Rev3 Rush Richmond – Day 1

Doran | May 28th, 2014 - 2:33 pm

It’s been several months since my last post, and I have tons to share.  But I’ll make my blog comeback with a race report from my only triathlon of the season, Rev3 Rush Richmond.  As mentioned previously, I am basically taking the year off triathlon to focus on other things.  But when I saw Rev3 putting on a race with such a unique format, I had to participate.  And given my level of fitness, it’s just that, I’m participating, not RACING.  In the whole year of 2014 leading up to the race I only swam 7,000 meters, biked 101 miles, and run 60 miles.  That’s basically no training when spread out over 5 months, and the past few weeks haven’t been any different.  So yeah, I’m participating in this really cool event because I really wanted to share the experience with others in hopes the format catches on.  Rev3 Rush is a draft legal super-sprint distance race at Richmond International Raceway (think NASCAR).  They put a 15 lane, 25 meter pool in the infield of the race track and athletes swim 250 meters in the pool and bike 7 laps (5 miles) of the raceway and 2 laps (1.5 miles) of the infield on the run.  Preliminary heats are scheduled for Saturday, with Age Group Finals and Overall Finals on Sunday.  In each age group, the top 12 times from the preliminary heats advance to an Age Group Finals heat.  Then the top 8 times from the Age Group Finals advance to the Overall Finals Sunday evening.   Athletes can participate in up to 3 preliminary heats in attempt to ensure a top 12 age group placing to advance.  So if you have a bad swim, blow a tire on the bike, or just want to race again, you can.  This is a really cool concept and I give tons of credit to Rev3 for putting it on.  I imagined it would be quite a spectacle with draft packs forming on the bike while racing around the banked racetrack.  Strategy becomes a huge factor as obviously groups of cyclist can usually catch a stronger rider who might be off the front, and also a smart racer might just get towed around the course while drafting.  So when it was announced, I immediately signed up, despite my semi-disastrous experience with another first time race, Rev3 Williamsburg.  However, this time, I knew they wouldn’t be taking any of my gear hostage.

The pool & transition setup from above

The pool & transition setup from above

The pool, taken from the outside lane of the track

The pool, taken from the outside lane of the track

Raceday on Saturday morning was absolutely perfect, it was a chilly clear morning that warmed up nicely throughout the day.  Unfortunately, the turnout was less than I expected, with about 200 racers in all, and maybe 50 or more of them young kids and others in the elite race.  This left only 125 or 150 age groupers, meaning my age group (and probably all age groups) had less than 12 people, so in essence the preliminary heats weren’t really about competing to make the age group final – we’d all qualify for it.  The course setup was perfect and again had some very unique aspects in addition to the location.  When your heat was due up, you had a bin and a bike rack right next to the pool, rather than a huge transition area.  You could lay out your helmet and shoes, but had to make sure everything was placed back in your bin. It was very similar to the professional ITU Olympic-style racing and definitely a first for this age grouper.  After watching the kid’s races (from 5 yrs and older) and warming up (including 5 minutes or so in the pool), my heat was set to go off at 10:30am.

Getting in

Getting in

We did 250 meters or 10 lengths of the pool, all in our own lane.  As a former high school swimmer, this was great for me, as I have faster-than-most-triathletes flip turns and I’m used to keeping an eye on others in the pool.  My swim training has consisted of about seven 1,000 meter workouts in the past few weeks, so as with the other two sports, I am light-years away from my prime.  The swim was uneventful and I could see someone leading me by about a 1/3 of a length by the end.  I came out of the water and could hear CJ scream through the crowd “Hurry up you can be first out on the bike!”  I had my bike shoes already clipped in, so I ran down the ramp to my bike and quickly donned a helmet and sunglasses.  Just like that I was first out on the bike.

Coming out and into T1

Coming out and into T1

Exiting pit row I slipped into my bike shoes and started to pedal around the track.  For the first two laps I was holding about 21-22mph, just pedaling with my head down trying to stay aerodynamic on a roadbike with no aerobars.  Then, I looked back and noticed two other guys drafting behind me.  So I yelled back to them, “will you pull for a lap?”  Meaning, let’s take turns leading and breaking the wind for the other two.  Together the three of us could work together and build our lead or ensure nobody catches us.  One of the guys said “We have to do 7 laps”… clearly not getting my drift.  So after another half lap I decided I needed to drop these two if they wouldn’t work with me.  So I swerved high up on the embankment and put on a surge.  I could only manage a small gap of maybe 10 yards, which the guys closed over the next half lap.  Rather than risking an implosion on the run after a tough bike, I just got on the back of the other two and drafted for the second half of the bike.  We were being led around the track by a big guy who was actually a lap down and riding at about 19-20 miles per hour, but nobody was catching us from behind.  Soon, the lead motorcycle said last lap, so about halfway through I again broke away just before we entered pit row.  I wanted to get a few seconds gap into T2.

Drafting off my new friends

Drafting off my new friends.  The guy in middle led us around for most of it

Dropped off the bike and heading into T2 with the lead

Dropped off the bike and heading into T2 with the lead

The second transition was again lighting fast and the setup was really awesome for an age grouper.  We racked our bikes just after the dismount line in a row set up only for us with bike catchers.  Then we continued back to our box by the pool and I stuck my helmet in, laced up my running shoes and I was gone again.  I heard heavy breathing behind me, and only had a few steps on the guy in 2nd.   The run was really uneventful, with me trying pretty hard but moving fairly slow.  I had a lot of thoughts going through my head, mostly that I needed to win this heat, because I’ve never really won a race, and even if it was a heat with 10 or so guys, it was still a win.  I continued to think tactically like real racers and tried to really push it around curves and get a bigger gap on 2nd place.  After 2 laps and a mile and a half I extended my lead to about 20 seconds and won my heat.   This was pretty surprising given my current level of fitness, and I was happy to “win” something.  The timing was a little messed up, but I think I split 4:07 for swim (including T1), 14:02 on bike (20.9mph according to garmin), and 8:46 on the run (actually only 1.4m so 6:21 pace according to garmin) for a total of 27:38.

Shocked at how decent my form looks based on how badly it felt

Shocked at how decent my form looks based on how badly it felt

Coming down home stretch to win the heat

Coming down home stretch to win the heat

I initially thought I had placed first in my age group, but later found out (thanks to a kind tip from a fellow racer) a few guys in a later heat beat my time.  So I knew finals on Sunday would have a more competitive dynamic, and hopefully I could use drafting and race tactics to my advantage, because I really don’t have the out-right speed to win anything these days.  Saturday night I focused on recovery by eating healthy and wearing compression clothing in the form of my favorite 110% Play Harder ice-pants.  In a few days, I’ll post the story of how Sunday’s finals unfolded.  Until then, here’s a shot of me and the wifey… no dog this time but we have a pregnant belly instead.

My biggest fan carrying our future daughter in that bump.

My biggest fan carrying our future daughter in that bump.

2 Responses to “Rev3 Rush Richmond – Day 1”

  1. Conor says:

    The unanswered question on all of our minds is…did you outkick that chick down the finish chute? yes or no?

    That race format looks fuckin awesome. I would love to do that. Bummer not many people came out for it. Nice to see the beautiful wifey did! Sounds like an amazing day. Excited to read the next part.

  2. Doran says:

    Yes, I smoked that girl down the finish chute. Afterwards she said “I thought the finishing tape was for me”. But it was for me and I took it down. Hahaha hopefully this doesn’t make me a bad person.

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