On august 12 I completed a major training milestone, my first 70.3 triathlon at REV3 Wisconsin Dells. This was my big race for 2012, and I had been looking forward to it for more than a year ago when I signed up. I wasn’t disappointed. REV3 came with all of the excitement and pomp that an event like this deserves.
I’ll give you the highlights.
The day before race day I headed over for the open water swim to test things out. The swim portion was held at the site of the Tommy Bartlett Show, so I got to swim where I watched skiers and stuntmen as a child. I wonder what lil’ Steve would have said if I told him he’d be doing a 70.3 there someday!
The open swim was great. Glad a brought my wetsuit because the water was crisp. I was satisfied after 15 minutes of swimming, so I got ready and headed to the expo for check in. This expo was awesome! I got to try on Newton and Pearl Izumi running shoes, drink a lot of Muscle Milk, get my legs worked over in a pair of $3,000 Normatech boots, enter a giveaway contest by FlyingJ, and see a giant gel at the Powerbar booth. You could feel the excitement in the air. It was so much fun! I rounded out the day by racking my bike in transition and having a group dinner with the Tri-Sharks before getting to bed at a decent hour so I could wake up “refreshed” at 5 a.m. I fell asleep right away. I have never been in the habit of worrying before a race. No point in starting now.
The next morning I went with the friends I was staying with to transition area to prepare for the race. My spot in transition was on an end, so I had a lot of room to get organized. It didn’t take long to sort everything out. I was ready by the time we got the announcement that the transition area was closing. I gulped down a gel, wrestled on my wetsuit, and headed to the swim start.
The swim was notable in that it it was my first swim that wasn’t a mass start. Instead we were launched two by two off of a dock. When my time came I jumped in and attacked the water. It was pretty brisk, but I had expected it, so there were no problems with the swim. I finished in 42 minutes and 20 seconds. This was what I was hoping for, so I was off to a great start.
Fast forward through transition, and I am on the bike. I knew what I was in for since I rode the course earlier in the summer. I wasn’t worried about it though. I had trained hard, and I already knew I could do it. Actually, anytime I was ascending a hill I found that I was PASSING other riders. I credit this to a new climbing cassette I had installed before the race and sheer grit. The descents weren’t necessarily a relief–it was not uncommon to be doing 45-50 mph. You do not want to make a mistake at those speeds. Luckily the only error I made on the ride was dropping both bottles when going through an aid station (I guess I wasn’t really thirsty anyway…). My chain came off at one point too, but compared to the person I saw whose brakes went out on one of the big descents, I’ll count myself lucky. I finished the grueling, hilly ride after 3 hours and 32 minutes. Everything was still going to plan.
I cannot really convey how happy I was to get off the bike and start running, so I won’t even try. Just believe me when I say I was thrilled. The course took me through the Dells, so I had plenty of scenery between the tourist attractions and eventually the wooded area. I switched between water, Gatorade, and Coke at the aid stations and managed to hold it all down. After 13 miles, I got to run down the final chute toward a cheering crowd. My picture appeared on the jumbotron as the announcer shouted my name. I was a great moment. I was tired, but I felt great. Official run time was 2 hours and 17 seconds (my timing shows I am at 1:57). This time was also within my target times.
After the race I proudly wore my REV3 medal and recapped the race with my fellow Tri-Sharks over post race brats. What a day! Overall time of 6 hours and 23 minutes. I avoided the wall and have a major physical feat under my belt. REV3 Wisconsin Dells absolutely rocked! Bring on the next challenge!