I’m doing my race reports a bit out of order. I figured that I should get the bigger race report out of the way before doing the smaller one (Reeds Lake Tri). So, here goes. If you just want to read about my impressions of my first Rev3 race, skip to the bottom for the pros/cons.
We got to Cedar Point around 3:00 and headed straight to athlete check-in. Jennie waited in the car with Bailey assuming this would be a quick in and out. Not quite. I’ll talk more about it in my impressions of Rev3, but it ended up taking over an hour. I actually saw Scott while in line but he was further back in line and there was no way I was giving my spot up so we ended up texting back and forth. I also killed the time by watching part of the ND/Purdue game on my phone. By the time I was finally checked in, I was not a happy camper and could not wait to get out of there.
After athlete check-in, we headed to our “hotel” check-in with MattyO and Heather who graciously invited us to stay with them. They had a full house with us, Scott, and their friends Tim and Nat who were volunteering at the race. Add onto that Bailey and Frank and Sophie and it was a wild time. Tim and Nat offered to make dinner for everyone so we loaded up on delicious pasta. I actually had quinoa pasta for the first time and was surprised at how good it was.
After dinner we headed out for a puppy & beer meetup with the super amazing Katie and her husband Thom. I must have been asleep at the wheel because we didn’t get any pics of all 4 dogs (Katie’s 3 and Bailey), but they all got along great. They were all a bit pissed though because we wouldn’t let them jump into the hotel pool.
Race morning came in no time. I was totally stress free for this race as my game plan was to just have fun. I had a quick breakfast, got dressed, and was ready to head over to transition. We actually got some last minute news the night before that transition was going to stay open until 7:30 for athletes doing the half instead of closing at 6:30 for everyone. This allowed us to leave at 6:30 and have plenty of time to get to the race and setup.
I took my time setting up transition. After a quick check of forecast and I decided to pack my run gear in a plastic bag. I ended up not needing it as the weather was perfect, but better safe than sorry.
We headed down to the beach after transition closed, but I still had over an hour before my swim wave went went off. I had a Honey Stinger waffle as I waited and then got away from all the crowds just to relax.
We found a nice bench away from it all and ended up running into this crazy girl again. We were both happy to just be away from all the chaos.
My swim wave started a bit before Katie’s so I headed down to the water to get in a warm up. The first thing I noticed was how shallow the water was. I could see athletes over a 100 yards out still standing up. I took some time just get a few strokes in and make sure my goggles weren’t leaking.
In no time, it was time to line up for my swim start.
See how shallow the water is?
The starter counted down and off we went…. running… haha. Eventually we could start dolphin diving, but it took a solid 75 yards before we could start swimming comfortably. This slow start actually helped keep the contact to a minimum and I actually didn’t have any contact until we started to catch the swimmers in the previous wave. Even then, contact was minimal.
I took the swim super easy. I had some mysterious shoulder pain on Wednesday at the pool and I didn’t want to do anything to cause that to flare up. Again, my goal was to just have fun and I didn’t want to burn myself out on the swim. As we neared the shore, the water got just as shallow as it was at the start. I did my best to swim in as far as possible but ended up having to trudge through the water at the end. My split time ended up being 34:18 including the run to the timing mat. I was around 33 minutes shore to shore.
I think I actually saw and heard everyone as I came out of the water – Jennie, Heather, Tim & Nat, and Thom were all there.
Both of my transition times were super slow. This was sort of on purpose because it was an easy day for me (yes, I am going to keep repeating this, get used to it). After Saturday’s race, I decided to put on socks for the bike ride. At the Reeds Lake Tri, I went sockless the entire time and my feet were numb on the run.
Sitting down in transition???
You would think that I got transition training from MattyO with times like these.
Total time: 2:39
Because of my slow swim, over half of the bikes in my transition area were gone by the time I left. Excellent! People to catch on the bike. Right out of the gate, I settled into a comfortable pace. I was somewhat familiar with the course having ridden it last year with MattyO and Heather for a training day. In general, the course is super flat. The couple of hills that do exist are short and steep, but nothing really to worry about. Wind is the bigger factor on this course as it is pretty open. While there was some wind, it was deceiving and I could never really figure it out. It didn’t seem to affect my speed positively or negatively though so no big deal I guess.
I seemed to be passing people left and right and before I knew it, I was riding by myself. Every so often I would catch up to a larger group of people, but for the most part I was riding alone.
What I was really doing was looking for MattyO. I knew he was in the swim wave before me so he had a 5 minute head start on me. I figured that we would have similar swim times and I knew that he is a strong biker so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to catch him on the bike. I was hoping that I would catch him though because I had vowed to Jason that I would try and seek some revenge for him by coming up behind him and startling him like MattyO did to him at Rev3 Maine. Finally, about 23 miles in I thought I saw a purple jersey and blue helmet in front of me. Sure enough, it was him! It took another mile or so to make up the ground, but soon enough I was right on his wheel. Unfortunately, MattyO was unfazed by my yell as I rode up behind him. Sorry Jason. We ended up chatting for a bit before I took off. I didn’t want to ride next to MattyO for too long because that is never a safe thing to do (you know, like if there are buffalo along the road).
Nutrition-wise, I took in less than I normally do, but feel like I had the perfect amount. Instead of 2 EFS bottles, I ended up only drinking one of them and taking an extra hit of Liquid Shot with some water instead. Towards the end of ride, I started to feel full so I laid off of the calories entirely and went with straight water to prep me for the run.
The last 6 miles of the course were utter hell. My legs were beat and I had managed to develop a nasty saddle sore. On top of that, it was by far the worst section of road. Every couple of pedal strokes, BUMP!, a few more pedal strokes BUMP!. Each one hurt worse than the one before it and I found myself bracing for impact. This really seemed to affect my pace for the final miles, but at the same time it got my legs ready for the run.
After surviving the final painful 6 miles, I was rolling into transition with a 2:35:36 bike split. 21.6mph for 56 miles on legs that had raced the day before and not pushing 100%. Boom. I’ll take that any day. I really feel that with the proper rest and pushing it hard on the bike, I could probably average high 22’s, if not 23mph.
Again, another slow transition. MattyO even beat my T2 time by 1 second! haha. As soon as I dismounted, I just started walking. It was not a defeated/demoralized walk though. It was a, let’s-just-give-the-legs-a-break-before-the-run walk. Again, this day was about having fun. Being exhausted right out of the gate for the run is no fun so I decided to rest while I had the chance. I slipped on my Hoka Speeds, grabbed my visor and Garmin and was off.
As soon as I hit the transition exit, it was time to start running. As soon as I started moving, I realized how great I felt. I was a little apprehensive though because I felt good coming out of the gate at IMMT and went downhill quickly. Nevertheless, I took this as a good sign.
As I was running along the main road, Jennie pulled up alongside me to snap a picture and wish me luck.
She was then able to drive a mile or so up the road and see me again. I was already 2 miles in at this point and still feeling super strong. For one of the first times ever, I was running strong, passing people, and feeling confident about my run.
That is not a heel strike. I promise.
I had no idea what to expect from the course other than what I was able to garner from the course map. I was a bit worried after looking at the map because it seemed like there were a lot of out and backs. These can be good or bad. If I’m feeling strong, they are good because it gives me a way to gauge other runners, but if I’m feeling bad, it is defeating to run, turn around, and then simply run back.
As I passed runners, I was making sure to say “Good job!” or offer some words of encouragement. Why? Simple. I’m selfish. haha. I have found that encouraging other runners is a great way to boost your own self esteem. It is like fishing for compliments. If I pass someone and say, “Great run!”, chances are they will respond with something like, “You too!” So, by me encouraging other runners, it offers a way for me to get encouragement as well. Win win.
I was easily clicking off the miles and feeling great. After 4 miles, I started to take Coke and water at each aid station instead of just water. I would slow to a walk just long enough to drink before starting to run again. This ended up being the most I have ever run of the the run leg of a 70.3 only stopping at the aid stations.
About 7 miles in, I saw MattyO on one of the out and backs (one of the good things about out and backs). He gave me some crap about my ugly shoes which I expected, but it was still good to see him out there. I then saw him again about a mile later on another out and back.
After the final out and back, there was less than 4 miles to go and each step brought me closer to the finish line. I kept my eyes opened for Katie hoping that I wouldn’t see her. I knew that if I didn’t see her, she would already be at least 4 miles in to her run. I ended up not seeing her so I knew that she was killing it.
My legs started to hurt during the final two miles but I just told myself that I needed to hold on. This was my last tri of the season and I wanted to finish it on a strong note. In the final mile, I got a pick me up when I saw Ben headed out for a run. He had just crushed the full aquabike (sub-5 hour bike split – hello!) and was going for a cool down run. After seeing him, I rounded the final corner and saw Jennie. I stopped to give her a quick hug before running the final few yards to the finish.
I ended up crossing the finish line with a run split of 1:45:28 (my fastest 70.3 run split ever) and a final time of 5:00:28 (my 2nd fastest 70.3 time).
I was happy to be done and I was super happy with my results. I have never felt so good after crossing the finish line.
Bailey even wore (at least for a while) his “Team Neumann” bandanna that Jennie made for him.
Spectating is hard work for a pup. You have to remember to stay hydrated.
MattyO finished shortly after I did wrapping up his 3 70.3’s in a month (and you think I’m crazy).
We stuck around for a bit to check out the post race food (unimpressive – see below) before my stomach started to tighten up on me. I really wanted to stick around and see Katie and Scott finish, but I knew my stomach wasn’t going to allow that.
Overall, I am super happy with this race. I know, I know. I was 28 seconds off of sub-5 hours, but I really don’t care. I was also only 3 minutes off of the podium. Again, I don’t care. This race was all about having fun and if I had to sacrifice even an ounce of fun for one of those two “milestones” it wouldn’t have been worth it. I was racing this race on tired legs and not at 100% effort. I am confident that with the proper taper, I could seriously tear up this course. But that was not the goal this time around. I could not have asked for a better way to wrap up my 2012 tri season.
As this was my first Rev3 race, I was looking forward to comparing the race to some of the WTC/Ironman races I have done. Jennie summed it up best when she said, “Rev3 is to Ironman what Cedar Point is to Disney World.” And I think she hit the nail on the head. Rev3 Cedar Point is not a bad race by any stretch of the imagination, but it still falls short of what the WTC offers. Granted, my thoughts/impressions are based on a single race in a series of events and are by no means the end-all portrayal of the series. In defense of the race, I didn’t fully immerse myself in the event. For a fairer assessment, I should have spent more time on the race site pre-race like I have done with WTC events. However, my race on Saturday prevented me from getting there any earlier.
The race itself, from swim start to the finish line was very well organized and supported. Volunteer support at the aid stations was great, intersections were guarded by police and the course was well marked. Roads were open to traffic, but I felt safe pretty much the whole time. US-6/Cleveland Rd is a bit dicey but traffic seemed to respect the athletes for the most part. I did read about complaints about the road conditions, but I felt they were pretty par for the course when it comes to Midwest roads. There were 3 total sections of fresh chipseal, but they did a wonderful job of sweeping off the loose stone so it was just bumpy and not slippery. I would have to say that the worst section was the final 6 miles (which is actually the first 6 miles too). The side of the road we were on for the final 6 was far worse than the opposite side and it seriously felt like each bump was going to split me down the middle. My speed dropped significantly on this stretch because of it. I almost wish that we were allowed to ride on the opposite side on the way back in. This is just an observation though. I don’t blame the race for the quality of the roads.
Rev3 does offer a few things that the WTC does not. The first is Body Marx body marking. Similar to TriTats, these are temporary tattoos for your body marking. While a little thing, it does add a cool factor to the race and makes you feel like a pro. (They were a super pain to get off though) You also get a free pair of BlueSeventy goggles in your swag bag along with a Rev3 Cedar Point visor (you can never have too many visors).
Rev3 also allows you to cross the finish line with your family members if you want. They even have a contents for best finish line photo. This is something that would get you DQ-ed at a WTC event. I had planned on crossing with Bailey, but couldn’t figure out a way to get him around the fence at the finisher chute.
This guy crossed with his 11-day old baby. Very cool.
The race also offered onsite live athlete tracking and onsite results lookup. As soon as you finished you could walk over to the computers, enter your number and see your time, place, and splits. I also had a chance to meet Jen Small at this area because she was volunteering which I will count as a “pro” any day!
Cool race bling. Although I didn’t win any bling, they had a really cool idea for age group awards. Your age group award actually fit around your finisher medal to form one giant medal. In the picture below, the silver ferris wheel is the finisher medal and the surrounding part is the age group award. On the back of the age group award, it has all the details (place, race distance, etc.).
I stole this from Heather. This is the race bling she won for the 5k on Satuday.
Finally, free finisher photos. As of post time, I haven’t actually seen my finisher photo, but it is great that Rev3 gives these to athletes for free. I think my finisher photo at IMWI was $15 and it was for a photo they had already taken the time to print so it would have just been thrown out if I didn’t buy it.
There were lots of lots of logistical issues that were frustrating. This started with athlete check-in. I was in line for nearly an hour simply to pick up my packet. The line was maybe 50 athletes long but completely unorganized. While there were 6 volunteers behind the table, only 2 were helping athletes. The other 4 were helping the 2 volunteers and then waiting around for the next athletes. There are lots of ways they could have improved upon this. I have never waited this long for a WTC event.
The finish line food was less than desirable to say the least. I was excited when I saw the burger buns, but then I found out that there wasn’t burgers. Instead there was some mystery meat. Some sort of pulled chicken or something that didn’t seem to have any flavor. I took one bite and decided that a stop at McDonald’s was in order. For the veggie eaters (this is for you Jason), they did have a fruit salad and pasta salad that were actually decent, but by no means constituted a full recovery meal. What is wrong with some good old fashioned pizza and burgers (and veggie burgers for our plant friends)?
They charged for parking. Wait what? Yep. $15 for Jennie to park. Parking for athletes (designated by our athlete wrist bands) was free. However, once in the park, if Jennie needed to leave, she would have to pay $15 to get back in because I wasn’t with her. Ridiculous. We ended up eating the cost because Jennie had to go and check on Bailey and eventually bring him to the race. It worked out because she was able to drive out and see me a bit on the run course. Still though, I was a little pissed about this. I can’t imagine asking family and friends to come watch me at a race and then finding out they have to pay to park. And this isn’t an optional sort of thing were you could go park on the street or further away for free. The closest you could park for free would have been 2 miles down the causeway that was lined with signs for “No pedestrians or bikes”. Cedar Point basically had a monopoly of parking.
Overall cost of the race. This really isn’t a complaint but more an observation. One of the main benefits that I have heard Rev3 tout is that they are a cheaper alternative than Ironman. I really didn’t find this to be the case. Sure, the super early entry fee ($210) might be cheaper than the early bird WTC price, but at $250 (what I paid), this race was comparable to WTC, and at $300 (the final week price) was even more than some WTC races (Poconos later this month, for instance, is still only $275). One positive for Rev3 is the introduction of their new Rev3 Season Pass that allows you to race any or all of the Rev3 races for $1200. You can even share the pass with a friend for the races you can’t do. Now, that is a great idea, but I don’t see how individual races are cheaper than WTC events.
So there you have it. One man’s opinion of his first Rev3 race. Thanks for reading!
|Overall Place:||50 / 714|
|Gender Place:||47 / 463|
|Age Group Place:||4 / 43|
|Swim Rank:||92 OA, 15 AG|