a bit. I made my way across the large stadium field towards the East Mt. Trail. The large puffs of my breath that eminated from my mouth resembled that of a large locomotive rolling across the plains.

The stiffness from the previous days exertion was very present and I pushed on with the hope that eventually it would go away. The cold disappeared on the uphills, but made its reappearance on the downhills. It was like I had just ingested a large bowl of ice cream very quickly and my sinus passages in my screamed for mercy. I retraced the previous days course with the exception of the Ladies 5k trail which I added this day. Most of it was closed, but it added an additional 1.5 miles. I stayed out the entire time, fearing that going in would cause much of my clothing to get wet with sweat and returning out would freeze up. I ended up doing about 9 miles in an hour and a half, which was plenty.

We headed over to Cafe Rustica for dinner. I ordered the Bruschetta appetizer which was a meal in itself. It also had a Red Pepper Hummus which was a nice addition. For dinner, I broke the rules a bit and had a pizza. I got a Magherita pie, light on the cheese, and added some Arugula to help oxygenate the blood a bit. All-in-all a good day out despite the cold. Supposed to be colder tomorrow, so I may need to make it a rest day.


Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 3-Just Chillin’

We decided to eat in for breakfast this morning. I fueled up with a large bowl of Flax Plus Oatmeal and some blended berries from the Magic Bullet. I was not able to make my usual breakfast smoothie since I forgot to get some bananas the day before. Regardless it was a good replacement. I caught up on the previous days blog post and enjoyed a few cups of fresh ground coffee.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the caffeine began coursing through my veins, I was getting primed to get outside and get movin’. Denise was deeply involved in reading so I decided to try out my YakTrax with my minimalist New Balance running shoes. I feared that the YakTrax would dig into the bottom of my foot with the thin sole on my running shoes.

I donned my running garb and headed out the door and up River Road. I could instantly feel the 9 degree(F) air instantly constrict the blood vessels in my lungs as I struggled to extract the oxygen from the freezing cold air. I come from a long line of asthmatics, so any activity in cooler temperatures on my bronchial tubes. Usually resulting in a wheezy couch post-activity that my wife refers to as “The Hockey Cough” from the result of me coming into bed after a late night hockey game.

The YakTrax worked pretty well and I could not feel them through my shoes. I think the coating of snow and ice on the road helped absorb some of the thickness. I noticed if I hit a patch of macadam I could feel them a bit more. I think I actually prefer running on this type of surface. It has some give to it.

After a mile or so, my lungs eventually adjusted to the cold air and I settled into a steady zone 2 pace. I hadn’t really considered how far I was going to run, but since we were planning on skate-skiing later should probably keep it short. When I reached the large meadow by the red barn I realized my toes were really cold. Minimal shoes are basically mesh and don’t provide much protection from the elements. I thought this was a good sign I should probably turn around.

I turned around and headed back towards home. My lungs began a nice steady wheezing sound with each exhale. The cars that passed me gazed at me like I was some kind of freak. What…you never saw someone running on a snowy road in single-digit temperatures before? I ended up going past the house and finished up with a 4 mile run. It felt good to get the blood pumping again after 2 days of eating and doing nothing.

We stopped at the Cascade Cross-Country Ski Centers’ lodge for lunch since my Father-in-law had mentioned they had some vegan options on their menu. It was on the way to Mt. Van Hoevenberg so it made a convenient stop. I had a bowl of their Vegan Chili and the “Keene” wrap, which was a hummus & veg wrap. It was a decent lunch although I didn’t realize how much food it was until I was later browsing their ski shop and my stomach like it was going to burst. Ugghhh! Hope that doesn’t dislodge on the trails!

We finally got to Mt. Van Hoevenberg and were out on the trails by around 2PM. We did the East Mt. Loop first, then headed over towards the Perimeter Loop afterwards. I was surprised how great I felt on the long, steep hills of the East Mt. Loop. I remember not long ago stopping every 50 yards or so just trying to catch my breath. Now I just went up them like they were no big deal. I think all the walking lunges I had been doing at the gym were paying off finally. The uphills were also very welcome as they were a great source of warmth. The downhills, not so welcome…brrrr!

We finished the Perimeter loop and found our way back to the lodge which ended up being around 6 miles. I did a face plant on the East Mt. Loop when a misplant of my new pole sent me flying face first into the snow. Denise seemed to take a large amount of enjoyment in this as she yelled out to the skiier that passed us about a “man down.” I must have hit the stop button on my Garmin when I hit the ground cause I noticed nothing had changed when we went pass the lodge to the Perimeter trail. I don’t think it is was too much I missed though.

I headed out for another 2.5 miles after regaining consciousness to my frozen piggies. Now my sweat-soaked gloves caused my finger tips to freeze ever so quickly. I could not wait to get back to the lodge and thaw them out. The quick 25 minute excursion was a good blast of fast skiing. I had some tunes in and my lungs were screaming at this point. I ended up doing 8.5 miles which is plenty for my first day out this season. Don’t want to be hurting tomorrow. Time to head home, shower and off to dinner.

We decided to go to Milano North for dinner since my wife wanted some meat and they also had a Fusilli-Veggie entrée for me. My meal was pretty good, but it needed a little more flavor so I poured some of the olive oil dip from the bread over it. It did the trick. Made me wonder if they forgot the olive oil sauce it mentioned on the menu. Why is it so hard to add some herbs and garlic to the sauce for some flavor?? My wife had the veal picatta which she was ooohing and aaaahhing over. I have to admit it looked really good. That was one of my favorite dishes back in my carnivore days.

Despite the cold temperatures, it was a great active day outside. Fortunately there was not much wind, so that helps a bit. It snowed very lightly all afternoon and gave it a nice little dusting of snow. It continued through the night too and will hopefully add a new covering on the trails for tomorrow. Until tomorrow.

Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 2-Acclimatization

The first day of our Winter trip usually consists more of acclimatization to our environment than activity. This year was no different. We started off the day heading into town for breakfast at the Breakfast Club. As we headed out the door, Denise noticed that it was raining out in addition to being extremely windy. We turned around and went back in to get our rain jackets. By the time we came back out again it had turned to snow. Heavy, blowing snow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As we wound our way down River Rd., the snow continued to fall. The road was re-covered again by the time we go out to RT. 86, a distance of 2-3 miles. By the time we got into town it was really dumping and it continued most of the morning. We had a nice breakfast and I switched from being plant-based to a vegetarian for a bit since I ordered a big stack of pancakes with maple syrup. Mmmmm. Not planning on making a habit of that, but for vacation I guess I can splurge a bit.

After breakfast we headed over to Placid Planet Bike Shop to drop our skate skis off to get waxed. Usually deciding what type of temperature wax to get for the week is a major decision. You need to assess the forecasted temperatures and conditions for the week and then decide which was will work best with those conditions. Sometimes you put one temperature wax on top of another so that the one wears off as the temps change. This year was fairly simple, since they were expecting single-digit to below zero temps most of the week. We chatted with the shop owner for a bit and did some window shopping.

We cruised around town a bit looking for any changes that happened since our last trip in July. We noticed that several places had moved buildings which seemed to be a trend. We stopped in the local Eastern Mountain Sports(EMS) shop to do some shopping there. There was a 30% North Face stuff going on so we had to check that out.


I picked up a EMS wind barrier top I had been looking at for the last year for 50% off. It was usually $80 and I just could never justify that price. $40 and its mine….sweet. It pays to be patient! We headed back to the apartment for a while and did some reading and relaxation. Vacation rules!
For lunch we headed down to Saranac Lake. We ate at the Blue Moon Cafe. I had their Nadaburger which was comprised of beans, grains and veggies which was awesome. I also had a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. I don’t usually have beer at lunch, but hey…I’m on vacation. Denise got the Curry Bowl, which is usually a dinner item, but they were out of the two things she ordered so they conceded on that. We stopped in the sporting goods/outdoor shop down the street after lunch and I scored a new pair of Madshus carbon skate ski poles for $40. I was pretty stoked about that. I was still using my first pair cheesy pair of steel poles and I think these will speed my up a ton. Yeah right. We checked out the local health food store and picked up a few items.


We made our way back to Lake Placid and picked up our freshly waxed

Tri Phone Bike Bento Box
Tri Phone Bike Bento Box

skiis. I also picked up a cool bike bento box that has a smartphone holder on the top. I thought this would be great for following mapped bike routes on my iPhone. You can actually use the phone through the cover. The other benefit is that that compartment is huge and I can fit a ton of grub in there. I would not use it for races, but for long Saturday rides it should be perfect.

We headed back to the apartment and did some more reading and napping a little. Shopping and eating wear me out. 🙂 The snow had continued to fall off and on throughout the afternoon. The temperatures continued to fall during the day. It was 36 deg F when we left the apartment in the morning and it was around 9 deg F when I went to bed. We ended up staying in for dinner since we weren’t all that hungry when dinner time rolled around. Give it hell tomorrow I guess.


Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 1-The Long Haul North

Yuki Hides in the Covers
While packing for our Winter Vacation Yuki hides under the covers.

The bike racks were removed from the top of the CR-V and the ski box replaced them. I then loaded up the gear and a few items of clothing, funny how there is more gear-related items packed than regular clothing, and we are on our way again to our annual winter pilgrimage to Lake Placid. We have been making this winter trip now for over 10 years and it never gets old. The week leading up to this trip had wiped out much of the mass of snow they had had previously and reports from Mt. Van Hoevenberg indicated closing of trails. Not good. We tossed around the idea of rescheduling, but with my mind already set to “vacation-mode” I said we must push on and take what it gives us. Last winter was not the greatest as warm temps wiped out all the snow after only 2 days of skiing. The forecast looked promising with chance of snow each day and VERY cold temperatures. We pushed on.

As we made our way up I-87 North, we anticipated our lunch stop at Karma Road in New Paltz, NY. A great little vegetarian restaurant at the end of the main street in town. To our chagrin, we spotted the large closed sign hanging in the window as we approached. The inside looked a bit cleared out which caused me to fear they closed down for good. I parked and ran up to read the sign in the window which put my fears to rest stating they were closed until January 25th for their winter vacation. At least we could stop on the way home now. We walked through town to find an alternative and spotted the Earthgoods market well stocked with healthy groceries and some take away foods. We enjoyed some vegan sushi, homemade bean soup, and coconut water at the little table at the front of the store. Not sure if they meant it for that but it worked out. Disaster averted.

The remainder of trip up was pretty uneventful. We listened to the first half of the book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Dr. Robert H. Lustig on the way up which really made the time go by. The book was very interesting and although he gives you the resulting “bad guy” early on in the book, the process of how he comes to that conclusion is quite interesting. It does get a bit technical at times, but he does a decent job of bringing it back to layman’s terms. I will try to do a more informative review of this book later after I finish the other half. The funny thing was the first half download from Audible.com finished exactly as we pulled into our host vacation home driveway. So far the book is consistent with my current food intake which is reassuring.

ADK Cafe's Earth Plate
ADK Cafe’s Earth Plate-Kale, Cauliflower, Red Curry Quinoa, and Sauerkraut.

As we approached the Town of Keene just prior to reaching Lake Placid, we stopped at the ADK Cafe for dinner. This is one of our new favorites up there with their local, organic foods and my favorite, The Earth Plate! Tonight they had a special appetizer too which consisted of pita with hummus, red pepper dip, white bean dip and some other little goodies. A good pre-cursor to the Earth Plate. I also enjoyed a couple Davidson Brothers IPA’s from Maine which were just what the doctor ordered(not Dr. Lustig anyway) after a long drive. The Earth Plate was a pile of plant-based goodness consisting of cauliflower, kale, red curry quinoa, homemade sauerkraut and some brussel sprouts(my new favorite now). Great end to a long drive.

We then headed up the mountain to Lake Placid. The lights at the Ski jumps were glowing in the night sky as we approached River Road. They were having some ski jumping events going for a couple days and there was a good amount of spectators making their way. We bypassed that and made our way to our favorite little den just outside of Lake Placid. Ahhhh….vacation time!


Ironman Lake Placid 2012 Trip Report–Pre-Race Day

My eyes pried themselves open around 5:30AM for the first time after a good nights sleep. Something about being in the mountains that enables me to sleep so well. It must be the fresh air and the fact that I don’t have work on my mind. We headed into Lake Placid early for breakfast at the Breakfast Club since we were not sure if it would be crowded or not. It was not. At least at that time. I deviated a bit from my plant-based diet by having some pancakes, but they were yummy. Oh well, 80/20 rule is now in effect. After breakfast, we headed back to the house, I geared up and headed out on my 2:30 bike ride. I did a modified loop of the Ironman bike course. Mainly cutting off the out-and-back to Ausable Forks and cutting off the ride through Lake Placid by going down River Rd. The ride was 42 miles and took about 2:30 which is exactly what I need to do. After I got done that I quickly changed into my run gear for 36 minute brick run. I always feel so good doing brick workouts, why does it never feel that good in races???

[nggallery id=2]

We headed back into town after getting cleaned up for some lunch at Pan Dolce. It was the first time we ate there and it was quite good. I got back on track with a really good black bean salsa burger and a side salad. After lunch we headed over to the Olympic oval to check out the Expo and Ironman Store. I wanted to get a bike jersey, but they were sold out of my size. May have been a good thing as I usually have bad luck buying a event bike jersey before I do the event. i.e. Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3. I ended up just getting a M-Dot golf shirt and a water bottle. Should be safe with that I hope. We then headed over to see one of my wife’s old high school friends, who we will call Kathy. Kathy had rented a gorgeous house on Mirror Lake Drive with some of her friends and two brothers. Kathy’s brother and another guy staying there were competing in the Ironman Lake Placid event on Sunday. It was cool talking to them and getting a feel for what they were anticipating. Everyone there was really nice at the house and I felt like I knew these people for a long time. The house was in the perfect location for watching IMLP being on Mirror Lake Drive since the bike and run course both use this road for 2 loops each. It also sat up high with Adirondack Chairs on the front-lawn and even a private little beach across the road. They graciously offered us dinner, but we had planned on hitting Cafe Rustica and I didn’t want to be picky with my non-carnivorous ways. One thing was funny was that my wife had told her friend about my plant-based, vegan diet so when they offered us dinner she said “oh that’s right you’re vegan.” It was the first time I had heard someone other than me or my wife say it. It was a bit of a reality check. Never thought I would ever hear those words. Our dinner at Cafe Rustica was very good. I had Gnocchi with Vegetables which was a good, healthy belly-filler. I love gnocchi! We headed back to the house after dinner and settle in for the night. Tomorrow was going to be a long day so a good nights rest was in order.