July 21, 2011


Triathletes competing in Ironman race

2 SUNY Cortland instructors will swim, bike, run along 140-mile course on Sunday

TriathlonBob Ellis/staff photographer
Corey Ryon, right, rides ahead of Brian Tobin as they make their way along Route 215 in Cortlandville, training for an upcoming triathlon.

Staff Reporter

Two Cortland residents will jump into Mirror Lake Sunday to begin a grueling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run at the 13th annual Lake Placid Ironman competition.
SUNY Cortland lecturer Corey Ryon and college swim coach Brian Tobin will be among the approximately 3,000 participants who enter the water en masse. The group is gradually culled, with about 2,400 expected to finish, Ryon said.
It is the first Ironman competition for Ryon and Tobin, who are friends. Tobin is alderman in the city’s 4th Ward and running for mayor as a Democrat.
Ryon, 37, and Tobin, 40, have been training together for the challenge, biking as much as 100 miles a day or running 13 miles before “cooling down” with a swim. Their training workouts are not always that long, however, sometimes consisting of a 30-mile bike ride followed by a 6-mile run.
Ryon said he blames his wife, Ilona, for being the reason he signed up for the challenge. She did the race last year, and Ryon said that, combined with the fact he has other friends doing the race this year, motivated him to join.
The training began about a year ago when he signed up after volunteering at last year’s Lake Placid Ironman. But Ryon said that as a triathlete, his training never really ends.
“Once you get into triathlons, you’re always training,” he said.
Ryon typically rises early enough to begin his training at 6:30 a.m. During the summer he has more time but he said it is challenging to balance the training with a work schedule.
Four years ago, Ryon became involved in the sport through Kevin Crossman, with whom he graduated and swam at SUNY Cortland. Ryon was a distance freestyler, so the swim portion of Sunday’s race does not concern him.
Ryon said he expects the biking to be the hardest and anticipates “hitting a wall” at about the 22nd mile of the run.
But the cheering crowds and support of friends and family will keep him going, he said.
The race is organized with the athletes’ safety in mind, with food and water stations at every mile of the run and every tenth mile of the ride, as well as designated cutoff times for each leg of the race.
Any athlete still in the water after 9:20 a.m. will be fished out, any rider still biking the first loop after 1:30 p.m. will be pulled off the course, as will any rider after 5:30 p.m. on the second loop of the ride. Runners who have not completed the first loop of the run by 9 p.m. will be pulled out and the race ends at midnight.
Ryon said his goal is simple: to finish. But he hopes to complete it in about 13 hours. The winner of last year’s competition finished in 8 hours and 39 minutes.
On race day, Ryon, who weighs about 190 pounds, plans to consume 1,500 calories for breakfast and about 400 calories every hour on the bike. Athletes can burn about 10,000 calories during the race, he said. He will also eat and drink while running but will not carry any food with him as the bike course is hilly and windy and the less weight on his carbon fiber Cervelo bike, the better.
Ryon said he feels healthy and strong because of his daily training. But the event itself is what he is looking forward to the most. To him, completing a triathlon is the biggest reward.
“Actually doing the events, the joy of the feeling you get after you cross the finish line, seeing what you accomplished,” Ryon said.
The Lake Placid Ironman is the second oldest Ironman event in North America. The bike course runs through the Adirondacks and the swim takes place in Mirror Lake, according to the website


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