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Monday, May 13, 2013

Rev 3 Knoxville - How it all went down....literally

Well the 2013 season is officially upon us, its didn't take more then the first weekend to make a complete fool out of myself. I was eyeing this race all winter and "spring" (didn't really have one here in Wisco) as my season opener, a great way to test my fitness, and collect some points in the Rev 3 championship series.

I headed down from La Crosse to Madison Thursday night through a driving rainstorm that set tone for the weekend...lots of rain

Friday was spent in the car with both Summer and Bill navigating our way down to Knoxville. Of note we had a short discussion of weekends of racing gone bad. Bill shared two epic stories and Summer had a couple as well, but I was left with no real "epic" stories of weekends gone bad, remember this in the coming paragraphs. The expected 10 hour drive took us about 13 hours to complete and by 10pm EST we had found ourselves settled in at the Quality Inn ("home of the best HOT breakfast in town").

The plan for Saturday was simple; ride down to the race expo, check-in, drive the bike course, and ride the run course. If we had time we planned to take quick swim and see just how massive a shrinkage problem the entire male field would face on Sunday, sounds pretty basic right? Heh, well the expo was nestled in a nice valley of a field in the center of downtown and we probably passed the expo 4-5x before we figured out exactly where it was located, turns out it was in an awesome park with the downtown "feel" but still have that rural feel as well. By that time we were already running late and when driving the bike course the rain started to come down again. After taking about 75 minutes to drive the bike course, the same time it would take us (well Summer and Bill) to ride the course Sunday, we arrived back at the expo. The rain was now coming down a bit more heavy but we really wanted to scope out the run course. All we needed to do was cover 6.2 miles on a bike at a leisurely 10mph, pretty easy right? Well in my lapse of judgement I forgot how to ride a bicycle, it didn't take me more then 400 feet to fall down crossing some RR tracks right in front of just about everyone and their mother, in fact I believe one of the spectating mothers yelled "be careful of the railroad tracks!" just as we crossed. My crash was pretty pathetic so we will just say it looked something like....this

Immediately I wished I was Marty McFly and had a Delorean with me so that I could change this moment in time and go back in time.

Ok lets cut to the chase here. Standard pre-race routine. Off to the swim start and I hear someone call my name. Small world and another Ben introduces himself to me, we share a mutual friend and chatter some as we walk down to the start. Anywho my wave went off 7 minutes after the pro women. I was one of the first to jump in the "icey" waters of the river. Really the water was not that bad, yes my hands and feet went numb quickly, but when your wearing 5mm of rubber you are well insulated. I started my warmups to the side of the start and about 25 yards back. As I am doing so I hear "5,4,3..." crap I have missed the swim start. I immediately go out like it is the 50 meter gold medal heat in the olympics and I quickly redline myself just to get into the group. I find my way in and quickly start passing the group frantically swimming upstream. Once I got to the turn buoy I decided to back it off just a tad. Howewer, I get my arm caught in the rope holding the buoy and swim under the sucker. As I reappear I get a good smack in the face and my goggles dislodge a bit. Once I get them back on I regained my composure and swim my way back into the dock as best as I can. The whole swim I had trouble breathing well, and my arms felt tight and constricted, oh well that was done. I opted to keep my wetsuit on at my waist until I got to the bike, mainly, well I really don't know why, but maybe I was subconsciously afraid of "shrinkage" you know wearing a speedo and all

The run to transition took us up the boat dock, through the boathouse, across a 4-lane road, down a sidewalk, up a small ramp and into the parking garage. It was similar to T1 at IMWI although not nearly as spectacular friendly or epic.

Oh man this was over before it even started. Once I mounted my bike I took a gauge at where I was. With no one in front of my and plenty of people behind me I liked to think I was in the front of this sucker, even though I knew much better and that the front pack was about 3 minutes up the road already. I got things settled and quickly realized my powermeter decided to take the day off and sleep in. "Alright" I thought I quickly made the decision to go off RPE and turned my computer off so I didn't waste time trying to fix it. As I circled around the interchange of roads out of town I noticed some of the male pro field coming back. Was it really getting that bad out on the course? I actually felt warm and was enjoying the rain coming down, even if some of those raindrops felt like darts being thrown at my face. I caught a couple of faster swimmers as I crossed the river and headed into the rural and fun part of the course. Because of the day before's unfortunate events at the RR tracks and me having to cross RR tracks 3 different times on the ride I took the first RR tracks very easy, of course they had to be at the bottom of a hill. I later learned one guy took a hard fall on those exact tracks, ok so I wasn't the only one slipping and sliding out on the course. I finally started to settle into a rhythm about 5 miles in and was getting ready to see what I could do on the day. Not a moment later I heard that sound we all know to well"psshhhhhh..." crap!

I like to think I kept it cool the entire time that I waited for support, but I am sure that the first 2 minutes of me flatting looked something like this, well minus about 50 degrees, add in some rain, beautiful hawaiian island, and of course german accent.

Playing the waiting game
I settled myself on the side of the road and did the only thing I could do...wait for support. I think the 2 church vans that passed along seeing a dude in a speedo, aero helmet, and spandex top in 55 degree pouring rain had them asking a few questions. Figuring that I was more towards the front of the race and early in the bike course I thought it would be a short time until support arrived. 5 minutes passed then 10 and it quickly became apparent all support was following the pro field. Sure enough as they came roaring through back to town 3 motor bikes, 2 cars, and another church van all passed without any help, I even had 2 video men on the back of motorbikes film me as the past, thanks guys for calling in the help! I decided to call out splits for all the pros as they went by, but where I was located they were all passing at about 30 mph so I doubt it helped any of them. Finally support came 25 minutes after I initially stopped. By the time I got my tire replaced I was shivering so badly that it was an obvious choice continuing on would only risk my health and risk the chance of being sick in the days following. First time that I have ever called it a day before crossing the finish line, first time I have ever called for SAG, and just when I do somewhere in the bushes across the street some media got this pic of goes to Eric Wynn on this one.

The ride back to transition...
I got in the van and was joined by Jen Spiller one of the female prose who's crank apparently decided to stop working during the race. We chatted a bit and our driver lifted our spirits a bit as well. Once I got back to transition I brought my bike back in, changed, and went out for a quick jog to the finish line so I could watch Summer and Bill finish great races.

As we started our trip back to Wisconsin I found this nice little tweet from the former World Champion herself:

Along with making the Monday morning rounds of media triathlon outlets with my picture nestled in with some commentary, I guess I have some work to do on my Captain America reputation!

In the end I look back at on this weekend and will continue to laugh at myself with all of the amateur moves that I made. No race is wasted and the training going into this race will pay off in my next block of racing in June. Starting with my all-time favorite race Lake Mills Triathlon, also known as the Wisconsin World Championships!

A big thank you goes out to REV 3 and all of the volunteers for putting on a great event despite the dreary conditions. I'll be back with REV 3 later this summer in the Dells!


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