First race of 2012 is in the books. While May is later than I’ve ever waited to start a season, 2012 is the year of ednurance races so there has been more preparation required. Whit and I flew out of Denver on Thursday night and arrived in Nashville late. We woke up Friday and went to visit my Grandfather’s grave and then put our bikes together for the Sunday race. After lunch, we headed up with Dad and Mary Ann to Rev3 Knoxville.
Once in Knoxville, we checked in for our first Rev3 race ever.The race expo was not busy when we got there so the whole process was quick and easy. After registering for the half, we had dinner on Market Square where we had tapas and great company.We strolled back to the Hilton where Whit and I lazily laid around then watched the movie “Our Idiot Brother”.
Saturday, we had a nice breakfast and then drove out to preview the bike course. While I can’t say I was surprised, I was a little anxious after viewing the 56 mile bike route. The course was covered with short punchy climbs and a few extended climbs. I knew right away that my typical sub 2:30 bike probably wouldn’t happen. After driving a bit, we all hopped on our bikes to get a real taste of the roads. Within 20 seconds of riding, Whit’s 650 tubular tire exploded! The tear in the tired was so bad that we couldn’t plug it and we didn’t have a spare with us. To make things worse, we called every shop in town and not one had a 650 tubular tire, much less the time to glue it on in time for the race.
At a loss on what to do with no help in Knoxville, Mary Ann thought to call our friend Howard Newsome in Nashville. He has an early model Cervelo that was made back when 650’s where thought to be faster. Lady Luck was on our side, because Howard was not riding this weekend and said his wheels were ours to use. Even more lucky, Clint and crew had not left Nashville yet, so they were able to swing nby Howard’s house to pick up the wheels. Though is was a lot of work and sacrifice, the family seemlessly worked together to save Whit’s race. Also, my Mom came up to watch the race as well. Her support means so much to me, it was awesome to cross the line and see her standing there cheering with Whit. We are so blessed to have that kind of support.
The night before the race, Dad, MA, Whit and myself were joined by Tim Hayes (college teammate) and his buddy David. Both of those guys are great dudes and will be racing Ironman Wisconsin. It was great to hang out, talk tri, and catch up.
Now on to the race…
The gun for the Half Rev went off at 7:30am est with the first wave of athletes starting the swim in the Tennessee River. The course took athletes upstream for 4/10 of a mile before shooting back down stream, past the start, and on to the exit. The swim seemed a bit long, and my time of 34:28 confirms that it at least had the potential of being long. Nothing remarkable to note about the swim, which is good because races have a way of being off in the swim fairly often.
The 56 mile bike course left Knoxville and sent riders east in the direction of the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains. Though the course did not get as far as the real mountains, it did weave in and out and over some of the foothills. The course was as challenging as it was gorgeous. As a frame of reference, my last two half iron bike splits have been 2:12 and 2:18 respectively, my time this past weekend was 2:42. Sharp climbs were typically followed by slightly technical descents, and there were several ninety degree turns thrown in as well. This actually favors me due to having done a significant amount of bike racing. At mile 10 of the ride, I met a guy named Shay. We decided to legally pace each other and it worked great.
Felt great on the bike until about mile 45. It was then that I started feeling the 80 degree temps and nearly 70% humidity. Simply put, I just couldn’t keep up with my sweat rate. Also, at about this time at a turn around, I saw Whitney on the course. She had started 10 minutes behind me and the course suited her riding style, so I was not surprised to see her about 2 minutes behind me. She looked great and I was looking forward to her catching me. On a steep climb near mile 50 I had a technical problem with my front brake and it start sliding ovder catching my front wheel. I stopped twice to correct it and it cost me a minute and a half or so.
After adjusting the bike, all was good for the final few miles back to the transition on Neyland Stadium. While leaving transition I look up to see Whit entering. I yell to her “I see you Garcia, better come get me!”
The run was a great course. It started by heading down river on Neyland Drive on an exposed four lane highway. The heat and humidity was oppressive. At 6’3 and 185lbs, I don’t handle the heat well, never have. At mile two and on a greenway now, I caught Shay and we decided to run together. At mile four Whit finally caught us. While my legs were there, my body just couldn’t go fast. I was overheating and couln’t up the effort. At mile 5 Shay caught a cramp on a long and steep decent, it was a hill we’d have to climb on our way back out. I reluctantly left him and motored on. The second half of the run was more brutal due to the rising temps. I slowed significantly, but kept at it.
I was passed at mile 12.5 by the second place woman and a man not in my age group. At mile 13 I caught a guy in my age group. He looked at me and said “I’m not going to chase you down. I just want my kids to cross the line with me. Go ahead.” Even in the finishing part of my race, his statement struck me as a great testament to his priorities. I appreicated his honesty and intentions. I kicked it in to the line and finished witha 5:00:07. 7/100 of a second short of sub 5 on the toughest course I’d face. Damn. It was good enough for 22nd overall though, I’ll take it.
Whitney did great considering everything. Though her times were not where she and her coach had aimed for, she ended up winning the woman’s race by a 9 minutes! After the race I was trashed. I spent the rest of the day trying to rehydrate, then loosing fluids in many different ways. It just proved to me that I did give all I had, so I’m happy that I used all that was in my tank. Ultimately, it was a great race. I will most defintelty do another Rev3 race. Their team and race organization is amazing.I can’t speak highly enough of them.
Next… the Denver Triathlon in June, then prepping for Vineman in July and Ironman Wisconsin in September. A pint or two tonight then time to get back at it.