2012 Revolution 3 Quassy

Today’s Rev3 Quassy Half Rev was an OK race for me. I’ve been avoiding “big budget’ races lately and focusing more on local stuff. I did half a dozen Ironman brand events from 2009-2011, but I don’t have one planned for 2012. We will see about 2013. Rev3 is the closest thing to a rival that Ironman has and their production is equally as complex and the entry fees reflect that. I did this race in 2011 and enjoyed it. The course is what makes this race. It is spectacular and shows the backcountry of Connecticut in all of its spring glory.

The Quassy Amusement Park venue is one of my favorites. I’ve done the Pat Griskus races there  many times in recent years and I’ll be back in July for the sprint. The Rev3 bike course is on the gorgeous hilly roads of Litchfield County. There are a few main roads, but the traffic was light on a Sunday morning. The run course is around Lake Quassapaug and features a nice dirt road and a lot of hills.

Rev3 wasn’t a good race for me last year. I suffered in the last 1/3rd of the bike leg and was completely empty on the run. I was hoping to do better this year, but my allergies kicked into high gear last weekend and I ended up with a nasty head cold that has bothered me all week. I just pushed through it and actually did better…38 seconds better, than last year. My swim was slower by 3:15, but buoy placement always varies from year to year. It’s possible that the swim leg was a little long, but it doesn’t matter.  My bike leg was 1:37 quicker and my run leg was 52 seconds quicker. My transitions were a little better. So my 4:55:50 was slightly better than my 4:56:28.

This is a slow 70.3 course because of the hills, and relative to other races, this is a tough one. I like it. I was 10th in my new 40+ age group. There were about 35 pro men and women. This is a big money race for them with a $125,000 purse. Richie Cunningham won overall in 4:00:32, proving that this is slow compared to say…pancake flat Ironman 70.3 Florida. Cunningham had a battle. He only won by 14 seconds over past winner James Cunnama. Joe Gambles was third. Women’s winner and former Ironman World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae, also had a battle. She was only 17 seconds clear of Heather Wurtele. Angela Naeth was third, only 25 seconds behind Wurtele. I look forward to reading about their races. It must have been interesting.

Quassy is a great venue. Our kids were able to enjoy the amusement park rides. There is a lot to see and do. With 2,000+ triathletes and their families, you need a spot that can handle the masses. Yesterday, there was an Olympic distance race, though the weather was atrocious with constant rain, that often came in torrents. It even rained overnight, so the venue was a mud pit. The sun came out and shone brilliantly today, but the ground was still waterlogged, the parking lots were deeply rutted, and some of the roads remained wet. I think some of the late HalfRev finishers also got caught in a late day thunderstorm. We were already back at Deb’s parents place in Prospect when the skies opened up again.

I know from experience that hosting races in nasty conditions can be a test. Fortunately, my race window from 7:30 A.M until 12:30 P.M. was beautiful. There was a light breeze and the temperature was perfect. I was out of synch all weekend. I’ll blame it on my congestion! I had a scare before the start when I couldn’t find my aero helmet. I assumed I left it at the house. I e-mailed Debbie so she knew not to worry if she found it because I had my regular spare. It wasn’t aero, but I was prepared to wear it. Then, I went to get my pump in the back of the van, and my helmet was there…right where I put it. I e-mailed Debbie again to tell her. She and the kids came down mid-morning since I left the house at 5:30 A.M.

I didn’t find my Body Glide until after the race, but a fellow athlete let me use his lube. I always where a hat when I run, so it was a real bummer when in T2, I realized that I never pulled my hat out of my bag. So, I went without it, and have a little redness on my head to show for it. I ended up with a nasty blood blister, though it didn’t bother me during the race, which is a good thing.

I stayed within my limits all day. I didn’t want to go into the “red zone” because this wasn’t an A race. It even slid from a B to a C this week after I got sick. Still, it was a good effort. I picked up spots all day. Only two guys (both in my age group) caught me on the bike and a handful more (though only a few in my age group) caught me on the run. I did a lot of catching myself and the most important one came in the extremely muddy finish chute. I passed Debbie and the kids at full tilt and she yelled that our son wanted to run the last 30 meters with me. Unlike Ironman races, Rev3 encourages this.

I saw him out of the corner of my eye and he jumped into the mud with me. I slowed a bit and then realized that I was catching one more runner, and he was in my age group. So, I had a dilemma. Do I wait for my kid, or do I go for the kill? Well, I processed this thought quickly and figured that my son would forgive me for out-sprinting him. I picked off that last guy, which nailed down top 10 for me, and then I waited on the finish line for my son to catch up. He was upset about all of the mud anyway, so he wasn’t too worried that I didn’t wait.

Just like last year, the volunteers were fantastic. I’ll have some feedback for the Race Director. They have to do something about the litter on the bike course. Rules need to be enforced. Triathletes need to pack their own trash out (like Leave No Trace) if we are going to keep beautiful venues like Quassy. This is one reason why I carry my energy gel in a flask. There is no packaging waste, and its a better value too. The police and race marshals were excellent. The aid station volunteers were cheerful and energetic. They also have to get rid of those crazy “water in a bag” things. You wasted a lot of them when the explode. When tired, you can’t open them, resorting to using your teeth. When you do tear them open, you end up with plastic in your mouth, which then ends up on the ground. It is a very environmentally high impact package. Who ever thought of water in a bag? I didn’t see one USAT referee on the course, which seemed odd. Compared to my last big budget race, the USAT National Age Group Championships, rules enforcement seemed lax. Also, I was surprised by the lack of security at the transition area. Anyone could walk in our out. They weren’t doing a good job at checking race numbers and checking out bikes.

We saw a lot of friends at the race, and there were races everywhere this weekend. Mooseman 70.3 was in New Hampshire today. Ironman 70.3 Hawaii was yesterday. But, when your in-law’s live 22 minutes from a nice race venue, then you have an easy choice. There were several HEATsters out there. Kristina Folcik made the trip down from New Hampshire. It is always fun to see her and her fiancée, Ryan Welts. She had a good race. I saw a lot of folks that I know.  In my age group, Chris Schulten absolutely crushed it. He was 2nd in 40-44, 5th overall amateur, and beat me by 18 minutes. He only beat me by a couple of minutes at the Lake Terramuggus sprint training series race #1 earlier this week, so I know that if I ever figure out Rev3 Quassy, I can go faster. For now, I’ll take what I got.

I’ve got this week off from triathlon and then the shorter races and off-road races kick into high gear. Today, I went 70.3. Next Saturday, Debbie is going 70.5, though without a wetsuit, without a bike, and all on single track. Stay tuned!

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