Rev3 Knoxville – The weekend report.
To say the weather dominated the race weekend, would be selling mother nature short. You should watch the pro race recap, but I don’t think it does it justice. My recollection is that it started raining Saturday around noon and didn’t stop until Monday early morning. Mostly a nice light rain without any lightning or thunder, the kind that rarely ever happens here in CO. I remember this rain from my years in St. Louis, it can be quite pleasant when its 80-degrees outside. It was not 80-degrees in Knoxville, TN last weekend. More like upper 50’s, mayyyybe 60? and the river was 58-degrees as well. At least it wasn’t windy.
Its been a strangely snowy spring in CO and with every Wednesday that it snowed 6 inches, I began to get more and more excited about racing Rev3 Knoxville. I had last year burned into my brain, sunny and low to mid 80’s. Too warm for a halfRev, but just right for an olympic. Get some sun on my face, race hard, and get away from work for a while. Apparently, I was a little too invested in my idea of what this weekend could have been. I still had a blast with all my Rev3 teammates, but we’d have had even more fun if we were warm and dry.
Before I go any further, conditions like these warrant extra special thanks and heaps of admiration for all the non-racers who endured the elements. I’ve gotten to know a lot of Rev3 staff, friends, and teammates who work these events when not racing. I was truly amazed by the fact that I don’t recall hearing a single complaint from any of them. I’m pretty sure that I complained a few times and I was out there about 1/10th of the time that they were. Big thanks to all the police, EMTs, and other service people who keep us safe out there! More of us needed you than ever. I realize the call it the Volunteer State for a reason, but I didn’t think standing in the rain all day so I can race other middle-aged men for a box of powerbars was really what they meant. I know free t-shirts are nice, but I also know the THANK YOUs were too few. It was mostly because my lips were frozen, I couldn’t take my eyes off the road, and I was too afraid to take my hands off the bars to even wave thanks.
My weekend got off to a rather interesting start. At the rental car counter in Nashville I was approached by a man needing a ride to Knoxville for the race. He had clearly identified me and the woman with the bike box standing next to me as triathletes. After I explained that we were NOT together, she looked at us both like we were from Mars and went about her business. His drivers license had expired and no one would let him rent a car. The urgency and embarrassment in his voice made it pretty clear that he wasn’t just some wierdo trying to get into a car with a stranger and that he really had exhausted all his options. He was now down to pleading with complete strangers. Somewhere in there he dropped the ‘I’m a pro’ card. I’m not sure why, but it made me more sympathetic to his situation, eventhough I had to apologize for not recognizing him.
So, Chris Foster and I each gathered our things and set off on a 3hr drive with complete strangers. No surprise, but Chris turned out to be a pretty regular guy, humble and gracious. He just makes a living by racing really fast. We talked most of the trip, a little triathlon stuff, a lot of life stuff, education, jobs, wives, kids (or lack thereof), pets, travel and his current travel conundrum which was only half over.
When it was all said and done he certainly had a new fan. I offered to help him get back to Nashville after the race, but our flights were significantly different. He thanked me for the 1,000th time. I told him about sitting next to Greg Bennett on my flight to Knoxville last year and that Greg won the race. “No pressure,” I said. I’m not sure it was received the way it was intended. Anyway, Chris had a great race and got second. I’m very happy for him and glad I could help.
The weather was still nice Friday evening when I arrived. It was great to catch up with some of the team over a quick dinner, then we were off to the inaugural Rev3 Glow Run. I’m not sure if 5K’s are just that appealing or if Knoxville is just really supportive of its UT alumni. If you hadn’t heard, Rev3 chose to donate all the profits from the glow run to Nicole Gross and her husband Michael, both former UT swimmers who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. Either way, they raised $25,000, and my friend Matt got to run in his speedo.
I also got to spend some time with one of our newest sponsors. Doug from Biotta Naturals needed a little relief on Saturday afternoon, so Andy and I held down the tent for a while. Biotta makes beet juice along with several other vegetable, fruit, and juice blends. If you haven’t read anything about the performance benefits of beet juice recently, (or if you’re really wondering what Jesse Thomas was talking about in his Wildflower race report) check some of these out. Studies indicate up to a 16% increase in endurance performance. Performance or not, its been a treat to experiment with their juices this winter. I also got a huge kick out of watching people give it a try. They’re reactions to the taste, weren’t nearly as entertaining as their reactions to the idea of drinking beet juice. A lot of people had seen the literature and were eager to try it, but there were plenty of scrunched up noses too. Maybe I’m just ornery, but it got to be kinda fun to talk the skeptics into a shot. Either way, keep an eye out for Beet Performer this race season.
Real race report to follow….