Rev3 Knoxville Race Report

It was wet.

I could just end the report now, but I’m sure that if you actually clicked on the link to read a report, you would like a few more details.
The last two seasons, Rev3 Knoxville has been my lone “destination race”. It’s not easy to pack up three
small children and drive 240 miles. This year, we recruited my sister-in-law to join us. So we had the Tahoe loaded down with 6 people and luggage, a double stroller, snacks, toys, race gear and my bike. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly get great gas mileage on this trip! I like taking the family to this race because Rev3 does such a great job making their races family-friendly. They have activities for kids both before and during the race and they make you feel special. The individual name tags in transition, the race number tattoos, your picture on the big screen as you cross the finish line, the phone call from the race director a week before the race…these are just a few of the unique things that they do.
It started raining Saturday afternoon and didn’t stop. It finally let up Sunday night – after we were home. The 1500 meter swim was in the Tennessee River. The water temperature was 58 degrees, but might as well have been an ice bath. After setting up my bike in transition (which was in a parking garage under cover), I walked in the rain down to the swim start with Aaron, a fellow Landshark. My toes were numb by the time we got there. I finished pulling on my wetsuit while the pros got started. We jumped in the water and it immediately took my breath away. Cold.
The horn sounded and all of the males under the age of 40 got started (very large wave). I was on the inside edge, closest to the shore. I took the usual kicks and punches and even a pull on my leg during the first few hundred meters. I usually settle into a rhythm pretty quickly, but it just wasn’t happening. Every stroke felt difficult, like I was swimming in a river of gel. It took me literally about 10 minutes of swimming before I felt comfortable. I even had brief visions of finding a kayak for a rest. I didn’t know if I could work this hard for the entire swim. The swim felt much easier during the last 1000 meters or so. My breathing became more relaxed and I got in a zone. I had no idea what to expect when I pulled myself onto the dock and checked my watch. I thought that it would be over 30 minutes based on how slow I felt I was moving during the first 500. I was surprised to see 26+minutes. I swam 1577 meters according to my Garmin, so my swimming is still not very straight. I was still 55 seconds faster than last year.

1500m swim
27:31.01 (1:50/100m) – includes run up the dock
18th out of 39 in my Age Group

I pulled off the top half of my wetsuit during the run from the water to transition. It’s about 1/3 of a mile – over railroad tacks, across the road, down a sidewalk, up a hill and into the parking garage. Oh yeah, and it was still raining. My T1 time was 19 seconds slower than last year. Not sure what to attribute this to, other than maybe taking my time running on the wet pavement.

4:40 (includes 1/3 mile run to transition)
moved up 9 spots in my Age Group during T1

I was dreading the bike. I normally can’t wait to get on Flash and tear up the road – but not on this day. Wet roads scare me. I love speed. Flying down the descents is something that I love – but not on this day. I was rarely ever even down on my aero bars because I was constantly riding the brakes, even on the flats. With rain pouring down and the road filled with puddles and water washing across it, I was riding scared. It’s the first time that I can ever remember just praying to get back to transition in one piece. I pushed it harder than usual up the hills, because I knew that the downhills were going to be slow. I saw at least 6 people standing or sitting on the side of the road after losing control and donating some skin to the road. 
I had no idea what my average speed was, how many miles I had left, or what my power numbers looked like during the ride – because I never looked at my watch. It was all I could do to take one hand off the of the handlebars to grab and try to eat a gel. I still managed to pass lots of people along the 40K (24.8 mile) bike course, moving up 2 spots in my Age Group and 40 spots Overall. My bike split was over 3 minutes slower than last year, which I will contribute to the cautious riding!

40K bike
1:14:04 (20.1 mph)
Avg Power = 212W
5th out of 39 in my Age Group

After saying a quick thank you prayer, I racked my bike, put on a dry pair of socks, slipped on my shoes and hat and was out into the rain. I was a full minute slower in T2 this year, but I didn’t change socks last year and everything just moves slower when it’s raining!


I was feeling good with my dry socks. Until I stepped in an ankle-deep puddle about 100 yards into the run. I was unavoidable. So my feet were instantly soaked. I started at a comfortable pace because I didn’t know how my foot was going to feel. I ran the first mile in 7:31 and felt good, so I dug a little deeper. Did I mention that it was still raining? Puddles everywhere. Miles 2 and 3 went by fast, 7:04 ad 7:09 respectively. I still felt good, so I pushed it some more. Mile 4 was logged in 7:00 flat. I knew that there was a long, steady hill coming, so I tried to push it before I got back out on Neyland Drive. The climb starts at about the 5.5 mile mark and ends at the finish line. I knew I was slowing down and I kept checking my watch to see my current pace. My goal was to keep it under 8 minute miles. Mile 5 was 7:33 and mile 6 was 7:36. I “sprinted” the last half mile or so and finished my run 2 minutes and 18 seconds faster than last year. I held on to 7th place in my Age Group during the run and passed 14 people to move up to 75th Overall. I felt some dull pain in my foot a few times, but just blocked it out. It really didn’t start hurting until I was loading up the car to drive home.

10K run
45:08 (7:16/mile)
9th out of 39 Age Group
Despite the continual onslaught of rain, Jessica brought the two older kids down to the finish line to watch me come across. She’s an amazing wife and mother. She was very supportive the whole weekend and I couldn’t do any of this without her. 

 Total Time
7th out of 39 in my Age Group
75th out of 355 Overall

Lots of people have asked me about the race. I’ve used the word “miserable” several times. While the race was not very much fun because of the cold water and the non-stop rain, it was still triathlon…and I love it.

Me with Kate and Adrian after the race

Special thanks to Patrick at Meridian Acupuncture and Kevin at Rudy Ellis Sports Medicine for treatments on my foot leading up to the race. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run the full 10K. Not only did I run it, I set a PR for a 10K run in an Olympic distance race!

 Gear used:
2XU C:2 wetsuit
Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles
Pearl Izumi Select Tri Suit (pictured to the left)
Tifosi Dolomite sunglasses
Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike
Bike Javelin aero helmet
DeFeet Running Socks (no blisters!)
Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7 shoes

Nutrition used:

  • (1) Medium Sweet Potato (ate this in the bathroom of our hotel room – yum)
  • Water bottle with NUUN tablet
  • (1) GU Chomps – ate about 30 minutes before race start


  • (1) 24oz. bottle of water
  • (2) GU Roctane gels (one at 20 minutes, one at 40 minutes)


  • Water at every aid station, Gatorade at last two aid stations

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One Response to “Rev3 Knoxville Race Report”

  1. Matthew Smith May 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

    Even though it was a flood out there, you really did great! I’m super impressed! Nice work, Luke!

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