Sunday, May 18, 2014

REV3 Knoxville – What Could Have Been

My long awaited REV3 Knoxville 70.3 triathlon did not go according to plan in any way, shape or form!

The day stated a bit warmer than Saturday with a low of 50 and no rain. That was as good as it was going to get so everyone was happy.  I was relaxed and ready to race. I am in the best shape of my life and I am getting more confident in my swim.

While I will never be the guy that says “Hey lets go jump in an open body of water” just for fun, I am more confident in my abilities and am calmer and more at ease on race morning and today was no exception.

When it came time for my wave to go, I was surprised to see the water quite a bit cooler that it felt on Saturday and since it wasn’t going to heat up in 2 minutes, it was time to make the best of it.  I met a couple first time triathletes in my age group and they were nervous but I assured them it was going to be a good day for everyone, well the swim any way.  J

There was one man that had never done a triathlon before and like me he could not stop talking as he was nervous.  Ironically he even kept taking in the water as we swam the same course (ironic as you will see).  I could not make out what he was saying but we both got out of the water and I am sure he had a great day.

I got water in my wetsuit and jumped in for the floating start.  It was cold, dirty and busy but I managed to move forward and quickly acclimated to the water.  My plan was to take five strokes, stop, and sight but for some reason race day energy took over for common sense and I quickly found myself way off target.  After a course correction, I kept my head down and kept swimming. I noticed the water became choppy and I looked up and saw that I was close to swimming into the earlier swim group making their way down the back side of the course. OOPS.

I blame my poor sense of direction on the fact that my goggles filled up and I could not see a thing.  (More likely due to stubbornness) Couple that with swimming through what smelled like “boat fuel” I managed to find a kayak so I could grab ahold and empty out and reseal my goggles.  Goggles in check, it was time to get down to business with sighting every five strokes.

I picked up the pace on the back side of the course and managed to bring home a strong swim. I set my best time for a non-current aided race (the dam had the current basically at nothing) and I even swam nearly 400 extra yards!  So I have a few things to work on.

Out of the water I made a quick run to transition where I said hey to May, Elli, Scott and Stacy Rotluff and made my way on the bike.  I knew that once I got out of the water I had this race crushed.  Ironically three times this weekend for some unknown reason I kept thinking about not ever having a flat tire and boy was that a mistake!

Less than three miles into the race my front tire got a flat.  I stopped, actually got the tire changed and within the next mile the same tire flatted again.  I only had one spare and one CO2 cartridge so that was my day. I nice man in the support vehicle gave me a ride back to the start, I found May and Elli and we had an early trip back to Columbia.

So while my day ended early, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I leaned today and what went well.

·         that I don’t swim straight in open water and only could I set a PR and add 400 yards to the total distance!
·         the REV3 Tri team and REV3 race series is a really great series with great people that are fun and family friendly.  I am definitely going back.
·         being a South Carolina and Memphis fan, I have five the University of Tennessee a hard time and there was no way Knoxville was going to let me finish that race! J
·         the odds of me getting two flat tires within one mile of each other are greater than the longshot to win the Kentucky Derby
·         I had a great nutrition plan for today (been working on that), I just didn’t get to use it!
·         It will be important to get more time in open water and to help May, Stacy and Tammy also spend as much time in the lake as possible to get used to open water swimming.
·         I can cover come obstacles in the water like chocking, goggles filling up and swimming though boat fuel and still have a great day.
·         I am a wimp to the cold and need to get over it.
·         Disappointments will happen in races and there is nothing you can do about it but it’s how you deal with those disappointments that is important.  It just wasn’t my day but it was for someone else I am sure and I am happy for them. The guy that pulled me out of the water and onto the dock was tall, had strong hands and a lot of enthusiasm for every participant.
·         The guy that came and picked me up was incredibly kind.
·         The Knoxville police are really nice.  I had a few minutes to chat with them after my second flat.
·         Community Coffee’s Café Special blend is awesome, especially at 4:00 am.
·         Horse racing is kind of fun to watch and interesting when you watch it with someone who knows a thing or two about the sport.

These are some things that went right today……
·         I set a PR for my swim (even swimming 400 extra yards) and was calmer at the race start.
·         I didn’t get set in fire when I say through the boat fuel.
·         I didn’t get passed by any women 60+ years of age, because they started ahead of me! J
·         No snakes or gators seen anywhere. OK I know there are no gators in Knoxville but it’s a good story I am hanging on to from Augusta.
·         I got to meet many of the REV3 Tri team and made a lot of new friends.
·         No girl young enough to be my daughter paddled up to me in a kayak and said “Sir, are you OK?
·         No one called me Sir.
·         I got on the right bike in transition. As an afterthought that may have been a bad idea!
·         I had a great nutrition plan; I just didn’t get to use it.
·         I ate enough calories Friday and Saturday to fuel a 70.3 effort of which I only expended about 1.4 miles worth, so I should be good until Raleigh in two weeks.
·         There is nothing better than seeing May and Elli at T1 cheering me on and Elli yelling “DADDY” That was enough to make my day complete.
·         I have a good excuse to but a new set of deep rim wheels. You can never have too many wheels.
·         I didn’t swear after either flat (I don’t think) and I may have to work on that.  OK Just kidding! (now that I think about it I am pretty sure I said a cuss word or two in my mind when I found myself swimming into oncoming traffic)
·         Elli had a great time and probably expended more energy that I did this weekend.
·         May got to see a swim start (finally) and it was good for her to see all of these things get help prepare mentally for REV3 Anderson in October.
·         Stacy and Scott Rotluff came to check out the event and to provide support. Stacy got to see what it’s like and I think we have a new member to our triathlon family.
·         I didn’t crash when I flatted and no trips to the ER or even a band aid were needed.
·         May, Elli and I had a great ride home together.
·         It was good to see and spend time with Joe and Ilene.

So all was not lost. Anytime with my family is a good day and I will take it. Am I disappointed, I sure am but it was not the end of the world and I will be back.  I have Raleigh in two weeks so I need to get focused on that event!

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