Monday, September 10, 2012

Rev 3 Cedar Point Race Report and Results

On Friday afternoon Adam Bohach and I drove to Sandusky, Ohio where we would be competing in the full iron distance Triathlon on Sunday.  We had a smooth drive and found our Super 8 easily and hit the sack to get some good rest.  On Saturday we drove to the race site and got our packet and attended the pro athlete meeting.  This was unique for me because it was the first pro race I've done under USAT rules rather than Ironman rules.  The biggest difference between the two in the pro races is that in Ironman racing the draft distance is 10 meters and you are free to ride right behind the athlete in front of you as long as you stay back 10 meters.  USAT elite rules prohibit this with a stagger rule which means you have to stay staggered behind or next to the riders around you.  You can actually ride next to a rider or within 10 meters as long as you more than 2 meters to the side of that rider.  The rule was a little confusing but I thought I had the jist of it.  Adam and I drove most of the 2 loop bike course which was very flat minus a couple rolling hills.  I was disappointed at the meeting to hear the water temperature was not going to be wetsuit legal for the pros.  The amateur temperature in a non-Ironman branded event is 78 degrees but the pro temperature for a race at that distance is 71.3 degrees.  The water was 74 which meant amateurs would be in wetsuits but pros would not.  I was glad to at least have my new Kiwami skinsuit which has .5 mm of neoprene to slighly help with bouyancy and is legal under USAT rules.  Due to my disappointment of no wetsuits given my disastrous history of 2 pro races without them and having never beaten anyone out of the water in those races and giving up HUGE chunks of time I wasn't even sure I wanted to attempt the race.  I thought for a bit my best move may be to just swim and bike and if I was out of the race I could always go to Branson in 2 weeks to race the 70.3.  After thinking about it while lying in bed I decided I needed to go through with Cedar Point.  My friends and family expected me to race and I had already made the drive and Jen is racing a 1/2 marathon the weekend of Branson that I want to attend so I decided I would just do the best I possibly could and try to forget about the deficit I would face out of the water. 
On race morning Adam and I were up at 4:45 for a quick breakfast.  We headed to the race at 5:15 and of course I happened to get pulled over not knowing what the highway speed limit was.  Thankfully the officer let me off with a warning knowing we were racing...I think he felt sorry for the pain we were about to face.  We got our transition area set up and went out for a short 10 minute warm up jog before heading to the swim start.  There were 25 guys racing in the pro field competing for their share of a $50,000 prize purse that paid 10 deep. 

SWIM: When the gun sounded I took off with some dolphin dives because we were starting in some pretty shallow water on the 2 lap swim.  It was pretty dark out still and I had some trouble seeing the boueys so just figured I would follow the guys in front of me.  I lost the main pack early but had someone on my feet and knew that was a good sign.  The guy on my feet went around me a couple hundred yards into the swim and I jumped on his feet and stayed there until just before we got to the 2nd turn bouey.  The shape of the swim was a triangle so there were 3 big turn boueys on each lap.  Just before the 2nd one some female swimmers came flying by us and the guy in front of me jumped on there feet for a bit and got away from me.  They unhitched him soon after but he had enough of a gap I couldn't get back on his feet.  At some point he got off course because I couldn't see him ahead of me and I was swimming solo the entire 2nd lap until he went back by me in the last 500 yards.  I knew my swim was slow because when I got to the 1/2 way point my time was at 35 minutes and change.  I was hoping to swim around 1 hr. 10 minutes but knew being solo the 2nd lap I would not be able to hit that time.  After the first loop I was back into shallow water and took advantage of that by doing some dolphin dives to give my arms a break and when I started swimming again I felt pretty good.  I tried to stay in a good rhythm the 2nd lap but it felt like it was taking forever.  I knew I would be down a huge amount of time getting out of the water.  When I got out I was at 1 hr. 14 minutes which is about 10-11 minutes slower than I typically swim for an Ironman distance race in a wetsuit.  I got through transition and felt pretty good getting on my bike.  I was really quite surprised to see 4 bikes still on the rack of the pro guys besides mine.  I don't know that I've ever beaten 4 guys out of the water in a pro race.  I even told the specatators there are never 4 bikes left besides mine.  I knew that meant I was starting the bike in 21st place with a lot of work to do. 

BIKE: Out on the bike I knew it would be a lonely ride for quite some time.  I knew with a 1 hr. 14 minute swim I was probably down at least 15 minutes to the main field.  One thing I've gotten used to in the pro races is riding alone.  It can be very frustrating mentally not knowing if you are gaining on anyone and feeling like you are the only one on course.  I've been pretty happy with how my cycling has been going lately so I wanted to just test myself and be confident that someone would eventually come back to me.  I passed a couple females early and at mile 13 I passed the first guy I saw which moved me into 20th place.  I wanted to get my splits every 28 miles as that was 1/4 of the ride.  I was breaking the course into 4 sections and hoping to average under 1 hr. 14 minutes for each one which would put me under 4 hrs. 55 minutes for the ride.  I went through my first 28 mile section well under pace at 1 hr. 9 minutes and some change.  I wanted to work hard to keep that pace.  At mile 40 I caught the next guy ahead of me.  I gave him some encouragement to stay with me and he did just that.  It helped a lot to have somone along for the ride.  The tougher part was that I couldn't sit back 10 meters right behind him like in an Ironman branded event since the stagger rule was in effect.  It was noticably harder being staggered behind him than when racing an Ironman branded event.  It did help just to have someone along and we traded the lead every few miles.  At mile 50 we approached the special needs point and I was excited to get my special 850 calorie bottle and my coke.  I had finished my first 850 calorie bottle in the first 25 miles so I was ready for those calories.  Unfortunately for me they couldn't find my bag and I was left without it.  I was not very happy with this but continued on with little choice.  At about mile 70 we caught another guy moving us into 18th and 19th.  I had gone through my 2nd 28 mile check at 1 hr. 8 minutes and change so I was on pace to ride just under 4 hrs. 40 mintues which would have been a huge bike PR.  At the 3rd 28 mile check I was 1 hr. 9 minutes and change so I was still under 4:40 pace with one 28 mile stretch to go.  With about 5 miles of this checkpoint I was really starting to feel the effects of missing my special needs bag.  I was getting a little naucious and was starting to feel like I was bonking.  The guy I had been riding back and forth with for the past 45 miles started to get away and I was not able to put as much power into the pedals.  We did pass another rider moving us up one more spot.  I was not back by myself and was wanting to get off the bike.  I had one more attempt at my special needs bag at about mile 95 and of course they still couldn't find it.  I stopped for a brief moment to give them time to locate it but they couldn't so I continued on knowing my speed was dropping as I was beginning to suffer.  I started to prepare myself mentally to run a marathon knowing I was hurting.  I finished the bike split with a time of 4 hrs. 45 minutes which was only 1 minute faster than my PR.  I lost about 5 minutes in the last 28 mile stretch with a little of it due to the wind we rode into the last stretch and a lot of it to do with suffering. 
RUN: In my 2nd transition I took my time.  I was hurting getting off the bike and was not very confident with how the run would go considering how tired I was and my lack of run training over the past 8 weeks.  I put on my Live Uncommon race jersey and grabbed my GPS watch and switched socks since mine were soaked from going to the bathroom 3 times on the bike.  I headed out for the run at what felt like a terribly slow pace but when my GPS located satellites it said I was running 6:40's.  I was pretty surprised by that because it felt easy.  I don't race with heart rate but I knew my heart rate was down so that was good.  My back felt good which I think was due to the massage I got from Mike Eskridge before I left on Thursday.  Mike worked on my back a lot because I had back problems at Steelhead.  I wanted to make sure I didn't get going too fast too soon like I did in Arizona last year.  I made sure to remind myself to be patient but the miles kept feeling easy in the 6:30-6:40 range.  A few miles into the race I started asking spectators for a Bears/Colts score update.  No one was helping me out with this but a lot of the people on the side of the road said they would get me the update when I ran by them later.  I got to see Adam at around mile 7 and he looked great.  I was still feeling great and was taking my GU's until I ran out of them.  At the aid stations I was taking water and coke.  At mile 10 I started thinking I might be able to break 9 hours even with the terribly slow swim.  I knew it would take a huge effort and I had no room to bonk on the run.  I had to run a 2 hr. 55 minute marathon which is right about what I was on pace for.  I started getting excited when people on the road gave me Bears updates and when I heard they were up 24-10 I ran a 6:00 mile which I would pay dearly for later.  Just before the 1/2 marathon point the run started to get hard.  It went from effortless to lots of effort in a hurry.  At the 1/2 way point I took my special needs bag and drank part of a Red Bull which didn't make my tummy feel too great.  I also too more GU's out on course with me since the run course served PowerBar gels and those are so runny my stomach wasn't liking them.  In the 2nd half of the run I had to start digging really deep.  My pace was slowing quickly and I knew it was going to be a sufferfest to the finish line which an Ironman should be.  I kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other.  My pace went to about 8:00/miles by mile 15 but then at mile 17 I began to feel better for about 5 miles.  My pace came back down to 7:15 and I passed a couple of the guys who had earlier passed me.  I saw some of the guys in the pro race were starting to drop out and knew I was in around 15th place.  One guy passed me with 2 miles left afte we had exchanged places 3 or 4 times on the run.  I couldn't go with him as I was totally running on empty and just wanted to get to the finish line.  I crossed the line with a 3 hr. 12 minute marathon after going through the 1/2 way point in 1 hr. 26 minutes.  I really need to put in some serious run training before Arizona and I know I can run under 3 hrs. if I don't go out too hard.  My total finish time was 9 hrs. 17 minutes for 15th place of the 25 guys that started the pro race.  I was really proud of the effort.  I went from not even being sure I wanted to race without a wetsuit and then gave up about 15 minutes to the main field to battle back and finish respectively.  It was definitely my best pro race without a wetsuit in the 3 I've done.  I also went into this race not feeling like I was very fit.  I have averaged about 30 miles running a week over the past 8 weeks.  Before Arizona last year I averaged 60 miles/week for 6 weeks.  I plan to take this week off to get recovered and then will have 9 weeks left until Arizona.  I'll put in some big training and also get leaner for this one.  I weighed about 164 lbs. for this race in Cedar Point which is a lot for me.  I'll be around 150 for Arizona but I need to make sure I get there without sacrificing the power I've gained on the bike.  I have plenty of bad weight on my stomach to get rid of. 
Adam finished 11th in his pro debut with a time of 9 hrs. 1 minute.  We will both be going to Arizona to break 9 hrs.  It was an awesome trip that I would not have made if Adam wasn't racing in Cedar Point.  This race definitely has me remotivated for my last race of the year.  It made me realize I can go under 9 hrs.  I realize I was 17 minutes off but I'll get almost 10 of that in the swim as Arizona is a guaranteed wetsuit swim.  After the race we went to dinner with about half of the pro field and ironically one of the guys there asked me what number I was and when I told him 42 he said they gave him my special needs bag.  He tried my drink but said it was disgusting and tossed my bag back to them.  Unfortunately they didn't get it back in the right spot for me and I never got it.  He was number 22 and when he rode through special needs they yelled out 42 instead of 22. 

 My overall experience with Rev3 was a great one.  They definitely have athletes in mind when they put the race together.  They do a lot of things to make the race a great experience for all involved.  Although Rev3 is a new series and they have some organizational things  that will get worked out like the special needs station they work extremely hard to put on a quality event for those who race there.  I'm glad to see this series grow and hopefully break up the Ironman monopoly on long distance racing.  Rev3 had free post race compression boots that served as a nice massage as well as free ART.  At my last Ironman 70.3 in Steelhead they were charging athletes for post race massage.  Rev 3 also had a very entertaining "worst wetsuit" competition on Saturday where they had people bring their worst wetsuits and they gave away 2 free new wetsuits to those who had the worst ones.  They also photograph every participant and put their picture on a huge video board when they finish.  The interviewed the overall amateur winners as the finish line which Ironman never does.  The post race meal was better than I've had at Ironman events.  The photo below is from Adam on the bike course.  We didn't have anyone to take pictures but the Rev3 crew got a few images of us.  Be sure to read Adam's report at  I'll be doing more Rev3 races in future years.  Thanks for reading!  DREAM BIG! 


Anonymous said...

Jeff, Awesome job!! You inspire me!


Anonymous said...

Nice job Jeff, congrats on a great race! Good luck in Arizona, I hope you break 9 hours.

Aaron Maurer said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. Great job fighting through the lack of special needs bags. Keep up the great work and cannot wait to hear your story from Arizona.

Carson said...

Jeff, that is awesome man! Congrats to you and Adam! And good luck in Arizona. One of my training buddies will also be in that race as well!