Two weeks ago I raced the Falls Duathlon here in Minnesota as a little warmup for my first pro race of the year in Knoxville. The duathlon was fine. My Gear West Bike and Tri teammate Chad Millner was eager to three peat and it would have been rude for me to get in the way. He got enough of a gap the first run that it took over half the bike to catch him and my gap off the bike wasn’t enough to keep him at bay. It was a chilly day but the course is nice. If you are looking for an early race to kick off your season I highly recommend the Cannon Falls Duathlon – as long as you can take a little cold weather.
Rev 3 Knoxville was my first time racing with the Rev 3 organization. The venue was perfect and the course was hard and fun. We swam in the Tennessee River, I had a wimpy start and poor swim in general so I was relegated to the second chase pack. Coming into T1 I saw the first chase group already heading out on the ride. My Gear West teammate David Thompson had made that group. I was disappointed with the swim because my swim training has been great. I was pleased, however, to feel fine running into T1 and starting the bike – usually that is a rough patch but if you are actually fit from swimming enough it goes more smoothly.
The bike was fun. The course was fairly hilly, a little technical, and the roads were mostly smooth. I was feeling good and by the turnaround could see I wasn’t far behind the main chase group. The best part of the day was definitely passing more established guys on the bike. On the bike I have the most control and feel like I can really play at the pro level. The group was pretty big over the final miles and no one seemed eager to push the pace. I figured I might as well get some glory for the day and went to the front and led into T2. We came in just behind a pair of Russian guys, and Dye, Yoder, and Bennett were already out on the run.
The run was fine. With five ahead on the road and a big group of runners with me it was not going to be a payday. Thankfully with a 7 AM start we were done before it got hot.
If you are a nerd, my splits were 18:28, 55:53, 36:18. 15th at the finish. Not exactly amazing but it was a pretty good day overall and it certainly got my confidence up and my mojo going for the year. I am never a big fan of the first races of the year as I am always uncertain of where I stand. Now I have a clearer picture and will be moving forwards all year through October.
The Rev 3 crew is truly outstanding. They are both professional in their approach and friendly with the athletes. They set a great tone and put on a really enjoyable event. I look forward to seeing them again in August over at the Wisconsin Dells and twice in October for their South Carolina and Florida races. I am hoping to see a huge contingent of Minnesota athletes over at the Dells so we can enjoy a few grain-based, carbonated recovery beverages together.
It was also fun to be in a pro race with a teammate. The last time I raced with David was Lifetime 2010 which was my first pro race and I was pretty much off the back right away so we never crossed paths. It will be great when Dan Hedgecock joins us. I don’t know if Kevin O’Connor originally planned to have a 3 man pro team on his hands but he will next year!
As always a big thanks to Gear West Bike for keeping me rolling on two wheels, OptumHealth Performance where I do my coaching, swimming, and hanging out, and to Harvey Skees, my legal counsel and road trip associate. TYR also keeps me dressed well at races.
Up next: For the first time since 2007 I will be missing the Gear West Duathlon to road trip down to the Kansas City 5150
Have a great start to your season!