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Rev3 Branson - Half Rev - Aquabike

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Branson, Missouri
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 23m 17s
Overall Rank = 1/6
Age Group = Aquabike
Age Group Rank = 1/5
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:30. Drove to T2. Dropped off some shoes and race bib to get around after the bike. Got on the bus for the ride to T1. (These things: but we stayed on land.) Got my stuff organized at T1, stayed dressed in warm-up stuff since it was ~45F out.

Had my tires pumped up by the mechanic as trying to use the smaller bike pump I had in the dark is ridiculously hard. Turned out to be a good idea as the valve on the rear somehow broke and needed to replace the tire. Got to see eventual women's winner Radka Vodickova making some adjustments there as well as give an interview. About 0:53 in here: girl always has an excited look.
Event warmup:

Stayed in my warm-ups for awhile then switched into the wetsuit. Air was cold, but water was warm, just wetsuit legal for amateurs. Waited until a few minutes before the pro start and began to swim around some. Stayed in the water from then on as it was warmer than the air. They had a little protected area off to the side to warm-up in even after earlier waves had started. Being in the Aquabike, I was in the last Half Rev wave, 20 minutes after the pros started.

I developed some hip flexor trouble overnight a few weeks out from the race. It took 4-5 days before I could walk normally again, so didn't think I'd be ready to really run a half marathon, that fast, let alone in this HIM. I could still bike just fine and didn't want to go really conservative just to maybe kinda get through things. I've done that before and wanted to go after it, especially since every other race this year has been a bit disappointing. So I switched to the Aquabike. Going harder on the bike is most always appealing.
  • 33m 17s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

Beach start. A couple minutes before it was time to go, I got out of the water and walked over to the arch. By the water the sand turns to small rocks. I can't run well on them, so started in the 2nd row. 60 sec call, someone forgot their goggles and ran out to look for them. Horn went off and walked out into the water. Running did almost nothing for most anyone (women, relay & aquabike wave) as I was right back up in it after the dive.

Just started swimming what felt right. Form did feel better today than the last couple swims, so hopefully that's ok and I'm not losing touch. Had a couple people on either side simultaneously think they needed to be farther the other way. Bumped them away and pulled ahead.

Made sure to sight frequently here as there was still fog out on the lake, making some of the buoys easy to lose. The far shoreline is so much the same that it can be difficult to find the corners again. It's a great view otherwise. Made my way around towards the first, catching some in the previous wave (5 min ahead). Went along the back leg fine, starting to catch some in the wave before that (10 min ahead, where I would have been for the tri).
The 3rd side back to the beach was the most interesting. I don't think the buoys were all in line, with the Oly turn marker inside a bit, throwing many people off. Thought I saw a yellow one more to the left, but couldn't be sure with the fog. Split the difference and turned out to be a good choice as it was. Kept doing my thing as best I could into shore. More fog on this side as it was more in the shade. Couldn't see shore until fairly close in. Could see the local hotel up on the hilltop and knew finish was down below it, even though it was a ways up the hill. Ended up making my way well into the 1st amateur wave so it didn't look so weird getting out. I had their color cap even though I was in a later wave as that's where my age had me.
What would you do differently?:

Probably look the buoy lines better before hand. Entirely possible with the triangle course. Would have saved a little time knowing for sure if they were off center. Otherwise it felt good, just a few minutes slower than I thought it should be. But most all the fast times seem slow too. Pro included. Also not sure where they had the timing mat. They only used thin wires instead of the thicker mats, so could have been in the sand or maybe up at the transition entrance. Still only 3 minutes or less slower than Malaika or Jessica Meyers, who I've been more like 9-10 minutes behind before.
Transition 1
  • 05m 57s

Very slow in transition, but was being careful due to the weather. Aquabikes usually aren't that competitive so there was no need to take chances. Used arm sleeves and ski socks since it was supposed to be ~50F and wasn't scheduled to pass 60 until at least halfway through the bike. The uphills would be some work, but descents could be cold and this stuff vents well when I get warmer (smartwool for both).
What would you do differently?:

I dunno. Had rolled both socks & sleeves and they still stuck a lot, even after toweling off to be sure. Was careful in packing up stuff with the split transitions.
  • 2h 44m 3s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.48 mile/hr

Ready to go for this bike course. Had driven it a couple times, so knew where everything was. 10 sizeable hills, 8 categorized, and a bunch of small rollers in between. There is literally no flat area on this course. Not even 100 yds from one to the next anywhere I can think of without at least a little interruption. Prepared well for this by using some Wisconsin courses and it was worth it. Since much of this was on a highway, the grades were much less and the turns were way more wide open than I'd done in practice. The first big climb was not quite 1/2 a mile out of transition. Felt ok, but not as explosive as I'd like. Will need to work on that from swimming.

Knew this first hill would warm things up, and it did. Went by a number of people with some WTF? looks, but I knew what I could do. Not quite as strong as I wanted, but this is only the first and wasn't out of the swim feeling yet. Made my way across the kiddie roller coaster top, going around a couple cars too. One was an official support car I kept catching and they waved me on.

Got to the high road transition and kept on moving. This looks confusing at first on the map, but it's very easy to see in person or by following a Strava profile. Went backwards on the u-ramp, hopped over to the right side on a small paved segment and was off on the loop section. This is a 4-lane divided highway that is completely blocked off from traffic. We have it ALL to ourselves. The first big downhill comes up immediately and was very easy to handle. They all are and are all very similar. Really wide open with maybe some sweeping turns. I went 40-43 or so on all of them and felt rather relaxed with it. Pedaled up to speed and scooted back on the saddle so I could superman a little more for coasting. I can keep up,but it's not worth it. Picked up pedaling again as I neared the bottom of each to help carry the speed out. I use a 54/42 front and put on the 11-28 for the back. Been practicing with it, so was used to the gaps in the lower half. Worked out great. Could spin up all the hills just fine and could keep up with the high speeds when I wanted to. There was just so much space that there really isn't much challenge for anyone used to the speed. Don't think I ever braked out here.

Much of the course is up and over a couple hills a few times. I could see people on the other side and tried to look for the pros. I could spot some of the women, but not the men. The guys were mostly all smaller and very slim, so they really didn't stand out (I look like a giant next to them). Speeds are so polarized on much of the course that it wasn't much use either. I just didn't want to get caught by Hoffman (who eventually won) since it was ~2/14 laps around.

Turnaround at the far end worked very well. We go off the high road onto some back roads and into a school parking lot. Go around the outer edge (only way through it) and back out onto the course. Fits in great.

Even with the smaller numbers, I could always see someone ahead. Especially with the area being so open we could see very far ahead. I'm not used to actually seeing the entire climb at once. Course marking were excellent. Anyone who missed something really wasn't paying attention. Color coded arrows in all lanes (same colors they use in all their races). Signs up and volunteers there as well.

Second lap around was still feeling pretty good, but wasn't putting out quite as much on the hills. Going to have to work on this as my body just doesn't seem to want to go as deep in a race and also haven't been able to push myself as far outside vs on the trainer. Power was still at 280 after the 2nd, but should have been higher. Energy was there, but I just couldn't seem to let it out.

On the 3rd time out my hip started to hurt some, different than the run issue. Hoping it was loosen up as I really wanted to step on it going back into town. But it didn't and I had to fight it all the way back in. Just on fire and I couldn't force out as much power. Still had ~280 going on the last climb, but it fell all the way to 273 over the last 8 miles or so. Anyone familiar with power will understand that's a huge drop for NP beyond 2 hrs of riding. Still managed to catch one of the women's pros just before the last big climb (18 min behind start), but think she's been coming off injury, so great to see her out there again.

People quote 50 mph on the hills here, but it's mainly just one smaller on back in town. Kind of sneaks up on us, but that grade is steep. I was hurting so sat up and was on the brakes a little at times to keep in control. Still hit near 44 on it.

Made my way to the finish. Had hoped to catch a couple more guys just ahead, but was hurting so much I just wanted to be done. Really hoped my leg was be well enough to get off the bike. The finish for me was the timing line for T2. But I had to get off the bike for that. Was sure I was well ahead of any other Aquabikers, but still didn't want to fall or anything there. Made it ok and walked across the line.
What would you do differently?:

Rediscover my aggressive streak. It's been missing all year, been mostly a workout wonder.

Adjust my saddle position on the bike. Seat is a bit too far back, should have found this in training, but apparently I didn't do enough of the right things to catch it. Otherwise training was right on for this course. Plenty of spring in my legs, just the hip issued locked everything up.
Post race
Warm down:

My race was done, but there was more I wanted to do. Racked the bike and just hobbled around a bit. Took off the one shoe, but had to wait a bit for the other as I couldn't reach it. Sat for awhile to let things calm down. Talked with a few other relay or aquabikers that were around waiting. Once well enough, put on the shoes I had left there and went out on the run course to get to the finish.

This is another cool thing by Rev 3. We're done, but we also get to go through the finish for pics, announcement and other things. We'd asked how to do this the day before and the answer was however we wanted. Cut right over to it, run the entire loop if we want, or something in between. The run starts by going through the outdoor shopping center. The lane off the center. It's a huge brick lined path that still leaves plenty of room on either side for everyone else. I just walked the entire way through this, taking it all in and stopping to stretch my hip every so often. Wanted to actually run in the finish chute.

Once past the shopping center, I cut over to the river path (yes this is fine, RD Eric was right there for it) and walked up to the finish. Looked behind to see who was coming as I didn't want to mess up anyone else's shot. Let some people go, one turned in while the others still had laps. Gave him some space and followed on in.

Had hoped to see the men finish, but several of them were sitting on the ledge just past. Recovering in T2 had taken way too long for that. So the women wouldn't be too long. No time to go get a camera or anything, so just watched. While waiting, saw my horrible mug shot of a picture up on the video board for what seemed like forever, no one was coming in! After a bit, made my way back to T2/post race area. Ended up walking with 2nd women Jennifer Spieldenner. Sounds just like many of us, wishing this or that would have gone better, dropped chain, burning body pains all over and inside. You'd never know from looking at her she wasn't far off from winning the thing.

Then over to the food. A buffet of tacos! Both hard and soft shell.

After that I just waited around for the pro awards, then wandered around until the Half awards. Turns out that 2nd place lives sorta near me and he actually beat me at another event before. I saw the name out on the course and was trying to place it. Pretty good day overall. Once again it was cold to start (4/4 on that), but finally had no rain for a race!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Biggest factor is to find my edge again.

Event comments:

Rev 3 really did a fantastic job with this. Everything was very well organized and their atmosphere is so inclusive. They really want people there and to go have fun (like running after the Aquabike). It was so easy to handle everything that the only difficulty is with the course itself. They are really listening to athletes and doing everything they can to enhance the experience. Any event these guys put on is worth a look.

Last updated: 2013-09-24 12:00 AM
00:33:17 | 2112 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/5
Overall: 3/6
Suit: Sleeveless Wetsuit
Course: 1 lap, triangle course, foggy
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:57
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:44:03 | 56 miles | 20.48 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/5
Overall: 1/6
Course: 48% uphill, 49.5% downhill, rest is flat.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2013-09-24 4:29 PM

Northern IL
Subject: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

2013-09-24 5:06 PM
in reply to: #4862983

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Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

OMG OMG OMG they made you ride those ducks as shuttles!?!?! I have a deep seeded distaste for those things ... stemming from constantly being harassed by tourists while I run in Seattle. They shot me with a water gun one time too.


Annnnnyway, other than the ducks those Rev events sound awesome.

You killed it! Funny, all but one were  in your AG eh?

I'm glad you decided not to run for now. Best part of this whole thing.

2013-09-24 5:10 PM
in reply to: #4862983

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

I love the Rev 3 events!!  They do a great job overall.  

That foggy swim must have been insane to navigate! 

2013-09-24 5:24 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

Northern IL
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Originally posted by Asalzwed

OMG OMG OMG they made you ride those ducks as shuttles!?!?! I have a deep seeded distaste for those things ... stemming from constantly being harassed by tourists while I run in Seattle. They shot me with a water gun one time too.


Annnnnyway, other than the ducks those Rev events sound awesome.

You killed it! Funny, all but one were  in your AG eh?

I'm glad you decided not to run for now. Best part of this whole thing.

With so few in the Aquabike, it was it's own category. The 1 other was the only woman.

And the ducks were fine. It was completely dark and before 6 am when we were on them.

2013-09-24 6:09 PM
in reply to: brigby1

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Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

A 1st AND tacos? Perfect combo.

wow, that was some cool looking fog! Can't imagine swimming in it, but I'm not a fish like you. Catching two waves ahead of you??? Sheesh!

Yeah, those video clips only show climbing or descending. I totally believe you about there not being any flat sections. Surprised Very pretty scenery, though.

Sorry about the new hip issue   How is it a couple of days post race?



2013-09-24 8:56 PM
in reply to: 4agoodlife

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Sorry about the hip. Sounds like you still had a great race! Congrats!!

2013-09-24 10:57 PM
in reply to: 4agoodlife

Northern IL
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Originally posted by 4agoodlife

Sorry about the new hip issue   How is it a couple of days post race?

Kind of a new-yet-old thing. Thought I had taken care of it quite awhile ago, but seems to need a little more adjusting. Behaving exactly like a sore muscle, so still a bit of soreness, but getting better.

2013-09-25 4:39 AM
in reply to: brigby1

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

Sounds like a great event, congrats!  The bike course sounds intense.

Sorry to hear about the hip flexor issues, they have given me lots of grief in the past (although not quite as bad as you it seems).  Smart to not attempt the run.

2013-09-25 7:11 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev


Your restraint has been noted. I'm not completely unteachable--just mostly.

2013-09-25 11:25 AM
in reply to: #4862983

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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

Congrats on 1ST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That bike sounds killer. I don't know that I could mentally handle several loops with the same big hills. Ick.

I've heard good things about Rev3. I'll do one someday if they ever come this far west. Undecided

2013-09-25 11:33 AM
in reply to: TriAya

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

Top of the podium!

btw, if that's how you ride without your edge, I don't want to race you when you're hungry (that profile looks like a sawblade, and you put out great power - at least for most humans!).  Laughing

Sounds like the swim (visibility aside) is also going well for you - congrats on it. 

Great day, and very smart not running (I hope the hip works itself out quickly).

And tacos... mmmmmmm...... tacos.....


2013-09-25 1:03 PM
in reply to: #4862983

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

Nice race, Ben!  Sorry to hear about the hip flexor issue, but being able to really focus on the swim and bike is sometimes a nice reprieve.

Have you tried ART or anything for it (other than just resting)?  I usually want to sucker punch my ART guy when he's working on my hip, but it make it feel sooooo much better in the days after!

2013-09-25 1:39 PM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Wow, too foggy on the swim to be able to sight well and you still nailed it, love it!  Your confidence thoughout the write-up of the swim and most of the bike is nice to read.  Way to nab 1st and beat the guy who beat you at the other race!  And yes, lotsa love for Rev3, they are a class act.  Love the vibe at their races.  Nice job, Ben!
2013-09-26 6:41 AM
in reply to: #4862983

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Nice decision making, good ride, nice swim. And tacos to boot. It sounds like a very good race on your part, congrats.
2013-09-26 7:59 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Great race Ben - nicely done.
2013-09-26 12:37 PM
in reply to: GoFaster

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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Great bike split, that bike course is no joke! I did it last year and it's awesome! Congrats on the podium!

2013-09-26 1:57 PM
in reply to: reecealan

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev

HUGE congrats on your win, especially with the hip thing going on.  Stupid hip! 

More races should have tacos as their post-race food!!   

2013-09-26 5:48 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

Subject: ...
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2013-09-26 6:18 PM
in reply to: #4862983

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2013-10-01 7:15 AM
in reply to: TSimone

Northern Illinois
Subject: RE: Rev3 Branson - Half Rev
Nice Job! Glad to hear that Rev3 did a good job taking over after IM dropped it. I love that bike course and would like to do that race again sometime.
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