Race Report: Rev3 Knoxville Oly


Rev3 Knoxville was my first olympic distance tri in 5 years, my first triathlon of the year and my first Rev3 event.  My goals for the race were pretty moderate considering I haven't raced an oly in several years.  I wanted to get one under my belt, see where I am and go from there.  I was hoping to break 23 minutes on the swim, average 90% of FTP on the bike (which should have been about an hour bike split), run under 42 minutes and make the top 3 in my age group.

Then I saw the forecast - low 50s and rain with a water temp of 58 degrees.  At this point, I threw out the bike goal and decided to go conservative and not risk crashing and ruining my whole season.  I also decided to take the time in transition to put on arm warmers and gloves.  

Saturday Practice Swim.  "It's cold."

"It's so cold.  Don't make me get in."


The Swim:  (21:31)

Race morning.  The last time I would smile until after the race.
The swim started a little rough.  I started on the left and about a minute into the swim the cold water got to me and I was having a hard time breathing.  I was gasping for breath so I decided to side stroke a bit and catch my breath and calm down.  A little bit of that and I got back to it and after a few minutes I got used to the cold water and was good to go the rest of the swim.  This was definitely the least amount of contact I've had in any triathlon race.  I was swimming in clean water most of the time.  

It's a river swim so you swim against the current for about a 1/3 of the swim and then with the current the rest of the way.  I broke 23 minutes like I wanted, but probably should have broken 21.  Overall, I'm happy with my swim but have some things to work on for my next race.

Things to work on:  Drafting, sticking closer to the buoys (I swam a little wide and tacked on some distance) and swimming harder (I can definitely push harder than I did - too used to Ironman pace).

Heading toward transition

 Transition:  (4:31)

There's a pretty long run from the swim exit to transition and my right quad started cramping up (odd - this has never happened before - maybe it was from the cold water?) which had me a little concerned about the rest of the race.  I took time to put on arm warmers and thin wool gloves.  Otherwise, transition went pretty smooth.  I got out of my wetsuit pretty quickly thanks to cutting it and using a lot of Body Glide and Tri Slide.  

The Bike:  (1:08:47)

Ugh.  The bike sucked.  About a mile in I dropped my chain.  That probably cost me about a minute because I couldn't get that thing back on without getting my gloves caught up in the chainring.  After that, I got under way and tried to push the pace but it was tough.  It was
Heading out on the bike.  Brrr....
raining pretty hard and I could hardly see.  There were big puddles and I started playing it safe and sitting up a lot and that cost me quite a bit of time.  My right quad wasn't much of an issue but it did get a little twitchy from time to time and threaten to cramp.

By the halfway point, I was so cold my teeth were chattering on the fast sections.  It was easily the coldest, most-miserable triathlon bike ride I've ever done.  In the end, I was nearly 40 watts lower than I should have been and my bike split was slower than I expected.  I figured going conservative would give me a 1:05 ish split.  I obviously went too conservative....but I lived to race again another day so I'm not too disappointed.  

Things to work on:  Not sure.  Since I went conservative it's hard to say where I could have improved.

Transition:  (1:24)

Not much to say.  Being so cold I struggled a bit getting into my run shoes, but otherwise transition went pretty smooth.

Heading out of T2....numb.

The Run:  (41:42)

My feet felt like bricks throughout most of the run because they were completely numb from the bike.  My right quad had loosened up at this point and wasn't much of an issue.  I thought I would warm up but I never really did.  I was cold the whole time and had worked my way into no man's land so there was a big group way ahead of me and I had a decent gap on the group behind me so I was alone most of the run.  I don't know if the cold affected my run or not.  I hit my target of sub 42 so I'm happy about that but I finished feeling like I could have pushed harder.

The finish.

Things to work on:  Push harder.  Suffer more.

Overall:  2:17:56.  3rd Age Group. 

My overall time isn't what I had hoped for, but I had a lot of positives during the race and it was a tough day so I'm happy with where I am.  I did some things right and if you compare this to my last olympic tri back in 2008 this was a huge PR so that's good.  I hit my swim and run goal and got top 3 in my age group which I wanted.  And now that I know I can podium in my age group at the olympic distance it's time to see if I can work my way up the podium. 

Score.  Age group award, new Blue Seventy goggles and Powerbars.

One thing I need to work on is just simply going harder.  I know I can race at a higher intensity for 2 hours so I need to work on that for my next olympic distance race, which is about 7 weeks away so I have plenty of time.

As for this being my first Rev3....they put on an awesome race.  Knoxville is a great venue for a race.  With better weather, this race would have been incredible.  Transition is in a parking garage so it's covered and we were able to park right above my bike so that was convenient.  World's Fair Park makes for a great finish line and Rev3 puts on a great race.  I'll definitely come back next year.

My next olympic tri is in Canada - Muskoka 5150.



steena said...

3rd in your AG is awesome, it's kind of a life goal for me, to AG place! So CONGRATS to that!
I think you raced well and adjusted your mindswet perfectly for the conditions.

Unknown said...

Nice work Mike! Solid swim and overall time, especially in those conditions. This year I'm also trying to make myself hurt more. It seems so easy when you say it but when you try to go there, well, that's another story. I have experienced strange leg cramps before, but only when racing. It had always been in cold water too so I'm guessing that's what you experienced. One trick I learned was putting more effort into the kick in the last few minutes of the swim to get more blood back into the legs. Seems to work quite well.