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Submitted by guest blogger Traci Wagner

Did you know the Tupper Lake Tinman is one of the longest running triathlons in the US? This was its 37th year and my first competing in the race!

The Adirondacks is a place for athletes 

There are so many different races in the Adirondacks, and Tupper Lake Tinman is certainly one to keep in mind for your racing schedule. What I enjoyed most about this race was its laid back atmosphere. The day starts out with parking your car right in the field next to the transition area, making it a very easy morning for checking in your bike and setting everything up for the transition. I brought my dog along with me, and being unsure of what to expect I knew it was a gamble. I was pleasantly surprised to see everyone else had their furry support companion along for race day! 

The morning was easygoing and the athletes around me were friendly and fun to talk to. Everyone was excited to be there — some were doing a triathlon for the first time, while many said they look forward to doing this race every year. Everyone was a lot calmer than the people at some of the Ironman venues I’ve been to, and I enjoyed that. Nothing about race morning felt stressful. Instead, it felt more like a small-town tradition, to get a bunch of triathletes together and enjoy the day racing in a beautiful part of the Adirondacks. 

A great introduction to Tupper Lake 

I haven’t spent much time in Tupper Lake and Tinman was a nice way to experience the area. Tinman strives to accommodate athletes of all abilities, which is why there were four different races taking place: the Tinman, which is a half Ironman distance, and the Olympic, Sprint, and Relay. This is a great event to prepare for any of Lake Placid’s Ironman events, or if you just want to try a fun Adirondack race. 

The weather in the Adirondacks is always hit or miss, but it’s never a game stopper. The only way you can plan is to plan for everything and roll with the punches and have fun no matter what. I woke up early to pouring rain Saturday morning, but as the weather always goes in the Adirondacks, by the time I got to Tupper Lake from Lake Placid, a 45-minute drive, the rain had stopped. Luck was on our side for race day. It turned out to be a nice, cool temperature and the rain held off for the majority of the races, only raining a little bit here and there for the BBQ at the end. 

And we’re off!

The race began with the sprint distance, and everything started and ended near the parking area. This swim was one the hardest I have experienced — it was even harder than my ocean swim in California! I wasn’t expecting it, either. I ran into the water, started swimming strong, and immediately realized just how big the waves were. My original plan was to swim strong and fast, but I had to stop and reevaluate my swimming technique, and instead slow my pace and swim steadily through the waves. So, if you are looking for a race to prepare you for ocean races, this would be a great one! Every race should have its challenging aspects and I give Tupper Lake Tinman’s swim the winner for where the challenge is at. 

The bike course was a lot of fun, a straight out-and-back with consistently rolling hills the entire way. Just as I got done with a climb I was on a fun descent, and it continued like that for the entire way. There were no major killer uphills and I frequently found yourself going downhill fast. I absolutely killed it on the bike! 

The run was a little difficult for me because I went into the race with an injury, but the course was forgiving. The run, just like the bike, was pretty much a straight shot out-and-back. The courses were well marked and there was plenty of traffic control from the local police department and volunteers. I enjoyed the run because I am not familiar with this part of the Adirondacks, and it took me through parts of the village that had an abundance of wildflowers growing alongside the road. Since I had an injured leg and couldn’t run my fastest, I actually took the time to pick a flower and put it in my hair. 

A most enjoyable race

The whole day was a lot of fun, and I have to say out of all the races I have done, I really enjoyed this one for reasons I didn’t expect. I enjoyed the simplicity of it. The way it felt like it was truly a part of the Adirondacks. I enjoyed the modesty of it — it felt pure and honest, like a grassroots style of racing that hadn’t lost its purpose along the way. So often, the beauty of competing in triathlons is way more than just racing and trying to come in first. To so many it means so much more; it isn’t about their placement, it’s about what doing it means to them, and everyone has a different story. I really felt this at this race. 

For me this race was my first race of the season, and it also meant more to me than just racing. To me it was about being present, having fun, enjoying what I was doing, honoring where my body was at, and being proud of how far I’ve come as an athlete. With all that being said, I ended up placing 7th in my age group, 23rd female overall, and 46th place overall male and female! 

If you want to experience a fun, laid-back triathlon in the Adirondacks that also has some challenging aspects to it, the Tupper Lake Tinman is well worth signing up for! You will be sure to walk away feeling accomplished, with a fun day of racing in the Adirondacks in your memory book.