Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rev3 Vs. WTC

It's the great debate, is it not?  Who do you like better?  Who puts on a better race?  A few people have asked me about the merits of each, so I decided to put some thoughts down on the topic.  Granted, I have only done two Rev3 races (only 1 half) and only a single WTC or Ironman Brand race.  I will also do one of each in 2013.  But I did do a half from each company in the span of 4 weeks.  So lets break it down by the tale of the tape, shall we?

Both races were extremely well organized.  Rev3 had to do a little more "on the fly" stuff with the winds preventing bike check on Saturday and cancelling the swim on Sunday.  Ironman was setup to easily handle the 3,000 that were registered at check in at the Marriott.  Rev3 only had to handle 500, but it was smooth as well.
Winner: Slight WTC

Pretty similar.  Augusta was $275 and Florida was $250.  Rev3 did do an early bird for $215.  No early pricing was availible for Augusta even though most races top out at $250 and some race early bird is $199.  But if you have a race that sells out even when you have 3,335 spots, why would you offer a reduced price?
Winner: Tie

Big Time Feel
I have to give the nod to WTC here.  With the sheer event size, people taking all kinds of pictures at transition, and all the stuff being sold at the expo, you knew it was a big race.  I saw many people biking in their "Ironman 70.3 Augusta" bike kits, which is hilarious, but makes you understand how important it was for people.  Rev3 has a great big event/laid back atmosphere however that I do like.  WTC also has the qualification for their "World Championship" race in Las Vegas.
Winner: WTC

Rev3: Long Sleeve Finisher shirt, Finisher Medal, AG Award Medal, cheap sling bag, BlueSeventy Goggles, Headsweats Visor, and free 2013 entry for winning your AG.  WTC: Tech T-shirt (no sponsor logos), Finisher Medal, AG award plaque, nice sling bag, timing chip strap.  The easy winner here is Rev3

Rev3: 500, WTC: 3,000.  Depends on what you like, but 500 is a great number.  Not so small that you get on the bike course and you are by yourself, but not too big that you spend the first 30 miles trying to get some room to breathe.
Winner: Slight Rev3

Gotta like the Rev3 bike racks.  Plenty of room and you feel like a pro. WTC stuffed us in transition like sardines.  If the guy next to me had shown up, I would have been in trouble.
Winner: Rev3

Race Management
No issues with either.  Courses both marked well and with volunteers at turns.  Plenty of volunteers and aid stations on the run.
Winner: Tie

Race Results/Timing
WTC definitely gets the results posted asap.  They have some of the rankings within you AG screwed up, but nice results.  Rev3 took several days to get all the split timing straight on their website
Winner: WTC

Ironman had a ton of pics to look at from Finisherpix.  Like 3 or 4 times as many as I'm used to seeing. Rev3 had some decent ones, but they give you a free finisher pic, and its like 20 mp!
Winner: Slight Rev3

Family Friendly
Easily Rev3 here.  WTC is more strict on the rules and such. Rev3 lets your family run down the chute with you.  Rev3 also has stuff for the kids to do on Saturday and Sunday.
Winner: Rev3

So I scored it a slight edge to Rev3.  It really depends on what you want.  You want a big race, with a big time feel and the potential to qualify for a championship?  You want Ironman.  You want a big time race that is a little more laid back and something the family will enjoy and want to do again?  You want Rev3.

I may revisit this next year after I do Ironman 70.3 Las Vegas in September and then Rev3 South Carolina in October.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rev3 Florida Race Report

It was finally here.  The last race of the season.  The idea for doing this race actually began with my wife wanting to do a trip to Florida to goto Harry Potter World at Universal in Orlando.  We like to take our Florida trips in the fall, so when Rev3 announced this race, I suggested we wrap this all up in one trip.  Then the school calendar came out and the kids were scheduled to be off that Friday.  So it was settled.  After Augusta, I was looking forward to a little vacay and a fun race on a flat course (and my first ocean swim).

We decided to drive down to Jacksonville as soon as the kids got home from school.  It worked out well as we made it a few miles past downtown and found a cheap Red Roof Inn and just parked the camper in the parking lot.
Green Lightning's first trip on the outside the Explorer!

Green Lightning's first night in a hotel room!
Grabbed some breakfast at McDonalds and drove about 3 hours and spent the day at LegoLand in Winter Haven.  This was my 8 year old's favorite part of the trip.  We all had a good time.  We left before 5pm and headed down to the KOA in Venice.  The campground is on Hwy 41, right on the bike course.  We were setup in our site before 8pm.

The boys were excited!

KOA Myakka River, right on the Bike course on Hwy 41
We all slept in and had a leisurely morning.  I went for a short 2 mile run and we headed to the beach late that morning.  When we got to the race site, the parking person told us we would not be checking the bikes.  When we got out of the car we realized why.  It was crazy windy.  Even though Hurricane Sandy was up near Georgia at the time, the winds down here were really bad.  So we checked in and got my chip.  We went for a walk out on the pier, then grabbed some lunch on the way back to the campsite at Applebees.  Again, we had a leisurely afternoon.  I got my bike all setup for the race.  The boys played and even swam in the pool.

Packet Pickup

Chip Pickup and Jumbotron Picture

The sea was angry

The Wind was howling

Very Choppy
 For the swag, we got a Headsweats visor (just like at Rev3 SC last year), a nice pair of Blue Seventy goggles, and a cheap sling bag (the type I usually throw out).  No t-shirt, but I figured we get a finisher's shirt.  And the Rev3 race tats in lieu of body marking.  They go on easy and look great.  Getting them off is a PITA, but not something you worry about until the race is over.

Prerace Swag

Locked, Cocked, and Ready to Rock!
Sunday (Race Day)
Woke up at 5:30 am and it didn't seem too windy.  But we were 10 miles from the ocean.  My wife dropped me off at the race site.  As soon as I got out of the car, I got blasted by the crazy wind again.  As I made my way over to transition I could kinda hear a race announcement over the PA system.  I didn't catch it all, but did hear that the swim was cancelled.  I kinda felt neutral about it.  I had been excited about swimming in the ocean, but I was actually concerned about doing a swim in those rough waters without the wetsuit.  Plus I stink at swimming, so skipping the swim could only help my place.

I put my bike in the bike rack, but it was still being blown all over the place, so I set my bags by my front wheel to help it stay still.  A few minutes later, I caught the full announcement.  We would start time trial style at the entrance to the transition.  It would be like we were coming out of the water.   They said we would start at 8:35am.  My wave was supposed to go into the water at 8:05, so the timing of the finish would be about the same.
Almost Ready to Roll

Transition really wasn't that big

The Pros started earlier with a 1.5 mile run.  All of us were lined up to watch them go by.  It was pretty cool to see every single pro run by like a road race.   We all cheered like crazy.  Then we lined up by bib number and they began sending us into transition about every 2 seconds.

T1 Officially 0:48,    8 / 40 AG, 99 / 209 Overall Men
When it was my turn to go, I ran fairly hard.  Not too fast because my bare feet couldn't take too much on the sea shell pavement.  Obviously a quick transition as you had nothing to take off and I was not disorientated from the water.

Bike  2:17:40 (24.5 mph)  2 / 40 AG, 8 / 209 OAL
So everyone knew the first 25 miles would be crazy fast due to the wind direction.  It wasn't as fast as I thought due to some of the crosswinds on Manasota Key.  Still, I hit 25 miles in 53:30.3 (28.0 mph!), including a 5M stretch on McCall Road at 30.4 mph.  The wind wasn't bad on the next 5M which I averaged 23.9 mph.

Then I hit it.  As I turned up Biscayne Drive it was bad.  It really blew you back at times.  You'd try to crank it, but sometimes you'd look down and you were going 19 mph.  So from 30 to 55 miles I averaged 22.0 mph which I didn't think at the time was too bad.  Looking at the results, however, I really lost some time to the top guys in the last 25 mile stretch.  Still I felt pretty good to average 24.5 in that wind.  As an added bonus, coming down Hwy 41, my wife and kids just happened to pull out of the campground when I was going by.  It was fun and gave me an added boost through that windy stretch.

T2 Officially 0:56
My dismount was flawless, but I always have a little slow T2 as I put socks on for the run.

Run 1:26:33; 2 / 40 AG, 6 / 209 OAL
My Garmin had 12.70 miles and a 6:49 average (taking out the 45 seconds that ran off when I forgot to stop my watch at the end).  I would have liked to average 6:36's as if it was truly 13.1M, but I trust my 910 more than mile markers.  I tore out of T2 too fast.  I ran 6:13 the first mile (just like Augusta), but unfortunately it didn't last.

I was pretty tired from the wind.  The cement on most of the course didn't help either.  Then the sun came out and it got hot.  Let's see, any more excuses?  Oh yeah, the motivation just wasn't there.  Got into my 'comfort zone' running 6:50 to 6:55's and just felt like sitting there.   Definitely a lack of motivation during the run.  But my goal was to enjoy this race.  The last mile was tough, as it felt like it was straight into the wind.

As I got to the finish line, I let the guy behind me go ahead and had my two kids jump out onto the course with me to go down the finish chute.  It was pretty fun.  We put on the "Gun Show" at the end as well.

Finish 3:45:55,  2 / 40 AG,  6 / 209 Overall
After the finish, my left leg cramped up like crazy.  Basically everytime I moved.  Sat down, chugged some water and felt better.  I went over and got a massage and then some food.  Loved the rice and bread.  Even had a beer (we got 2 for free).

So I "Won" my age group as the top Male 40-44 was second overall and got a Top 3 Award.  I was really happy with that and pleased with my overall 6th place finish.  I thought I might do better overall, but my run wasn't there today.  Full Results HERE.
Finish Chute

Athlete Food

Free Beer
My goal at the beginning of the year was top 3 AG at this race.  So with the cancelled swim I was pleased to "win" my age group.  For winning the AG, I got a box of Powerbar chews, a special medal with 1st place AG on it, but best of all a FREE entry to a Rev3 Half race in 2013!  That's pretty sweet.

Finisher Shirt Front

Finisher Shirt Back

AG award Medal and finisher Medal

All Rev3 award and finisher medals snap together

So I had been planning on doing Beach to Battleship Half to end the 2013 season, but instead I think I'll do Rev3 SC in Anderson.  Especially since they are hosting the USAT Long Course Nationals next year (which I qualified for at Augusta on time).

After the awards we headed up to Orlando.  We stopped by "Gecko's", a little local place and grabbed some food.  I had a Blue Moon beer, which was awesome!  We got up to Orlando and setup at the Tropical Palms Campground before 8pm.

We got motorvated around 8:15am and headed up to Universal Islands of Adventure.  So if Legoland was for my 8 yr old, and the race was for me, then Universal was for my wife and my 11 yr old son.  They loved "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter".  It was cool (and I could care less about Harry Potter).  Seuss Land was really neat as well.  We ended the day at Golden Corral for a "feast" as my son called it.
The "Wizarding World of Harry Potter"

Got up.  Packed up.  Drove 530 miles back home.  Got home around 5:30pm, exhausted, but satisfied with a great trip!