So continues the story of my race season. Now don’t get me wrong, I have never really disliked racing in the elements, and frankly after this season I kind of like the rain, its just getting crazy how many races I am going to and getting rained on. Especially when like this past weekend for Rev3 Dells, the forecast when I flew out was great, and the two days prior to the race were also really nice. But as is becoming the usual we woke up Sunday morning to clouds and a stormy forecast. Luckily the storm never really showed up, but the rain sure did as we got dumped on from before the race until about the time the bike leg ended.
Other than the forecast race morning started off well. The lobby had hot water for my oatmeal so I actually ate it out of a bowl instead of my usual room coffee cup, and with the 8am start I was able to sleep in a little bit, not having to rise until 5:30. After breakfast and some solid First Endurance hydration it was off the race venue to get in the warm up and rack the bike before the start of the half distance race. It made for a bit of a challenging warm up, but after some quick time calculations I got in the bike, racked it, and headed to the car to put stuff away and go for a jog.
Thats when the rain started. At first really lightly, which is actually worse because it can make the roads slippery, but that didn’t last long and by the time we were getting ready to enter the water for our warm up the weather had switched to dump mode and we were getting soaked. After so many wet races this year I have actually started to get excited about racing in the rain, and knowing the bike course wasn’t super technical and wrecks shouldn’t be an issue I was ready for a good lil throw down. This race wasn’t chalk full of “super star” names, but had tons of depth and as you can see by the tight 3-7 places finish, it was a really good field.
Knowing Dustin was in the race made the swim prime a lost cause so after he took off and made us all feel like water rocks, I got into a good rhythm at the front swimming with Eric. We had a nice gentlemanly swim with basically no contact and wide turns. A far cry from the standard cage fight, and although we didn’t swim real quick we kept the pace honest and got out of the water with a group of about 5. I did my best to accelerate up the hill to transition and give myself a little space to get the helmet on and out on the road, and once I was through the mine field of puddle lakes exiting the park it was out onto the roads. I rode the first few miles with Ben, but being from CO, and loving hills I made my move up the first climb and did my best to snap the elastic band early.
The rain was coming down pretty good and being in the front and able to pick your own line is nice. My legs actually felt really good so I hammered out into the countryside, trying to extend my lead on all the hills and be smart on all the corners. A lead goes away pretty quickly when you have put yourself in a ditch.
About three quarters of the way through the ride I got word I had about 45 sec on Ben, and a good gap to the rest, so obviously I hammered even harder up the last couple hills and into transition. I have been run down too many times in my career to ever be satisfied with a lead on the bike. After a nice wet transition into my soaked shoes and wet head band I was off through the puddles again and back out onto the road that we had biked in. It gave me a good view of where everyone was, and a little bit of a confidence boost, but again, no lead is ever enough.
I ran hard through the first 3 miles when we had a long out and back on a hill, really focusing on controlling the uphill and hammering the downhill. At that point I was feeling really in control both of the race and my running, feeling like I could pick it up a lot of I needed to but with a few more challenging hills to come I decided to stay steady and in control. The last mile was a little tricky running on the up and downs of a sidewalk, and having cars turning in and out of driveways in front of you but I stayed steady and took it home feeling really good about the whole race.
Its not that often that you can look back at a race and say all 3 parts were really solid, but after crossing the line with my best Aaron Rodgers Discount Double Check celebration (which unfortunately because of weather was lost on the few fans at the finish) I was pleased with all phases of the race. Nothing was great. I certainly need to swim faster, and run harder, but I could have if I had needed to and that is reassuring heading into the big one at HyVee in 3 weeks.
Here is the Rev3 recap video: http://vimeo.com/72188530
Thanks to Charlie and the whole Rev3 crew for a great weekend!
Real quick a few thoughts on racing in the rain… if you have read this far I can at least try and impart of wisdom.
– If it is raining or likely to rain decrease the your tire pressure by about 10-15 psi. It will give you better handling in the wet, making the corners and descents less hairy.
– Have a positive mind set. We have all ridden and run in the rain, and frankly its kind of fun, so embrace the challenge of the day and smile dammit!
– Leave your helmet right side up, so as not to collect cold water for you to dump on your head. I actually forgot this one and it made for a nice post swim shower.
– Probably leave the glasses for the run as they will just fog up and get hard to see out of. I am asking Rudy Project for sunglass wipers right now.
– Put your shoes inside a plastic bag in transition to keep them dry and easy to put on. I forgot a bag and paid for it with a wet insole sliding into the toe upon entry.
– Do your best to have dry clothes available until you get in the water and right after the race. Your body will stay warm during, but after you can get cold quickly, and there is nothing worse than getting into cold water when you are already shivering.
Food for thought…