A very late race report for Knoxville!
We got to town on Friday afternoon and did packet pick-up. It was fast since not many racers had arrived. Knoxville is a really cool town and Jarrett and I explored a little Friday evening before heading back to the hotel. I got up early on Saturday to do the practice swim. I had only done one open water swim prior to the race and I was wearing a new wetsuit. Rev3 sponsored a guarded swim with pros coaching in the water. I was one of the few that swam the entire 1.2 mile course but it felt good so I just went with it. We had every intention of driving the bike course but the map provided by Rev3 was useless. Several other athletes had attempted to find the course and failed so we decided I'd just have to wing it. We went to dinner at Bravo on Saturday night and I shared some lasagna with Jarrett and then we headed to see Water for Elephants at the movies in an effort to calm my nerves.
Sunday morning started with my traditional breakfast of Poptarts and Diet Coke and then we loaded up to head into town. We left later then we should have and I ended up being VERY rushed to get my stuff set-up in transition. Luckily, I got everything assembled before they kicked us out. The weather was fairly cool and the river water temp was around 65 degrees. I suited up and headed over to watch the pros start. The rest of the athletes started in 3 waves. This race was a 70.3 combined with an Olympic distance. There were not that many athletes doing the 70.3 so the waves went quick. The ladies were last and before I knew it we were off.
Swim: 45:08 - The swim was up river around a buoy and then back down river. Sounds like we would have a great advantage swimming downstream? Wrong. The winds picked-up significantly and were blowing right in our face on the way back taking away what little advantage the current might have given us. Overall, I was not horrified by my swim time, especially after learning the swim was long by about 0.3 miles.
T1: 3:58 - Slow as heck. I had an issue getting out of my wetsuit and then I was kind (dumb) enough to help the poor guy next to me who was struggling even more.
Bike: 3:35:13 - The bike course kicked my ass. It was hills followed by more hills followed by a false flat followed by more hills. I rarely could get in aero and it seemed that around ever corner lurked another hill. I have never been so happy to be off my bike. Not to mention my stomach was KILLING me. I could hardly eat anything. I was way behind on nutrition at the end of the bike and I knew that the run was going to be awful.
T2: 3:13 - Slow because Jarrett was standing at the fence and I felt the need to crab to him about the horrid bike course.
Run: 2:27:15 - Another slow run. The run course, much like the bike course was full of hills. My lack of nutrition on the bike was making running almost impossible. My stomach really, really hurt. Thankfully, I can put up with just about anything for 13.1 miles and I made it to the finish.
Total Time: 6:54:47 - 51 minutes slower then Augusta. Ouch. To be fair, this course was tough. Several other folks became ill during/shortly after the race which may indicate some sort of an issue with the river water or maybe we all just had a bug. I felt like crap for almost a week. I also learned I better get my shit together on the hills before Coeur d'Alene.
Will I race Knoxville again? Maybe. Rev3 put on a decent race. I'm not going to lie. WTC who puts on Ironman branded events does it better. With time I'm sure Rev3 will work out their issues and also be a top-notch event organizer. They did have awesome tech t-shirts, finishers medals, and visors. Unfortunately, they did not have any live athlete tracking so your family members had to just twiddle their thumbs wondering when you might show up again. The bike course was also not marked well. No volunteers standing telling you where to turn. You had to pay attention to signs posted at corners. Seriously? I did not miss any turns but I saw several people who did.