This Sunday, July 8th, Revolution3 is making its fourth stop of the 2012 series in the beautiful Pacific Northwest town of Portland, Oregon. In only its second year, Portland may not have the history of Rev3 Quassy or even of Knoxville, but that has not deterred a deep professional field from tackling the challenging Half Rev this weekend.
With $50,000 up for grabs, as well as valuable Series Points, 23 professional women, and 25 pro men are toeing the line.
Both of last year’s champions have returned to Portland to tackle a newly created, and very challenging race course. While the swim and run remain relatively unchanged, the new bike course – under the backdrop of picturesque Mt. Hood – throws more than 2500 feet of climbing at our athletes.
Highlighting the women’s race is none other than Meredith Kessler, the 2011 Portland Champ, and recent Ironman Coeur d’Alene winner. Meredith has already gotten quite used to winning races this season, and the only thing that could possibly slow her down would be the lingering affects of racing 140.6 miles only two weeks ago. If her legs are recovered – which history has shown she can handle back-to-back challenges – expect this dominant swim, bike, runner to race hard from gun to tape.
Also at the top of a talented women’s roster is Angela Naeth. Having finished 2nd and 3rd place at the 2010 and 2011 Quassy events, Naeth has proven that she can deliver big performances on the big days. The question with her, as always, is whether or not she has time to overcome a relatively weak swim to capitalize on her dominant bike.
Rev3 Racing Team has last year’s Cedar Point winner on hand to challenge for the winner’s check – Malaika Homo is steadily creeping up the ranks, having bested her finish position this year from Costa Rica to Knoxville to Quassy. If she continues her fitness building trend, this powerhouse will make her way to the podium – with a smile on her face.
Others who should challenge for those valuable podium points include Rev3 regulars Bree Wee, Nicole Kelleher and Lauren Goss. These women come to the race course with well-rounded attacks, but are each characterized by super quick swims to start the day. Any one of these women have what it takes to snag a top three – and each has proven so this season (with Kelleher winning Costa Rica, Bree taking second there, and Goss snagging a close second at Knoxville).
Wildcards in the field include American Becky Lavelle, and Aussies Madeline Oldfield and Ali Fitch. These women are more than capable of upsetting the field and taking home top honors.
Looking to the men’s race, we have an equally stacked field. Last year’s winner, Graham O’Grady is back, and his plan of dominating with another wire-to-wire victory is a very real possibility. Last year the men “let him go” on the bike after a smashing swim, and they never saw him again. If his frontrunner and ballsy approach works again, get the Portland crown out and start etching GOG on the plaque.
The list of men who are intent on upsetting O’Grady’s plans are headlined by Rev3 Racing Team’s top dog, Richie Cunningham. With a victory at Rev3’s headline event, Quassy, very fresh in his mind, expect the cunning Aussie from Boulder, Colorado to be in the mix from start to finish. Richie’s well balanced attack makes him the most dangerous man on the start list. His swim and bike are quite strong, but they don’t call him Cunningham the Running Man for nothing. Anyone nearby Richie in T2 had better watch out.
Other Southern Hemisphere lads who would love nothing more than to run away with top prizes here in Portland include Paul “Barney” Matthews – a man who loves to race from the front; Chris McDonald – a powerhouse of a man whose speed at the half distance has become formidable of late; and Terrenzo Bozzone, a former world champ at the half distance who is startlingly talented and tenacious. Any one of these men has what it takes to snatch a healthy dose of glory, cash and points.
With July 4th only days behind us, thankfully the American duo of Jordan Rapp and Jesse Thomas have shown up in Portland intent to see the Stars and Stripes flying high atop the winner’s podium on Sunday.
With two different approaches to their racing, both of these men have ended up very close to one another at finish lines across the country. In Cali at Wildflower, Jesse Thomas – a two-time winner – has shown he can dominate with a wicked run split (backing up a very strong bike); whereas Jordan used a powerful bike split to land up a few spots ahead of Jesse at 2011’s Rev3 Portland. Both men are fiercely competitive, and both men have what it takes to win this race. While their friendly pre-race rivalry is fun to observe, it’s going to be nothing compared to the fireworks this two Yanks are going to set off on Sunday. While Jesse has confidence from a very recent win at Wildflower, Jordan’s IMTX victory is still a fresh reminder of what it fees like to win big.
Wildcards who may factor in Sunday’s race include Rev3 Racing Team member Brian Fleischmann from Colorado. An athlete who has not yet raced to his speedy potential in 2012, Brian is more than capable of finishing on the podium. Also fresh of a recent IM Coeur d’Alene victory, Viktor Zymstev from the Ukraine is coming into Portland possibly a tad tired, but well capable of running his way to a top finish.
Regardless of who wins, places or shows, Rev3 Portland has put together a challenging and scenic race for these professionals to tackle. The level of competitiveness is excellent, the caliber of the race production is high, and the environment in which these athletes race is second to none.
Be sure to tune LIVE at http://www.rev3tri.com/live