This past Sunday was the inaugural Rev 3 Knoxville Olympic distance triathlon. This was my first Pro outing in 2010. Although the results were not what I had hoped for this was a great race held at a great venue.
Swim 1500: 18:41
To sum up the swim in a sentence it was the worst triathlon swim I've ever had. Race morning was cool, air temp 50 degrees at race time and 69 degree water. A year ago we would have been wearing wetsuits, but due to the new pro wetsuit cutoff temperature the water was 1 degree above the wetsuit cutoff. So no wetsuits. I got to the swim start in time for about a 5 minute warmup swim. In hindsight I should have just kept the warmups on, done armswings and jumping jacks as warmup, and jumped in the water the last minute before the start. It wasn't long after I got in before my teeth started chattering and I was getting cold fast. I had done a short swim on Saturday and the water didn't feel too bad but then again I swam in a wetsuit on Saturday and the air was 85 degrees not 50. To make matters worse the race started about 10 minutes late. They lined us up for the start but then had an invocation. Then they lined us up for the start again but had the national anthem instead. A lot of people were yelling at the starter to get us going. Finally after about 10 minutes floating around without a wetsuit in 69 degree water the race started and I was off the back from the get-go. The body never came around and I exited the water a full 3 minutes down on the lead swimmers which is about 2 minutes slower than normal for me. The swim alone took me out of the race.
Bike 40k: 23.1mph
I got onto the bike as one of the last pro men and almost immediately regretted not putting on gloves and arm warmers. There was a steady northerly wind and I was cold. The air didn't feel all that cold to me warming up but then again I warmed up with four layers on and being in 69 degree water unprotected for 30min probably had me a little cold to begin with as well. The bike course was on narrow roads and very technical, it gave a huge advantage to two types of racers; those who knew the course and those who rode fearless. I was neither. My one attempt to preview the course in the car on Saturday resulted in me getting lost in downtown Knoxville and not having the patience to figure out the course. Big mistake. The course was far more challenging than I expected. With so many blind curves and not knowing the course I was braking when I didn't need to and riding very hesitant. Call me crazy but I'm just not willing to dive bomb a downhill blind curve at 35+ mph when I can't see all the way around the curve and have never previewed the course. It would have also been nice to have known about the two separate ~2 mile climbs that were on the course, I didn't expect those and was pretty much gassed half way up each. The cold was another big challenge, at one point I thought I might have to pull over because my hands had gotten so cold I was having trouble grabbing my brakes. Was also shivering pretty good on the descents which was causing my entire bike to wobble. I know of at least one other pro who DNF'd due to cold. Was just happy to get into T2 with the rubber side down.
Run 10k: 35:36
After struggling to get my shoes on in T2 due to lack of feeling in the hands I was off on the run. I think I had a decent run in me but by that point my fate had long since been been sealed and I ran pretty uninspired, enjoying watching the Pro men's and women's races play out and cheering all my friends and age groupers on the out-and-back run.
Overall: 2:03:50 21st place
Finished 21st out of 24 male pros and two of the people who I beat walked most of the run with injuries, although there were a decent number of DNFs as well. It was my lowest placing ever in a triathlon, even two spots lower than I placed at the 70.3 World Champs in 2008. Certainly not the race result I wanted or drove 400 miles for but I'm not going to beat myself up over it because I know I'm far better than the results show. From simply previewing the bike course, not freezing myself out of a good swim, and running hard I would have dropped several minutes. It wouldn't have been a top ten finish, but I know I'm much more fit right now than the results show.
This was my first experience in a Rev3 race and it was very positive. I encourage everyone to enter a race in this exciting new series which is gaining momentum fast. The venues are thoroughly researched and the courses are carefully and strategically planned out. Despite not knowing the bike course I thought it was a fantastic and challenging route. I kept thinking how much more fun it would be taking those curves at high speed if I actually knew the course. I was very impressed with the city of Knoxville as well, it seemed like a great place for a multisport athlete to live. I really liked how you literally cross the bridge out of town and are instantly on nice country roads. Race morning also had one of the prettiest sunrises I've ever seen over the Tennessee River (see pic below courtesy of slowtwitch). The rest of the race pics are courtesy of Ryan Bates. From here I'll head to Memphis in May in two weeks which should be a good opportunity to place high and build some confidence in a less talented pro field. I made the tough decision not to rest at all for Memphis (as I did for this race) and save the peak for June 6. It was very tempting to rest and try to match or better my runner-up finish in Memphis from 2008. Now I'll just try to do it without resting! On June 6 is the Kansas 70.3, Mooseman 70.3 in New Hampshire, and Rev 3 half in Connecticut. I'm entered in all three and will decide in the coming weeks which one to go after. Thanks for reading, Daniel