After racing the Short Track and XC at the Sea Otter Festival, we “lived” in Morgan Hill for nearly 2 weeks. I spent some valuable time at the Specialized HQ and the training was great.
The cut on my hand was healing well, Princess Hotstuff took out the stitches with nail clippers after 10 days, but 1) I didnt swim at all since my crash at XTERRA Vegas 2 weeks ago. (click if you are curious and have a strong constitution) and 2) the inside of the hand does NOT feel good at all. Testing mountain bikes was super painful and I could only do the rock section 2x per day.
As you can see from the pic above, the road riding in rural California is stunning, and my hand needed respite from the jarring, and I needed to get used to riding upside down on a flat bike again.
We packed up all our belongings, got on a few planes and once in Knoxville, we stayed with XTERRA age group ace, Fred Smith, who also hosted Cam Dye and family. Fred is recovering from back surgery, (I reminded him- you’re only as good as your last result. Overall AG World Champion for him.) So he took it easy on me on our course pre ride.
Triathlete Hotel Lobby Wear is always interesting. In Kona its speedos and compression gear, Knoxville 2013 its wetsuits, running shoes and visors.
Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and it started pouring with rain the day before the race. Temps fell to 50F (10C) and stayed there pretty much all day long.
Fortunately the Rev3 organization kept running like a well oiled machine. There were Pro interviews pre race, post race, and live video and photos of certain sections of the race. Check out the videos and pics here: http://rev3live.com/
The BlueSeventy “Worst Wetsuit Contest” was spectacular.
The evening before the race Cam had a bit of a “Murphy moment”- his front brakes locked up badly and wouldnt let go. All the bike shops were closed and after a few calls it seems like all freelance mechanics were a few beers strong and cosy at home. Enter the Caveman. Instead of working on his bike Caveman style, (with a rather large rock – like I’ve done more than twice on mine) I carefully tinkered (even using a flash light!) with the kinks caused by the internal cabling and also took out a few spacers behind the brake pads. I got the brakes to work semi-perfectly and cautioned Cam against turning the bars sharply. Which would cause the kink to kink up again.
On to the race. I warmed up on Fred’s indoor trainer at home, 20min easy (250w), 5min tempo (300-320W) and then a few 30″ reps at race pace (400W). In the end I was just as wet as Cam who rode to the start, but at least I was warm- for a while.
The gun went off and immediately the 2 guys on either side of me confused the swimming leg of a triathlon with a rugby scrum. We were in a river 500m wide, on the side of the field, but BOTH tried to swim on top of me at the same time. When the scrum broke up 100m further (they were probably still looking for the ball when I eventually climbed out over them) my arms were stiff like sticks and the pack was gone.
Surely my BlueSeventy Helix saved me from drowning during the rugby match. Even the strap of my Suunto came undone in the punch up. I wore my newSuunto Ambit 2S to collect data for training reference.
I lost 2min to Cam, which is way too much, but at least my legs were good to go.
This Knoxville bike course is technical enough as it is in the dry, but with pools of water covering holes and man hole covers, and quite a few sections where I clocked over 65km/h- it was somewhat hair raising riding.
I was aiming for 375-385W average. Last year in Rev3 Maine and Boulder 5150 I rode 400W but struggled on the run, so I went a bit easier to leave some tiger in the tank.
At the turn I was in 3rd, but Cam was 2.40 up, and I was gaining on Eric Limkemann. There was quite a pack behind and they seemed to go at an almost too good pace on the open back section, but fortunately the draft Marshall seemed quite busy with his whistle and yellow card when we crossed.
I tried to stay aero and off the brakes without being too stupid. I had 750ml of Clif Electrolyte drink in the Fuelselage (drinking system built into my Sworksframe) and took 2 Clif Shots on the bike. Despite the cold and wet its important to stay on your nutrition plan, even if you dont feel thirsty.
I also used a 55/39 T Rotor chain ring, and 11-25 cassette, so I wont spin out too much on the downhills. Looking at my max cadence and power on my power file (see below) I doubt I did 831 W at 123rpm, but the trick it to not pedal TOO crazy on the steep downhills, as the wind resistance gets exponentially worse as you go faster. Better save that energy for the climbs where more power is more beneficial due to lower wind resistance. But then, looking at Cams bike time, I dont think he saved anything anywhere.
Not the best photography weather. I’m happy with the progression on my running. Feels good to be able to train running again. I didnt make enough time on the bike on the faster runners and lost a few places none the less.
I finished 6th, which I’m somewhat disapointed about. 4th place was only 9 seconds ahead.
I can think of a few places to make up 9 seconds. Like the 30 seconds I spent trying to get my helmet off and shoes on with frozen fingers.
I swam badly and felt rookie like in transition, but considering my hand injury and the fact that I didnt swim for 2 weeks, I look forward to building into the season.
Cam Dye schooled us on the swim and bike. After a few years of finishing 2nd, he finally won Rev3 Knoxville in style.
A big thanks to Princess Hotstuff for putting up with this crazy lifestyle- we’re currently living out of 2 bags each (ok, 1.5 bag Liezel and 2.5 bags Caveman) and since we thought its summer and we’re down South, we packed lightly and had to borrow a fair bit of clothing for the weekend… We’ll have a home base next year, I promise.
Especially for all the help to keep the train on its tracks: – motivating, yelling splits, mixing bottles, helping me be on time, doctoring my wounds, driving, navigating, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, packing the car, massage, doing admin, printing race kit, ordering product, paying bills, and especially- being my sole mate!
Wearing every piece of clothing we had (and quite a bit of Fred and Allies’ clothes) we drove home (heater blasting), following the Half distance run course. The streets were literally rivers, and we passed this smiley lady from Florida wearing a space blanket – happily running along- TWICE the distance I just did. And I got tired at 8km! It reminded me why I like short races. The suffering is intense, but its over relatively quickly.
When I said it was COLD, it was so cold, it was too cold- even for Captain America! Wonder how Chuck Norris would have fared?