Well, I suppose the beginning of race week is a *perfect* time to post the race report from my previous race just a few weeks ago (sorry for the delay….) I’ve been replaying the hills of Knoxville in my head anyway, as I prepare myself for Quassy….
The hype of the race started early with some pro-sightings in the Denver airport. Once I got to Knoxville it was late, and I went straight to bed (after getting some food delivered to my room….gotta love college towns!) The next day was filled with bike building, Rev3 expo, teammate meet-ups, Tri-Slide lube-ups at the practice swim, bike check-in, breakfast hunting, and some good pre-race dinner.
Two of these donuts, plus some Starbucks Via, and all was “good”. I gathered my transition bag goods and headed down to the river. I got my transition area set up, chatted up with fellow competitors, headed to the swim start, chatted some more with teammates, suited up, then FINALLY it was my turn to go (nearly the last wave!).
I really like the Knox swim. It is mostly a point to point, with a little bit of an out and back to it in the Tennessee River. Compared to 2010, the water was COLD and CLEAR. But it was calm and spacious. I had little traffic and was able to sight pretty well. I seem to have but one speed when swimming in a race – and I don’t really know what that is. I just swim. I got to the end and with the help of a volunteer (who were plentiful), hoisted myself up onto the boat dock. Once I got my balance back, I stepped aside and took my wetsuit off. I knew it was a LONG run to T1, and didn’t want to fight it later.
As I said, the run to T1 was uber long. Not my specialty, and makes my speedy transitions look not-so-speedy. But once at my bike I got my helmet, sunglasses and shoes on, and was outta there.
Well, the foothills didn’t shrink any from 2010 to this year. All of the same climbs, all of the same winding descents, and all of the same beautiful scenery. This course continues to be one of my favorites despite the fact that it kicks my ass. I am just not fast here! (ok, I’m not fast anywhere…) Unlike before, there was no wind to speak of, and I did my best to keep things evenly powered. The downhills were often into blind corners, and I was probably over cautious. At point, I got caught behind a car going up a climb. I can only imagine how wierded out the driver was, with cyclists everywhere, and nowhere to go on the narrow roads.
I’m always pretty happy with my T2 efficiency. If only I could properly dismount my bike without coming to a stop first….
By this point, the temps had risen and with no clouds in the sky, it was getting hot. The run route was different from 2010 but I really liked it. Lots of time on a local paved trail and lots of shade from the trees. The best part was the new 82go water “bods” that were handed out at the aid stations. I thought they were simply AWESOME! (you can see me carrying one in the pic below). With the out and back path, I was able to see most of my Rev3 teammates – they are very inspiring! My plan was the same as always – nice and steady for the first half, then pick up the effort in the second half and finish strong. I did an “ok” job this time, but the heat was definitely taking its toll on me. I gave it what I had, so I’m happy with my finish.
Have I mentioned that I love this race? I didn’t set any personal records this year, but I felt like I gave it my best shot. Gear-wise, I was VERY happy with my new Rev3 kit from Pearl Izumi, and the new Pearl Izumi isoTransition run shoes I used – so light and fast, and they drain well! With all the water I was dumping on me, not once did I have a squishy shoe. Also, I put some PowerBar Kona Punch gel to the test and was really happy with how my stomach did (practiced in training, but racing is the true test!). Of course, I had SBR Sports Tri-Slide EVERYWHERE – feet, chamois, armpits, neck…no chafing here! And Foggle in my goggles, too!
The Rev3 post-race time in the NormaTech booth was a great ending to the day. 30 minutes of bliss – I can’t wait to get my own for home!
Onward towards Rev3 QUASSY!!!