I don’t think I had a favorite race prior to this weekend… sure, some races were memorable because they were in a cool location (Treasure Island) or because I saw them as a “hometown” race (Nation’s or NOLA 5150) or maybe just because I did well there (Eagleman). However, that all changed this past weekend with Rev3 Dells. I can say with certainty that this race was by far the most fun course and location I’ve ever raced. First off, location: I had never been to Wisconsin—or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter—so I was picturing flatlands and cornfields when I first signed up for the race. Boy, was I wrong! Sure, there was the occasional cornfield but for the most part it was very cool rolling hills and gorgeous scenery with the occasional killer climb thrown in for good measure. Here's a sample:
To top it off, I made the wise decision of staying an extra day and spent the afternoon and next morning following the race playing around the Devil’s Lake/Baraboo area. SO pretty and a nice alternative to fun activities in the area if you’re not the Dell’s waterpark/rollercoaster kind of person. More on that, complete with way too many pictures, after I talk a little about the real reason I flew over to Wisconsin…
I got to the Dells on Saturday, did a quick bike-build, check-in and pre-race shakeout bike and run. Ended up staying with teammate Alyssa and her two local friends so we grabbed a dinner at a very hole-in-the-wall Italian place which ended up not being too bad before an early bedtime.
It was a FREEZING (to me) 58-degrees. Racked next to a BAMF. She was twelve. She had Zipps:
Happy to report that it was a wetsuit legal swim! We started off in a pretty cool format, pushing off the dock where Tommy Bartlett usually does their boat shows! While I was originally skeptical of the TT start, I think it helped me race faster in two ways: 1) less crowding during the entire swim and 2) I was never quite sure about my overall position in the race due to the TT start so my foot was on the gas the entire time.
Start was shaky as I just could not get up to speed. About 300-400m in I finally loosened up, got comfortable with much cleaner strokes and then got my mind back in the game. I may or may not have also pulled a Ryan Lochte mid-race…. sorry, folks.
Finished strong, made it out of the water and then hauled myself up the hilly route to transition.
Hills, hills and more hills! But for the most part they were fun and only one or two steeper numbers stick out in my mind. Lots of fun rollers and a few fast but not too scary descents. I think I started to see my Skyline rides paying off as the long hauls uphill and fast descents were never really issues. The only downside was that with the up and downs, my fluid/nutrition intake was slightly spottier than usual: gripping too hard on the descents and didn’t want to lose extra power by grabbing the bottle while going uphill.
I think two or three of the slower-swimming men passed me on the bike but otherwise I was just biking up the line of riders that were spaced out quite nicely from the swim. I was having SO MUCH FUN out there – and though I felt like I was pushing the edge a little bit, I never felt near close to blowing up or like I’d be setting myself up for a poor run. Even hammed it up for the camera some – looking forward to seeing the race photos – I think I pulled the Jef Holm signature peace sign pose for one of the cameras on the bike…
01:10:23 (21.14 mph)
Saw Carole in transition and gave a giant fistpump, which was the first of probably 200 over the run course. First few miles were FAST – like 7-flat fast – which made me nervous but kept on running hard. Around mile three, Richie Cunningham (already in the lead) passed me and said “Go Rev 3” as he passed. It took a second to register but I think I yelled a crazy “GO RICHIE!!” at him as he trucked on past to his win in the half. Coming back, I settled in right behind an older AG male and probably annoyed him with my heavy breathing for the next 2-miles.
Right around this point, I also managed to sneak into one of the Rev3 Live on-course update videos about Richie holding his lead. I'm on the heels on the AG male right around 15-seconds in:
This last stretch was coming back on the out-and-back course so I got to see a bunch of Rev3 team members – I gave a big fist pump for each and everyone was cheering each other on – it was AWESOME! Also realized that I was in worst third place right around the turn-around and at best in first, depending on whether or not the two girls ahead of me were in the (separate) collegiate division. Of course, the TT start weighed heavily on me so I continued to slog my way back in, running scared.
Finally, the mile-to-go sign came and I passed him and tried to finish strong. Went a little too early and struggled in that last mile but once I got to the final chute I LOVED every second of it, from the fun chalk drawn on the pavement to the loud music to Sean English KILLING it as an announcer and then finally to coming in, fist pumping one last time and getting my Rev3 finisher medal and t-shirt.
45:19 (7:26/mi – though my Garmin averaged 7:17… hmmm)
Finally, finished with a new PR! Woo hoo! 02:23:09
Teammate Lauren also killed it on the course so Rev3 rocked 2/3 of the Women's overall podium in the Olympic and then again in the Half with Alyssa and Tara coming in #2 and #3. Rev3 rockstars - love it!!!
Congrats to everyone who came out - I think pretty much everyone I talked to was stoked about both the venue and their performance out on the course. The weather couldn't have been better and everything was spot on... overall, a fantastic race. I’m 99% sure I’m going to sign up for next year’s half and come back for round 2. You never would have guess from Rev3’s execution that this was an inaugural race and I think that’s a testament to how much they care about their athletes and their attention to detail. Case in point:
And then I avoided the waterpark crowds and spent the afternoon cliff jumping: