Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The "Very Average" Race

Last weekend, I tried my hand at an Olympic distance, non draft race down in Knoxville, TN.  REV 3 Knoxville has been a very competitive race the last couple of years, and I was eager to get to race a REV 3 event. I had only heard positive things about the race company, and I can add that I had a great experience at the race (before and after) despite the cold temps (I hate cold, 58 degree water), and rain. They did a great job to make everybody have a world class experience.

I got into Knoxville a few days before the race and the race site was right below my hotel, which is such a great convenience.  I met up with some of the REV 3 staff, and thanked them for having me race their pro race.  The day before the race, I tested out the water and it was undeniably cold.  Yes, my body warmed up well in my XTERRA wetsuit, but my head was frozen. It would prove to be difficult conditions for the race.

One example of how REV 3 is pushing the sport forward is this PRO transition area.
On race morning, I woke up at 5 am to shake out. It was not raining yet, but by the end of my run, I felt drops coming.  For the 8 am pro start, the rain was coming down steadily and it was pretty cold on the ground.  We jumped in and "warmed up" a bit before the cannon.  Immediately, my goggles fogged up. I was wearing older sweedish ones I had that felt like the straps were more snug than my main sweeds that broke the day before. It may have been that combined with the frigid temps that made my vision limited.  I could not sight ahead of me with this, so I sighted to a green cap in my wave.  Knowing that the different colored caps were given to past winners and/or world champs, I figured I was safe.  I exited next to that green cap, who happened to be Conrad Stoltz (5 time XTERRA World Champ, and 2- time Olympian).  Problem with this situation was, he could bike about 5 minutes or more into me.  I swam slower than many people that I can usually swim with, and this was completely my fault for poor sighting and being comfortable sighting off somebody else and not leaders.
I am running up the boat ramp right behind Conrad and Dan McIntosh.
After a quick T1, exiting before both those that I came out of the water with (advantage of ITU racing is quick transitions), I was quickly and unceremoniously passed by Conrad. I tried to match him but was pretty anaerobic and couldn't maintain his pace and power.  My legs just did not have much power to them. I also did not get to ride the course the day before, so I was pretty cautious on the downhills, which cost a bit of time.  I did pass 2 cars on descents, so that was a mixture of cool and scary. I was about 2- minutes down to the main pack at the only turn around on the course, and about 1:30 up on another pack. I was riding solo, and gave up some more time the second half to both groups. James Burns and a few guys from US Pro Tri team caught me 2- miles from transition and we rode in together (legally).
My feet were frozen. More frozen than the Del Valley duathlon a few weeks ago. My second toe was curled up under my foot when I got off my bike and was slowly returning to its normal position.  Getting running shoes on was tough, but I took off with James Burns. We dropped a few guys early and were running well through 2.7 miles together. It was fun running with him as we raced a conference 10K track final a few years ago together in the CAA conference.  We both are victims of teams being cut.  Muscularly, I had nothing left when he made a move on me, so I just did as much as I could to limit the damage.  34:20 was my 10K split, which was okay. Again, just an average day. I am glad I finished, but know I can do a lot better than this.
After the race, I showered (and thawed out) and got going home. I have two weeks until another non draft race in Columbia, MD and then two more until the Dallas Continental Cup, which is my big goal race to run well in during the first half of the season as the U23 winner gets a bid to World champs.

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