>As triathletes, we love numbers. We track them. We talk about them. We blog them. We tweet them.
You know what I’m talking about. How many miles did I run? What was my pace? How many calories did I burn? How many watts did I generate on the bike? How many yards did I swim today? What is my resting heart rate? What is my Zone 3 heart rate? How many gels do I need to take on my ride?
There’s another number that seems to get triathletes – especially those doing a full distance race – to get totally jacked up. Our race bib number.
Don’t believe me? Go check out Beginner Triathlete and look in the Iron distance race section. You’ll find posts such as “Ironman Florida Bib Numbers Posted”.
I understand the hype. I’ve been there and lived the excitement. I recall checking every day for my IMKY and IMFL bib numbers. I guess it made the race feel real.
But I didn’t really think much about actually being treated like a number until I raced Rev3 Knoxville a couple of weeks ago. You see, only through comparison was I able to see the tangible differences between Rev3 and other races.
First – a little background. This is my second year being sponsored by Trakkers/Rev3, but I had never raced a Rev3 race until this season. Knoxville was my first. I had read about how Rev3 is family friendly and offers up a great venue, but I hadn’t experienced it personally.
Now that I have I totally get it. Rev3 puts on an awesome race. You know the feeling you get from small, local races? Races where you know lots of folks there? Where the folks working at packet pickup or transition are so friendly they could talk your ear off? I love those traits about small races. That being said, I love the atmosphere of a big-time race with lots and lots of athletes. WTC races typify “big-time”. Thousands of athletes. Oodles of volunteers. Well, Rev3 is also a major race. Knoxville had more than 1000 athletes. A huge production. More semi-trucks than a rest-stop on the interstate.
But it felt local. There were small touches that made this event feel like home. Friendly faces. Outstanding volunteers. My picture on a jumbotron. Access to the RD and even the owner of the series. Interaction with professionals (you don’t get that at a WTC event). Folks at expo tents who wanted to know my name and my story. A very cool fellowship meeting put on by Multisport Ministries. In short, this was a huge ass race that felt like a local one just down the street.
Contrast Rev3 with the last WTC race I did – the Florida 70.3. That felt like a cattle call. Too little space in transition. Hurry up – go here, go there. Buy this (and pay a ton for it). Park a jillion miles away. Take a shuttle bus too and fro.
Rest assured that the actual races themselves (the physical swimbikerun part) were essentially no different from each other. You go for a swim, then a bike, and then a run. But the way they felt was so different from each other. WTC felt all corporate; Rev3 grassroots. Rev3 felt like home.
In my mind, it’s a winning formula.