Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | News | Local News | Contact Us | Home RSS

GIVING BACK: Placid motorcycle enthusiast captains Ironman transports

September 8, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - When Fred Ryman grew up in Montevideo, Minnesota, the sight of motorcycles dotting the state's scenic southwest farmland, prairies and river valleys was a common occurrence.

"It's flat as far as you can see," Ryman said.

"I've been riding my whole life," he added, "and where I'm from everyone rode motorcycles. When I learned how to ride a bicycle, a month later I learned how to ride a mini moto."

Article Photos

Fred Ryman of Lake Placid, with his lab Kiwa at his side, sits atop the motorcycle he will ride as the captain of the “Media Motos” team of motorcycle transport volunteers during Sunday’s inaugural Ironman Lake Placid 70.3.
(Lake?Placid News photo — Antonio Olivero)

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the view Ryman looks out on from a front porch on Hillcrest Avenue is much different than those of his childhood. Located yards away from the Crowne Plaza Resort at the top of downtown Lake Placid's most iconic hill, late afternoon September storm clouds cling to the tops of the Sentinel Range wilderness as if summer's clinging to the Adirondacks.

In many ways, it is. And with the launch of the inaugural Ironman Lake Placid 70.3 triathlon race on Sunday, Sept. 10, the busy summer event season in and around this Olympic village will be extended into a typically less busy time of year when fall foliage begins to pop and hints of winter's wrath emerge.

Before the snow starts to flurry, though, come Saturday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m., Ryman?- for the seventh year and eighth time overall -?will gather his team of motorcycle transports. They are Ironman's "Media Motos."

The Media Motos sit in the front of their motorcycle saddles while credentialed members of the media, and other event officials, ride at the rear of their bikes. Most all Media Motos take place during the Ironman's bike portion, which on Sunday will wind through such mountainous terrain as the Cascade Pass that links Lake Placid to Keene.

During the typical Ironman Lake Placid 140.6 each July, Ryman said there are about 15 Media Motos. But for this smaller inaugural event on Sept. 10, it'll just be Ryman and a team of five others - one local and four from out of town - who will drive media members, race judges and course marshalls to where they want to be on the race course.

For each race, passengers are assigned at the 10 a.m. Saturday meeting to a motorcycle, where they are introduced to whom they'll be riding with. Then, after everyone is assigned, it's tradition for the newly-introduced pairs to ride the scenic 56-mile course.

Come Sunday morning, Ryman said he takes the Media Motos over to the race's swim start at about 6 a.m., to watch the pomp and circumstance of the beginning of the race at the Mirror Lake Beach.

Then, as the swim portion nears its conclusion, Ryman's team goes behind Lake Placid High School to transport their passengers wherever they'd like to go.

Some of those passengers are course marshalls, who, for example, keep a close eye on the best competitors biking on state Route 9N from Keene through Upper Jay and Jay and into AuSable Forks.

"That is the flattest area and that's where the judges really tend to want to be," Ryman said, "because that's where drafting would take place, as I understand it."

Media Motos and their passengers are also located elsewhere on the course, either patrolling in tricky spots or desiring to take photos very far away from Lake Placid's village limits.

It's not uncommon for competitors to drop items on the course, perhaps an energy bar or water bottle, that could impact cyclists behind them. And then there are instances such as when a cyclist lost a pump and a pedal on a portion of state Route 73 near the Cascade Pass that curves steeply down into Keene.

In the middle of the course, somebody had to retrieve the items, and out there as a Media Moto, Ryman took it upon himself.

"That could have been real trouble," he said. "So we stop and get stuff like that."

Along with this volunteerism to ensure the bike portion of the race is completed without a hitch, Ryman said working as a Media Moto also fosters quick friendships, as strangers are seated right up against each other.

Friendships, and even in one case romance. Two years ago, one of the course marshalls in Lake Placid tasked with spotting the course for fouls was a woman from England. She was paired with a male volunteer. The next time Ryman heard from them, they were an item.

"You know," Ryman said, "you get to know your passengers right away."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web