The 56 mile bike course left Knoxville and sent riders east in the direction of the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains. Though the course did not get as far as the real mountains, it did weave in and out and over some of the foothills. The course was as challenging as it was gorgeous. As a frame of reference, my last two half iron bike splits have been 2:12 and 2:18 respectively, my time this past weekend was 2:35. Sharp climbs were typically followed by technical descents, and there were several ninety degree turns thrown in as well. This actually favors me due to having done a significant amount of bike racing. About 10 miles in to the ride, I met a guy named Shay. We decided to legally pace each other and it worked great.
Felt great on the bike until about mile 45. It was about then that I started feeling the 80 degree temps and nearly 70% humidity. Simply put, I just couldn't keep up with my sweat rate. Also, at about this time at a turn around, I saw Whitney on the course. She had started 10 minutes behind me and the course suited her riding style, so I was not surprised to see her about 2 minutes behind me. She looked great and I was looking forward to her catching me. At about mile 50 I had a technical problem with my front brake and it start sliding ovder catching my front wheel. I stopped twice to correct it and it cost me about a minute and a half or so.
After adjusting the bike, all was good for the final few miles back to the transition on Neyland Stadium. While leaving transition I look up to see Whit entering. I yell to her "I see you Garcia, better come get me!"
I was passed at mile 12.5 by the second place woman and a man not in my age group. At mile 13 I caught a guy in my age group. He looked at me and said "I'm not going to chase you down. I just want my kids to cross the line with me. Go ahead." Even in the finishing part of my race, his statement struck me as a great testament to his priorities. I appreicated his honesty and intentions. I kicked it in to the line and finished with a 5:00:07. 7/100 of a second short of sub 5 on the toughest course I'd face. Damn. It was good enough for 22nd overall though, I'll take it.
Whitney did great considering everything. Though her times were not where she and her coach had aimed for, she ended up winning the woman's race by 9 minutes! After the race I was trashed. I spent the rest of the day trying to rehydrate, then loosing fluids in many different ways. It just proved to me that I did give all I had, so I'm happy that I used all that was in my tank. Ultimately, it was a great race. I will most defintelty do another Rev3 race. Their team and race organization is amazing.I can't speak highly enough of them.
Next... the Denver Triathlon in June, then prepping for Vineman in July and Ironman Wisconsin in September. A pint or two tonight then time to get back at it.