Monday, May 19, 2014

Rev3 Knoxville Race Report

This race was a long time coming.  The Rev3 series started over a year ago on Knoxville and it's been a great 12 months of racing for me.  I've stayed healthy, raced consistently, and put myself in a position to potentially win the series.  After the Florida race last November, I had 6 months to prepare and be ready to earn the series championship here in Knoxville.  Of course, I had a little extra motivation (and a little less sleep!) thanks to Baby Sidney so the big payday for the series was my prime concern as I made the trip to the last professional Rev3 race.

What I left in Richmond!
Preparation went smoothly leading up to the race and I was able to enjoy some great company with a large RVA contingent participating in the age group race.  I had two of the best night sleeps I've had in a month at the hotel and woke up race morning ready to go.  The cold wasn't quite as cold as expected and there was no rain, so conditions were prime for fast racing.  It was just below the water temp cut off so I jumped in the Tennessee river with my trusty BlueSeventy Helix and went to work.

The Fray.

The swim went just as planned with a solid group of five getting away from the group.  I sat on Cam Dye's feet for the majority and kept my effort low.  By the time we hit the end of the swim, I was barely warmed up!  The quick run to T1 put me in the back of the group and my not-so-quick transition didn't help!  Luckily, my bike legs were good and I was able to warm up before hitting the first real hills on the course.  I settled into a strong pace but was definitely missing a gear (or two!) of top end power thanks in part to my new role as a father.



Running....Sort of.  Ouch.


I had enough juice to keep the pace high and through the 40 miles of tough terrain I was able to stay near the front of the race.  With the cold weather, I had to pay attention to taking in nutrition in the form of First Endurance Liquid Shot.  I drank less than a bottle of fluid, but was able to take in enough concentrated calories to keep the effort high.  I came into T2 just ahead of Tim Don and Kevin Collington.  Knowing those boys can run like the wind, I knew I was in a bit of trouble! I also knew that their strong running ability coupled with the three bikers up the road meant that my position as series champion was almost a sure thing.  Richie needed to be in 4th place or better to steal the series and that wasn't going to happen today!  It was a strange feeling starting on the run knowing that my work was basically done.  I was a bit more fatigued than I'd have liked and my mind was wondering but I didn't let myself off the hook.  My body wasn't happy, but that's part of the fun!


I clicked off steady 5:45s for the first half of the run and did a quick time check at the 1/2 way turn around.  I was in 6th about 2 minutes behind 5th and :45 ahead of Richie who had no one behind him.  Again, it was not a normal situation knowing that I didn't need to kill myself anymore and knowing that the race was already played out.  With about 5k to go, Richie caught me and we exchanged a quick congrats on a hard fought series and race.  After that, I went into full on cruise control.  I'm ashamed to admit that I probably spent more time looking backward than forward the last two miles just making sure I didn't ease up too much to lose a placing for the race.  The last 1/2 mile was great as I was able to slow up enough to alnowledge the volunteers, fans, and other athletes before crossing the finish in 7th place and as the Rev3 Series Champion!

Relieved. Happy. Tired.
I came into town with much higher aspirations than 7th, but my main goal of securing the series win was a success.  I am happy to have been able to navigate the last 4 weeks of fatherhood well enough to put up a strong showing and I can't thank my wife and family enough for their support through the process.  I'm a truly lucky man to have Ashley and now Sidney in my life.  The perspective and purpose they bring to my life and racing career are invaluable.  The last four weeks have been some of the most trying and rewarding of my life and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next (hopefully involving more sleep)!  


The next three weekends bring 3 races so I don't have much time to dwell on the results of the day.  The new format Rev3 Rush is just 6 miles from my house and a way for me to have some fun trying to find some short course speed and remember how to race a road bike.  After that it's off to Raleigh 70.3 and Eagleman before taking some time off to be a father.  

Time for Family!
Last but not least, I want to thank my sponsors for their continued support.  BlueSeventy, First Endurance, and ISM saddles have been with me from early on and I'm happy to represent them well.  Utopian Coffee and Normatec Recovery make my daily life much more enjoyable and comfortable and Matt with the Sport Factory makes sure I'm on the right track.  RVA institutions Peluso Open Water, Active Chiropractic, and Carytown Bikes have been great in their support of not only me but all of Richmond's athletes. Thank you to everyone.

Official Rev3 Video:

With my big payday, I'm going to make sure the Blazeman Foundation gets a serious donation.  I encourage anyone reading to pitch in as well.  ALS is a terrible disease that needs your help!  With Ironman in my future, you'll see a few Blazeman Rolls.  If you don't know what that means, I encourage you to find out!


2 comments:

  1. Congrats Eric!! Very happy to also read that you will be at Eagleman...as will be also this yr! I shall have something for Sidney!! Love shopping for baby girls!!!
    Again, Congratulations and as always...thanks for remembering the blazeman...
    Mary Ann and Bob
    Jon's mom and dad

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  2. Hello Eric,
    A quick message to ask if you would you be interested in a mutual following on twitter? If so, I'll give you a 'solo' follow-friday shoutout including your website this Friday & anytime you need a retweet, 'My twitter page is Your twitter page.' I'm currently following you & awaiting for your follow-back. Look forward to hearing from you Eric...
    Darin
    twitter.com/DarinArmstrong
    Team LIVESTRONG

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