Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rev3 Williamsburg

Sorry, no secondary title this time. Quick version of events: had a good swim, took the lead just before halfway through the bike, ran into some hurdles of uncontrolled traffic, exited T2 with a lead but ended up crossing the line 3rd. I think I got 4th after they fixed the timing due to a later wave, but there were so many challenges with the race I'm not even sure.

I was excited to try this race out, because I'd heard a lot of good stuff about Rev3, and I figured this was close to home. It also had both a half and an Olympic, which meant Bailey and I could race our preferred distances at the same time and place, in a bigger race, but still sleep at home. Win-win-win-win (well, I'm not really counting how many wins, but it was a win in a lot of directions)
It was an ungodly early morning, leaving my apartment at 3:45 to make it up to Williamsburg on time to set up T2 and then get on a shuttle to finish setting up T1 and warm up. Pre-race was about what you'd expect, except the last minute announcement that the flow of T1 would be reversed due to cars parked out in the wrong areas. Frankly, I was pretty happy about it, because the planned exit of T1 was the same sketchy road I was unsure about for Patriot's Sprint last year. There was supposed to be a 15 minute gap between the last half wave and my wave, the first Oly wave, but I figured that I would be running into all the 35+ minute half swimmers, and I really didn't want to be putting my shoes on swerving around people that would be all over the patchy, narrow road. I only heard the announcement about the change in T1 flow once, and I knew Bailey was out in the water warming up, so I went out to go find her and tell her because I knew that'd throw her off, no matter how many volunteers would be there directing her the new way. In wading out into the water to find her, though, I decided it would be a good decision to drop my cap and goggles into the brown water while I pulled my wetsuit up over my shoulders. That was stupid. Fortunately I found my cap, but I was floundering around for a few minutes looking for my goggles when I realized I had to cut my losses. I sprinted up to the transition area and grabbed my extra pair of goggles out of my bag, then back down to the water to splash around to finish warming up.
The swim started from the beach and had a good bit of run and dolphin dive, so after about a minute of that I decided I'd rather swim with T-rex arms than try to see if I could hit my max heart rate before the first turn buoy. I settled into a lead until near the first turn buoy, when another guy passed, then another who opted to go sans wetsuit passed me shortly thereafter. I tried to hold feet as we turned into the current, but lost them after a couple of bad strokes/sights, so there I was, plowing my own water against the current in 3rd, with sizeable gaps to 2nd and 4th. Here's what's funny about the current thing, though: being the good coastie I am, I checked the NOAA Tides and Currents website to see what the predicted current would be for the area. Thinking through and seeing that slack tide (no movement of water) was at 8:15 and we were starting somewhere around 7, I thought, "oh, we'll be fine, especially because it's only a max current of 1.5 kts. Absolute max it will be when we're swimming is less than 1 knot." Well, I'm kind of an idiot, then. Sure, 1 kt of current isn't a big deal to a ship, but to a person? Yea...I didn't fully think that through in calming myself/other people I knew down about the possibility of a current. For the non-nautical/non-Google-inclined, a "knot" is one nautical mile per hour, aka 2,000 yds per hour, aka 3:00/100yd pace. So it's like swimming against an infinite pool set to the 3:00/100 setting. Sure, most triathletes are going to make progress, but there will be some who won't, and everybody will be slowed down significantly. Oh well.
The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful aside from the occasional half swimmer who decided to cut their course/swim perpendicular to mine. Exiting the water was similar to entering with the near-heart-attack experience, but I made it through and up the long, grassy run up to T1. I noticed another guy in the same rack as my bike, and he seemed to be taking his time, said he'd been the first out of the water. I left T1 and got on my bike, not sure whether I was in the lead at this point or not. Regardless, I knew I had to at least build a lead of some sort on the bike, so I just went with it.
Fit is all adjusted so no more fighting against my saddle like I did at Columbia
I was making my way through the majority of the half athletes, then I noticed a "27 H" on the first female I'd seen out on the course yet. I thought to myself "hey, she's in Bailey's age group," but figuring that even with a ~10 minute longer swim, there was no way I would catch up to Bailey before the half and Olympic courses diverged around mile 9.5-10, but then as I passed this mystery woman, I realized it was her after all. That was a nice little bright spot in my day, but I just gave a friendly little hello and a smile. I was afraid that the fact I caught her meant she was already having a rough day; it turns out that as much as the current sucked for my swim, the half had it much, much worse as they were farther out into the river. Every so often I peeked over my shoulder or looked back at a corner, but didn't see anybody coming up on me except for one half athlete who was clearly using me to pace, even though he wasn't really drafting. It didn't bother me a whole lot, but I thought it was hysterical when the courses diverged. We went straight for the Olympic, but the half took a right turn. Once I was about 100 yds clear of the intersection I looked back to see if there was anybody coming straight from the steady stream of riders, but all I saw was that guy making a U-turn in the middle of the road...silly. He clearly saw the big "O" on my calf as I passed him 1/4 mi into the bike, yet he kept riding off my pace so much that he didn't even pay attention to the big signs and arrows directing him to turn right.
Shortly after the courses split up, I saw the leader of the race was just up the road and I bridged, then we pretty much rode together for the rest of the course, me in front the whole time. I think he was practicing the classic "swimmer's lack of motivation" style of biking in a triathlon, something I've been guilty of when leading too...where you don't ride super hard until somebody catches you. Anyway, as we rode the rest of the way in, we were now the first ones onto each section of the course, which is when things got hairy. Most of the intersections the volunteers/police/fire/whoever was there had yet to begin controlling traffic, so we were pretty much on our own, such as when I got a big loud beep from a redneck pickup truck, just like 95% of my training rides in Virginia that was a nice reminder that Williamsburg is still in fact Virginia. Somewhere around mile 18-19, the course actually made a left across itself, so I had to wait for a lull in oncoming bike hindsight I may have been better off not taking the lead on the bike and instead sitting back in second, because each time something sketchy happened, I was of course the one who had to bear the brunt of it. Another time the road was coned off, directing all cars into the left turn lane. Not wanting to ride between two cones, I started following the traffic flow and almost made what would have been an off course turn, until the police officers finally got out of their car and started waving at me to tell me to go straight instead....
Finally I made the turn onto the William & Mary campus and in for T2, where nobody was ready for us to come in yet. There were people blocking the entrance, nobody indicating where the dismount line was, etc. As I left out onto the run course with a :05ish lead, I heard the announcer "oh is that our first Olympic athlete out onto the run?"
I tried hard to keep a good cadence and not resort to my normal long, slow, sluggish stride, holding onto the lead for as long as I could, which was maybe half a mile. We turned off the main road and onto a side street up a nasty little hill before hitting the first turnaround, where I saw that I still had some hope of holding off 3rd place. I did my best "I'm not in pain" face as we passed, hoping he'd just settle. He didn't. After going back down the hill, it was up another little false flat somewhere near mile 4.5, when he made the pass and I was into third. I was still running hard at this point, trying to keep him in sight and, well, just to run my damn race because I was sick of having crappy races. I held on as best I could, including the evil, evil, evil finish set up that had you run past the finish line and down a little 1/3 mi long false flat. Normally I like running down a false flat, but not when you know you're going to have to turn around and finish up it. That reallllly sucked, like wanted to throw up sucked. I was just holding on for dear life at that point, hoping my time would still be quick enough to hold off any 40+ athletes who started 3 minutes behind me.
After all was said and done, they gave me third place, but the timing was all sorts of messed up (and may still be, I don't know), but I'm pretty sure I got 4th, just getting beaten by a guy from the wave behind me after all. Oh well...who doesn't like free stuff?
90% of that box of Power Bar chews is gone already only a few days after the race. I'm not kidding. They're delicious.
So...I still need to run more/faster. I held back on the bike a bit on this one more than I normally do, and it was noticeable in that I didn't feel like I was going to die the whole time on the run, so that's a plus. However, the official run split they're showing on me is only a 40:49, which is still pretty no bueno. I'll get there....or I'll just start biking a 52 minute 40km and call it good.
And in case you were wondering about Bailey, because she's more interesting than I am and doesn't lament about her bad running, her report is here (I can link to hers but she didn't link to mine because I procrastinate and wait a week and a half to write something that probably nobody but Bailey and my relatives read anyway)


  1. "same sketchy road I was unsure about for Patriot's Sprint last year"

    Interesting they'd knowingly go over that again

  2. Well fortunately they ended up not because of the last-minute change in T1 flow that had us going right out onto the road, but yes. Very odd.