Report: Revolution 3 Knoxville – Long Course Aquabike

Date: May 9th (mother’ s day)
Location: Knoxville, TN

Finally getting a chance to meet some of my Team Trakkers mates in person and represent the West Coast part of the team. Team Trakkers is made up of both Pro and Age Group athletes (I’m one of the fortunate and honored to be selected age groupers).

It’s been a while since my last road/out of town race and I was excited to visit Knoxville. I have never been to this city before. Knoxville itself is pretty much a college town, University of Tennessee that is, located right on the Tennessee River.

I was not able to arrive in time for the pre -ace team dinner at Calhoun’s (famous BBQ). Arrived late Friday night (2 days before race day) I took the time to assemble my bike in the airport parking lot before heading off to World Fair Park where race expo and finish line area was located. After scoping out the area, I parked my car about a block away, put the seat back and got some shut eye.

Saturday am, up early and headed to meet the Team Trakkers members at the Trakkers booth and take in a quick demo of the Trakkers website and see the product for the first time in peson. After group and individual photos and the meet and great session, everyone  was able to continue with their pre-race routine along with twittering and blogging about the pending excitement for the inaugural Revolution 3 Knoxville race of 2010.

I signed my time slot to help out with the Trakkers booth, Then headed down for a pre-swim. I could have walked to this location but there were no maps or marking to direct on to the location. I drove to the Volunteer Landing but it took me forever to get to the lower river location. There was a 5k in the am and some of the roads were detoured. I finally found the Landing…45 minutes later (where walking would have taken 10 minutes)

Did a quick/easy 25 minute swim or so just to get my swim muscles and blood flow going. The Tennessee River is pretty brown, no more than 6 inches of visibility. The water was fresh and clean to me, full wetsuit temperature also. Time to head back to the expo to do my shift at the Trakkers booth to answer people’s questions about the Trakkers device and how it enhances the athletes and family experience. I really like their tag line “Share the Experience”. My shift lasted about an hour and I had plenty of time left in the day to “mess” around. Decided to take advantage of the free mechanical support and got my rear wheel trued before head off the nearest grocery store (about 6 miles away).

I had briefly reviewed the bike course online and printed material and did not think much about the course, after all it was “just” Tennessee. At the last minute, I decide to drive the course, and glad I did (a must for any long course event). I discovered it was not just a simple bike course. The course was rather technical compared to most races; narrow roads, sweeping s turns, rolling descends and ascends. This course is a stand out for its greenery and requires a different cycling skill set.  My training here in San Diego is great for getting the legs ready for hilly courses but not the ones that combine technical riding, at least my training routes. Also the last couple of weeks had been quite windy in SD and heading to TN, I was anticipating calm weather, that was not the case. It was windy there also.

Well after a double order of pasta at one of the restaurants along the strip it was time to head back to my “favorite” parking spot to spend the night.

Race morning was a bit chilly, low 50’s as I headed down to transition. Everyone loaded their bikes into assigned rack spaces the day before, so race morning was prep transition area and continue chatting with my new found Trakkers friends and try to stay warm. This race has a sea of green in transition. Team Trakkers had 25 or more athletes at this event and we wanted to let the other teams know we were a force to be reckoned with for this Rev 3 race and the July race in Quassy, CT and September event in Cedar Point, OH. (I will be doing the iron distance  race at this one)

Finally to the race. I actually felt pretty good on the swim. Water temp was about 60 degrees and the full wetsuit made conditions ideal. No heavy current, just an up stream then turn around for the longer length down stream. My swim training has been pretty laxed, so I knew I was not at my true potential but my swim time was my slowest ever for a half iron distance. 37 minutes, but that did include a 3 or 400 yard run to transition.

Before my travels out of town, I decided to swap my cranks for a shorter length. During my retrofitting I did not realize I had put my Rotor Cranks on backwards. That meaning my desired offset setting was backwards. I did not do any lengthy riding the day before, so I did not notice anything was off. My Polar Wind data showed my Pedaling index around 25% which is pretty typical. Since I was only doing the aquabike (swim and bike only) I planned to go fairly hard. I thought and tried to, but the narrow course and being a bit too cautious may have restricted my speed. I really never settled in mentally until the turn around point. By then, I felt a bit more relaxed and comfortable with the course characters, even though my spilt time showed my speed a little slower…must have been more rolling hills the 2nd half.

Swim exit ramp with UT Volls football stadium in the background. Beautiful bike course with lots of greenery. Heading back to T2, Tennessee River in the background.

Finishing an aquabike is a bit different than a triathlon when held in conjunction with a triathlon…there is no hoopla, no fisher tape to break, no cheering people down the  finishing shoot. Just dismounting and run with your bike over the timing mat…that’s it, gather your stuff put on some warm clothes and had to the official finish line area.

Results: 3rd overall, 1st male. That means I got beat by 2 chicks…all good, puts me in my place and makes me want to work train harder to get faster!

Worth the travel this far. Heck yes!, this is a great race. Well organized (despite some of the timing issues), family friendly, great part of the country and gives that other race organizer some competition. This makes everyone work harder to earn our hard earned entry fees.

I want to come back next year for the full triathlon.

The following day, Monday, I went off on one of Knoxville’s famous bike routes, Jail Break 70 miler. It starts in Farragut, just outside of Knoxville. Lots of greenery, not much farming just grazing land and trees, beautify part of the great USA.

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