This past weekend was the second running of the Rev3 olympic distance race in Knoxville, TN. Now those of you that know much about me know I have some southern roots, a grandmother still in TN, and a soft spot for southern cuisine. This trip afforded me an opportunity to take advantage of all the above with a post race trip to Grandma’s and some good eating. Unfortunately I was solo for the trip because Natalie is still not feeling great and a week long trip to the south didn’t seem like a great idea.
If you have never done a Rev3 race I seriously suggest you check them out! They have trucks, and jumbo-trons and all the bells and whistles of a major organization and they put on some great races. This year that had a TV crew on hand to catch the action and put out little clips both before and during the race in preparation for a syndicated airing later on.
I got to Knoxville on Friday and true to southern hospitality was given the keys to an awesome loft right next to the finish line. A huge thanks to Peter Quinn for generously providing an awesome place to stay! After building the bike it was time to meet up with Greg and his TV crew to film some pre race interviews and some b roll stuff for the tv show. It was nice to see the crew again and talk a little bit about the sport, how to make it better for TV and how this telecast was gonna go. They did a good job of hyping up the race between Leanda/Julie and Matt/Me and at least on the guys side we gave them the show they were looking for. Unfortunately I didn’t come out on top, but it was another really solid performance and some motivation for the future.
Morning of the race was cool but the rain was holding off so it was setting up to be good weather for some fast racing. Similar to marathons, if it is warm enough that you are not actually cold, about 60, then it is prime weather for fast racing. Woke up and downed the now ritualistic breakfast of maple and brown sugar oatmeal, EFS lemon lime with a half scoop of First Endurance Pre-Race. I LOVE coffee but just never drink it before a morning race, so gotta get my kick start for somewhere. Then it was time to ride around a bit and end up at transition to set up the bike and go for an easy jog. The weather was chilly and had been for a week so the swim was gonna be a wetsuit one. As a swimmer I would prefer to not wear the wetsuits but since it was so cold glad to have my Blue Seventy Helix.
Before the gun went off we were only allowed about 5 mins in the water so wasn’t much of a warm up but got in a few strokes, lined up, and hit the gas. Had a good start going straight to the front and then settled into a good rhythm an led the train out to the first buoy. About half way through the swim I was comfortable leading but the chop on the river once we turned to head back was pretty solid so when Flash came up on my hip I glady dropped in on his feet and took a ride to the dock.
Once on the bikes I slammed some Hulk Juice ( 1 scoop EFS LL, 1/2 scoop Pre-race, 1 vanilla gel) and started to hammer out a good cadence. I caught Flash about 3 miles in and from there on it was time to put the boys in the hurt box. I knew Matty and Yoder were fairly close behind but I kept it moving really trying to hammer the uphills and stay aero on the down hills. For the record, this is the most honest, technical non-draft bike course out there, I LOVE IT! At the one turn around I saw Andrew and Matt and then the main chase group a bit back and knew that there was still room to build a lead so heading into the last major climb I planned on hitting the gas. Ironically, that was the same time when Andrew came up next to me and the video that has been going around of me shaking my head came about. I saw him come up on me and pretty much decided that just was not gonna fly. So in an effort to squash the pass right away I hammered into and up the climb, making sure to rep the 303 as best I could. By the time I got to T2 I didnt know how big a lead I had but it never really matters you still gotta haul on the run so into the Pearl Izumi Transitions I went and onto the run.
Honestly, I have rarely felt better than I did at the start of the run and all the way to the turn around I felt in control. When I hit the turn around I knew I still had a good lead on Matty, but I also know how fast those long ass legs can run and I did what I could to keep upping my effort. With about a mile to go I hit an aid station and just as I was getting out of it I heard them yelling at someone else, NOT GOOD! Matt had run me down in a hurry and as we headed back to transition I could hear the foot steps. When we came by me we were on a slight downhill and I did my best to surge and stay with him. After about a quarter mile though the bike effort set in and I just could not hold the pace. I did what I could up the hill to the line but could never quite make up the gap again.
2nd place is sort of like a back handed compliment. Its good, I mean you need to be happy about beating the quality of people I did and riding as well as I am, but at the same time, that’s two in a row where I got caught within the last 2 miles. My running is improving. I ran similar to everyone but Matty so its not like I was slow. You don’t like to lose to anyone but I respect Matty and the work he has put in to become the king of this distance and I know what it will take to overthrow him. I was happy but not satisfied and now have plenty of motivation to keep working hard and find a way to hold on to that 9 seconds next time.
Now I am spending the week in Memphis at anther amazing homestay with Tom O’Kelly. Will be a good chance to get in some time in humidity, cut out a trip back and forth to CO, and think about how to best attack this weekend at MIM.
Miss you Natalie!