Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rev3 Knoxville Race Report - 28th Place

For the past 3 years I’ve kicked off my tri season at Rev3 Knoxville, and this year was no different.  If you’ve never attended a Rev3 race or Knoxville in particular, I highly recommend it.  Rev3 puts on a great event and the Knoxville area is pretty awesome.  The swim is in the river in the center of the city, the bike course immediately heads out of Knoxville into the surrounding hills that is technical yet fair and the run course is mostly a Greenway path along the river with a “nice” climb in the final ½ mile to the finish.  Add together a great course with the family atmosphere the Rev3 provides and this makes an overall great event.

Similar to last year, I did not come alone and my 4-year old son and dad decided to join me on this trip.  We headed out of Detroit on Friday and after more than a 9-hour drive, we arrived.  Looking at the forecast on Saturday, I looked like the only dry part of the weekend would be Saturday morning.  After that, it was going to get wet.  The good news is that my Saturday ride/run was dry and went well.  The bad news is that it started to rain right after I finished my run and continued until after we left on Sunday.  And when I say rain, I don’t mean a light rain to wet the pavement.  This was an all-day, steady, soaker type of rain with a 100% chance of rain during the race itself.  As a result, it was time to re-evaluate my goals for the race and my race strategy.  Simply put my original goals coming in were the following:

1. Hammer the Swim
2. Hammer the Bike
3. Hammer the Run

My experience with Olympic distance racing is that it is pretty much an all out effort from start to finish and there is no time where you take it easy.  Also, since I raced the same course last year, I was really looking to see how my fitness compared.  Also, with Ironman Florida 70.3 2-weeks later, I wanted to use this to gain insight into my pacing strategy.  So with the rain, I knew there would be minimal information I could compare to last year, so my race goals were now:

1. Hammer the swim
2. Survive the bike – keep the rubber side down

Simply put, I kept an eye on the bigger picture of my season and decided to avoid any additional unnecessary risks on race day, and approach the bike with caution.  Last year I hit a pothole 6 days before Ironman Louisville causing me to flip over the bars resulting in scraps on my back, hip, a cracked helmet, and a stiff neck that took several weeks to go away.  With a long season ahead of me I did not want to jeopardize my season at my first race of the year.

BMC TM01 Ready to Roll!
Race day morning was exactly as forecasted: wet and cold.  The temperature was in the mid-50s and the rain was steadily falling.  My hotel was about ½ mile from Transition, and I was nearly soaked by the time I got there.  For those that don’t know, the Transition area is the first floor of a parking garage, and on a day like today, being covered and out of the wind and rain was perfect.  After going through my typical pre-race prep and warm-up, it was time to head to the swim start.  As we entered the 60F water, it was cool, but not cold.  After a couple of minutes we lined up at the start line waiting for the horn to sound off.  We were all fairly spread out along the start line, and I ended up being in the middle.  Finally it was time to start moving and get warm.  After it horn sounded, I tried to quickly find a pair of feet to draft off during the upstream portion of the swim.  That lasted about a couple of hundred meters until I fell off the back, and had to swim the rest of the race solo.  Once I made the turn at about 500m and headed back downstream, the current helped make up some to the time we lost fighting it upstream.  I exited the water in 20:30, a personal best for me (although it was no doubt aided by the downstream current, but less drafting than last year, so maybe it cancelled out….) and headed off the on the ¼ mile run to Transition.  T1 was uneventful, as I was able to quickly get in and out on my bike.

Rev3 Made it easy to find my Transition Spot
Those first few miles on the bike were interesting to say the least.  At first, my shoe straps were stuck together on each shoe, so I had a hard time getting both feet in.  Once that was done, it was now time to focus on staying upright.  First rule: avoid slippery surfaces such as lane lines and manhole covers.  When wet, those surfaces are like ice.  As my glasses intermittently fogged, and I tried to avoid any other unknown hazards hiding under the puddles and the water streaming over the roads.  Throughout the bike, I felt good.  I was able to hold more power up all the climbs compared to last year, but this time I took it easy on the downhills.  With that said, I still hit almost 40 mph on a couple of parts of the course (as compared to 43 mph last year).  Even with holding back, I was able to make a couple of passes to get up to 27th position at the start of the run.  Unfortunately, my power meter didn’t record for the first couple of miles, so while the rest of my ride looked good, I don’t have a good summary for power over the entire course.  Total bike time was 1:04:22


T2 was similar to T1.  Pretty uneventful and efficient in getting onto the run course.   As I ran down the ramp onto the run course, I could instantly tell my legs were not moving like I planned.  I wasn’t cold, and they didn’t hurt, they were just stiff, heavy and it felt like my stride was a little shorter than normal.  As I maintained my pace, I just could not find any more speed in my legs.  They just seemed stuck at about 6:05-6:10 min/mile pace.  So as I ran through puddle after puddle, some of them ankle deep, I just focused on maintaining my form and hold steady through the finish.  Finally, I made the turn for the final ½ mile run uphill to the finish.  As I crossed the finish line I was happy to be done, as this was an EPIC day.   My run split was 38:04, for a total race time of 2:07:30 and I finished 28th Male Pro.

Even though my time was not my best and not everything went as planned, the conditions were the worst I have ever raced in, and I am satisfied with my performance.  There were a few things I would have done differently, but there were some promising signs and I definitely learned a lot about racing in the cold and rain.

My race report would not be complete without thanking those that helped me get to the starting line.  Most importantly thanks to my wife and kids for the their continued support and patience.

In addition, special thanks to Fraser Bicycle (www.fraserbicycle.com), BMC Bicycles (www.bmc-racing.com), SLS3 (www.slstri.com), Spy Optics (www.spyoptics.com), NormaTec (www.normatec.com), First Endurance (www.firstendurance.com), BK Training Systems (www.bktrainingsystems.com) and X-1 Audio (www.x-1audio.com) for your support as I kick off my 2013 race season!

Also, check out the Rev 3 Race Recap Video: http://vimeo.com/65537254

I know I am a little late in getting this report out, so check back shortly for my Ironman Florida 70.3 Race Report!

1 comment:

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