If you are looking for a centrally located, beautiful, challenging Olympic distance race, Rev 3 Knoxville should be on your schedule. This event takes place every year in early May, and being in Knoxville Tennessee it often delivers great weather; usually cool but often sunny, clear and pleasant. The first time I did this event was in 2010, and I was impressed right off the bat with the convenience of the race. I stayed at the Holiday Inn (host hotel) and could look out the hotel window to see the expo area and finish chute; pretty cool. The transition area was just a 5-10 minute walk away down a paved path. One thing that any triathlete will value is convenience and all things being located nearby; Rev 3 Knoxville is great for this. Additionally, if you want to hit a pool nearby pre-race, you can visit the Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA (a cool older building with a little 25-yard pool) which is about a block away from the Holiday Inn, for a nominal fee of $5.
The swim takes place in the Tennessee River, and it is often on the cooler side; expect that you’ll likely wear wetsuits.
You enter the water right off the dock of Calhoun’s on the River, and swim ‘upstream’ for about 1/3 of a mile before turning the buoy and in turn getting a nice downstream swim to the finish. Expect the sun to be in your eyes for that first part (assuming a clear day) so be sure to have darker goggles on hand. The swim is pretty simple and straight-forward; if you get lost on course here, you may have bigger issues to deal with regards to your open water swimming!
You will exit and run up the ramp into T1 which takes place under the Neyland Street Parking Garage (so it is covered in case of inclement weather). The bike course is awesome and challenging. You will exit out of T1 and meander out of downtown. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road the entire ride; there are a lot of twists and turns throughout the course. (It may not hurt to drive it if you have a chance pre-race). Also be sure your bolts are tightened on your bike as you have a few bumps in the road as you exit downtown. You’ll head out into the country a bit, where you’ll be surrounded by trees and houses; I have also raced Columbia Triathlon a few times, and I would compare this bike course in part to Columbia up in Maryland. Beautiful but also challenging, hilly and fun. Be sure that your shifting is dialed in as well, as you will want to be using all of your gears with the combination of fast descents and a few good climbs.
You’ll come back into downtown and enter the same area for T2; heading out onto the run course. You will head out onto Neyland Drive, in the opposite direction you biked, and you’ll be greeted with some rolling terrain soon out onto the road. After about 1.5 miles, you’ll hit a paved run path (the Knoxville Greenway Trail System) that you will take out and back for a good portion of the 10k course, which is fairly flat. This is a nice change to see where your fellow competitors are, but also enjoy some more tree-lined scenery. You’ll hit the turnaround at which point you are within 3 miles of the finish. Head down the path, and take a left onto the main road, and finish up where you started the run, along the river.
This begins one of the great attributes of Rev 3 Events…the finish! They do a great job of making the finish exciting, attractive and make each person feel special at the finish line. You will run by your transition areas and then head left onto another paved run path. At this point you are about ½ mile from the finish area. I recommend dropping the hammer here and putting every last ounce into your race! Enjoy this spot, as you’ll see a few people cheering along the path. You’ll finally turn onto the grass and up ahead you’ll see the awesome Rev 3 Finish Banner up ahead. Take a minute to glance around; it’s always fun to finish these races, as the entire area is decked out with people, expo, and most of all the much welcomed finish line.
Post race interview
Once your work is done, enjoy a 15-20 min walk to Market Square District of Knoxville. This is such a cool spot…you’ll find drum circles, live music, entertainment and a multitude of places to re-fuel (and even more fun, re-hydrate!) post-race. Yet another cool thing about Rev 3 Knoxville; if you have family and friends to support, they too can enjoy themselves as it is essentially a race in the middle of a fun, accessible town with more to offer than just spandex-cladden triathletes.
Pro Recap Video
Amateur Recap Video
*If you would like to read my personal experience with the 2012 Rev 3 Knoxville race, check out my race story here:http://www.kellyhwilliamson.