Rev3 Wisconsin Dells
There are few things nicer than being able to drive to a major pro race…it is even nicer that this was the third time in five weeks I got to do so. The unfortunate part was that the result was nowhere close to as sweet as the last two times out.
My wife and I were both very nervous for Rev3 Wisconsin Dells, not as much for my first Olympic distance race since the 2011 US Open triathlon as the fact that we were bringing our pups to their first triathlon. Their first road trip, their first night not at home, a weekend of people people people, a far cry from the child safety barricades that line the house. Saturday morning I went for two walks with the pups instead of my normal prerace routine hoping that the dogs would sleep the three hour drive to the Dells…and by golly it worked. Once we got to the race sight the pups were instant celebrities living up the petting from Rev3 nation as I participated in the pro meeting and pro panel.
All I will say about the night at the hotel was captured perfectly by a late night twitter post @Starykowicz: “Just beat up the AC in my hotel room…now the fan is quiet. Gotta love livin on the road”
Race morning consisted of the only rain cloud in the nation hanging over Wisconsin Dells from 7:30am until 11:00am or the whole race. It was not a warm rain either, it was a frigid rain. The air temperature could have been 90 but those rain drops were barely above freezing, but that all did not matter once the gun fired.
In the shadows of the Tommy Bartlett ski amphitheater we blasted into 110 minutes of suffering. The start of the swim consisted of Dustin McLarty flat swimming away from me and everybody else in the field. I never really scrambled, I methodically swam my way into the back of the lead pack which consisted of the whose who of top US triathlon swimmers: Dye, Collins, Limkemann, Leto…good company to say the least.
I got of the water and had totally forgotten it was raining until I got on the bike and splashed through puddles and tip toed around a few of the turns. The legs were strong but not sharp, in the half distance this is fine but in the Olympic distance I need SHARP. I was like an old pocket knife, dull to the touch. I will say that 40k goes really quick so a tough day on the bike is done in two blinks of the eye!
The run started well. I knew I did not have 34 mid speed like I did in 2011 but I was optimistic about what was possible. I went out in the first mile at 5:50, seriously…dude you run faster in workouts.
Mile two and three were better, both around 5:40 which I was thrilled with on the rolling hills around Lake Delton. This is when Kaleb VanOrt ran by, I kept up with him for two steps. I forgot how fast these guys run at this distance. Mile four and five were both 5:45’s watching the road in front of me become empty and I am running well. I would lose another position in the last mile and run one of the ten fastest 10k’s of my life and go backwards the whole time…it’s funny when sub5:50’s for a 10k off the bike is losing more than three minutes. I was not sure of where I finished until the awards ceremony…where I learned I was 10th! The wrong end of the podium but on the podium.
I had to give it up to my wife and the pups for being out there and shivering in the rain all morning. While racing in the rain IS fun, spectating in the rain IS NOT. The drive home was quiet as my wife and the pups slept and I got to run through the race over and over in my head.
I miss the distance and I will be back for a lot more of it in 2014!