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Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism
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Raced the new Rev3 Williamsburg today. There were some logistical challenges that they should be able to overcome next year but they also made some rookie mistakes that I wouldn't expect from a company that isn't new to putting on large races.

First, the logistics stuff. Dual transitions is already an extra layer of coordination. They had buses to take everyone from T2/finish to the swim start and T1 in the morning starting at 4:45am. I got on an early bus but apparently there were still plenty of people waiting to load up at T2/finish at 6:30 - the Pros were supposed to start at 6:30. I guess it all worked out but caused some anxiety. I've done one other race with double transitions (RI 70.3) and they required everyone to have their bike-run transition set up the evening before the race and no access on race morning. The only thing to do race morning was get on a bus and get to the start. Then, T1 bags with our wetsuits didn't show up at the finish until something like 1pm - everyone was out of T1 by probably 9am. One of the volunteers said it was traffic. Williamsburg does have a lot of traffic in the summer but we're talking 5 miles so they clearly didn't start loading up everything for transport as soon as they could have.

Now for the mistakes. #1 - Not enough safety personnel on the swim. One of the athletes I coach actually had to help 2 people out on the swim course because she saw they waving their arms for help but there wasn't anyone around to see them. No doubt the difficult swim (see below) got them panicking in the first place but you need to have enough kayaks, paddleboards, and boats to keep an eye on the entire course or someone is going to die out there. #2 - there was absolutely no water or fluids of any kind available at the expo - not even a vendor selling drinks. At the very least have some big water coolers for people to fill a bottle from. #3 - One aid station ran out of ice very early in the race. I was running top 10 overall amateur and they were already out of ice by the time I got there (the Oly distance race has gone through previously. They seemed to take care of it because they had ice again on my next lap through. Still, sufficient stocking of aid stations for a hot and humid day is race management 101. Even the pros were grumbling about waiting around for their bags. #4 - post-race food was average at best - pasta, meatballs, and salad. Nothing wrong with it but I expected better. I also heard there was no food for the Oly athletes when they finished for a good while. They also had absolutely no drinks with the food. At least throw out some kiddie pools with ice and soda like every other race.

And the last point is a combination race management and logistics. The swim was in a tidal river. The current flows both directions depending on the state of the tide. They had us swim the long side of the course (probably close to 3/4 mile) into the tidal flow and it was moving pretty good. Check the swim times - SLOW. A slow swim isn't necessarily an issue but from what I hear there were a lot of athletes pulled from the water who simply couldn't make any progress against the current after turning the first buoy. For a company that bills their events as a little more on the family friendly side, they should have ensured the swim went WITH the current. How many spouses and kids ended up with a loved one DNF'ing 15min into their day? Tides aren't a mystery and it's not black magic like weather forecasting. There are tide tables that tell you exactly when high, low, and slack tide is well into the future. The swim start and finish were within 50m of each other. They could have easily reversed the direction race morning if necessary but it shouldn't have even come to that.

So I wrote this post not to bitch but to offer up constructive criticism. I've never managed a race before and there's plenty I don't know about doing it. So maybe there are valid reasons or challenges for some of these things but I heard similar issues from multiple people so I know it's not just my impression. This race is local to me so I want it to continue and improve in the future. There are a lot of things Rev3 did well and I enjoyed the event overall despite having a bit of a melt down on the run (my issue to deal with). If they focus on the handful of issues I'm sure they'll have a kick-ass event next year.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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No offense, but between this thread and the Top Pro Cheating thread, I'm having a difficult time believing that you enjoyed the event. It seems to me that this post is better written up as an email and sent to the RD.






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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [Tri-Banter] [ In reply to ]
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I enjoyed it just fine - I raced my race and crashed and burned on the second loop of the run :)

This is a discussion forum - we discuss things here. I'm only one person so I'm sure others who raced the event today had their own experiences both bad and good. I liked a lot about what Rev3 did - my first of their events. I just noticed some things they can improve on to make it safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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I think you can have criticisms and still enjoy the event. The lady drafting doesn't impact him directly and the USAT official is not directly associated with the RD, thus not a REV3 issue (unless this isn't a USAT race).

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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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I raced today as well but had to drop out after 1st half of run due to an injury. I waited 3 hours for my bag to arrive from transition. It didn't come until 2:00. In fact everybody was waiting for their bags and it practically turned into a rumble when they finally arrived. That is completely unacceptable! Two transitions is a just a complete nightmare. One more thing to add, is it me or was the run course a discombobulated joke? I'm thinking Rev3 is beginning to lose their edge.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [kquantum] [ In reply to ]
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The run route was interesting - heading through a few parking lots and such but I didn't think it had serious issues. I wasn't a fan of the 2 mile section with no aid station but that was mapped out well ahead of time so not a surprise.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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There were plenty of people that cut the swim course. I saw lots of pink caps in my wave turn at the OLY course. And many people were not even going around the red markers either.

What is up with the timing issues. I had to go to the timing trailer and talk to the people 3 times. And it looks like the splits for many people are still all jacked up.

I also did not like how the aid stations were all bunched together. We really needed one on the back of that steep hill.

Who gives out a long sleeved cotton finishers shirt in the summer time?

It was my first REV3 event and I really liked it. But I agree there are a couple of things that need to be tweaked for next year. I hope that this race stays put for a long time.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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I'm okay with two transitions but they made it especially difficult. I'm sure everyone would agree that T1 is the more complicated transition because you have bike and swim stuff. Yet we couldn't take our transition bags to T1 but had to use these smallish plastic bags. Of course, given how long it took to get the bags back to T2/Expo I suppose I shouldn't suggest letting us to use our bags next year.

The official explanation for the start delay was that people inappropriately parked on the highway so they reversed the entrance/exit at T1 and they needed time to adjust. (But there were people still streaming in from the buses so you're take on it may be correct.) They then compressed the start times after the pro men went off and this definitely exacerbated the clusterfuck that happened at the first red buoy as waves started colliding.

Then there were all the colors! For the half: red on the swim, pink on the bike, orange on the run. The olympics had their set of three. This is trivial (and while the red buoy was small, the bike and run were well marked).

Three small but annoying things:
1) no hand sanitizer in the porta potties. Yeesh;
2) no sunscreen at T2;
3) no bag check at T2.

Overall I found it a good time but it will need some refinements. However, the traffic backups we created were epic. Really epic and boy howdy did we get a lot of hate-filled stares today. I think the local leaders will get a lot of pressure to not do this one again. We'll see.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [BlackStumpGumby] [ In reply to ]
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Just wanted to check. I overheard someone say the swim was 1.5 m according to their Garmen. Not a big issue because its the same for everyone, but thought they would a least get the distance right.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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All,
I'll post a more detailed response soon as my wife is about to deliver our fourth child, but I wanted to post on here to let you know that we are reading this.

Bottom line is that we had some issues today. Without going into details, some were rookie mistakes. Please know that we will own up to these, take responsibility for them, take our blows and come out of this better for it. You all deserve more from us and honestly, we are better than this.

Charlie
http://Www.rev3tri.com
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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At least your kids were able to run the finishing chute..............................

Pink? Maybe. Maybe not. You decide.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [rev3tri] [ In reply to ]
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Congratulations on your new addition. Best wishes to you and your family.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [rev3tri] [ In reply to ]
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Nice...new found respect for R3Tri. Good luck on #4 and Congratulations!



rev3tri wrote:
All,
I'll post a more detailed response soon as my wife is about to deliver our fourth child, but I wanted to post on here to let you know that we are reading this.

Bottom line is that we had some issues today. Without going into details, some were rookie mistakes. Please know that we will own up to these, take responsibility for them, take our blows and come out of this better for it. You all deserve more from us and honestly, we are better than this.

Charlie
http://Www.rev3tri.com
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [BlackStumpGumby] [ In reply to ]
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We were at the line at 5:30, and had to wait 55 min for a bus. They let the spectators and Oly participants on too, combine that with folks cutting the line, we didn't move. I begged them at 6:25 to let half participants go and we finally got to go. Then panicked running around T1 and bolted to the start, only to have a 20 min delay.

There needed to be more communication between the three locations- T2, t1, and the swim start.

I had to help a man that got panicked at the first red buoy--it was bad. Then we had a major run in with the Olys bc we all collided at their turn.

I'd just have 3 lines for shuttles and have the Olys go first, especially since they do a shorter distance. Any chance we could actually see Jamestown or Williamsburg on the run? It would have been great to see some colonial folks.

The picture at the end--hilarious!! We dressed up and our pic is the best.

Congrats on the baby. I hope you're back and tweak these things for next year.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [rev3tri] [ In reply to ]
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Please understand my intent wasn't to bash the event or Rev3 in general. I'd definitely do another Rev3 race.

Thanks for joining the conversation and congrats of the fourth - I can barely handle a wife and 2 cats.

rev3tri wrote:
All,
I'll post a more detailed response soon as my wife is about to deliver our fourth child, but I wanted to post on here to let you know that we are reading this.

Bottom line is that we had some issues today. Without going into details, some were rookie mistakes. Please know that we will own up to these, take responsibility for them, take our blows and come out of this better for it. You all deserve more from us and honestly, we are better than this.

Charlie
http://Www.rev3tri.com
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [kquantum] [ In reply to ]
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Check out your track - betting you did some significant zig-zagging. I was in the first AG wave and we watched the Pros swim WAY off to the left of the first turn buoy because of the current. Didn't see a kayak lead for them but I'm not sure.

kquantum wrote:
Just wanted to check. I overheard someone say the swim was 1.5 m according to their Garmen. Not a big issue because its the same for everyone, but thought they would a least get the distance right.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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This was both my first Rev 3 and my first point to point.

after today's total clusterfuck I will NEVER do a point to point again.

I was in the last swim wave, did not even get ON a shuttle until T1 was supposed to be closed. They started the race before we got off the bus and unbeknownst to us were on an accelerated course - so after rushing to set up T1 had no real swim warm up.

Glad I did not wear a wetsuit - and yes the current was tough - plus being in the last swim wave, saw many people pulled from the water which also meant dealing with the wake from police boats.

And twice kayaks came right in front of me (no I was not far off course or anything at this point) and I had to swim around them the second time he was ON the second Oly turn buoy which meant I had to go around him as well - not a good feeling when you are putting out your slowest swim time ever due to currents.

And then they not only took 6 hours to get our bags back to the finish they brought the HIM bags before the OLY bags - gee that makes sense.

So I left VA more than 2 hours after planned which meant horrid traffic the whole way - literally JUST got home (NYC)

I never want to drive in VA again
I never want to do a P2P race again

will see how Rev3 is in Florida but not feeling so great about them right now....
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [japarker24] [ In reply to ]
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japarker24 wrote:
At least your kids were able to run the finishing chute..............................

actually it was POURING at 5AM when I set up T2 so I had pity on mine and let them sleep - could not see having them just hang out in the rain....
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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First off, let me preface this by stating that I'm on the Rev3 age group team, so naturally I have a bias. But I'm also lucky in that I get to know a lot of what goes on behind the scenes at these events. Let me stand up for Charlie, the race director, and all the Rev3 staff by saying that these guys worked their assess off nonstop to try to deliver you guys the best race possible. You wouldn't believe the stuff that goes on behind the scenes, the challenges they deal with, and how hard they work to try to deliver the best race possible for you and your family. Did a few things go wrong? Yep they did, but Charlie owns up to mistakes and will deliver you guys an explanation as soon as his wife delivers their baby.
As for the swim course, I haven't had a chance to talk to them about it, but I've been thinking of how they could have reversed the course. Where would transition have gone? The only good locale for that transition is where it was, and it would have been even more of a cluster routing transition across the beach and park and crossing paths of starters and finishers.
Like all things in life, the first time you do something you won't be perfect. This was an inaugural event and we should all expect a few snafus at first time races. Typically when I offer constructive criticism I also focus on the positives as well as the negatives. Perhaps we can offer up some constructive criticism of what DID go well yesterday?
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [Frayed Laces] [ In reply to ]
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Well said. It was a great event all around. I would like for those who cut the swim course (mistakenly or not) to own up to it b/c from what I can tell it was a massive bunch of people.
Last edited by: warrior_80: Jun 24, 13 3:13
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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I was able to bypass most of the mess at the start--my parents live in Williamsburg, and my dad drove me to T2, stayed in the car while I dropped off my stuff, then drove me to the river. I agree that they should have allowed HIM people on the first buses, then Oly, then spectators. I was peeved that the wetsuits weren't there at the end, but was able to go to my parents house, shower, take a nap, then pick it up at 6.

I'm not sure what they can do about the current. Aren't all of the Williamsburg triathlons put on by Setup Events in the same area? They have to deal with the ferry traffic, and there really is only one place for T1. I think the current was higher than anticipated because Virginia has had a lot of rain this year and it's still coming downstream.

I thought the bike course was great--especially Jolly Pond Rd. I'll have to remember that next time I go for a ride in the area.

The run course seemed disjointed to me. I would have preferred a run up Duke of Gloucester Street through the heart of the Colonial area, but I doubt the Williamsburg Foundation would have allowed that. I didn't like the constant transition from road to sidewalk to parking lot, etc. The aid station volunteers were great--I didn't notice any shortages. I also would have preferred more even spacing.
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [meuf] [ In reply to ]
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accelerated course?
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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [kcb203] [ In reply to ]
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Great Race. Patriots Half in Septembers starts up the beach just beyond where we finished and ends where we started. I probably swam 1.5 miles or farther but since it affected everyone not a race killer. Since we have all read the Gorilla story there was a guy in the 25-29 age group whose buddy paced him the whole race except for the both times through the start finish line. I will definitely do this race again and other Rev3 races.

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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [warrior_80] [ In reply to ]
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Yes they made the waves every three minutes.

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Re: Rev3 Williamsburg - constructive criticism [TH3_FRB] [ In reply to ]
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I would second this. It was a logistical nightmare. The list:

- buses in the am. Starting at 5:30 am the line was around the block. You can't let spectators travel on the shuttles if racers aren't getting to T1 on time. I made it to my wave start with 30 seconds to spare. Rev3 has done enough races to be able to calculate logistics like this correctly
- swim: I actually didn't think the current/chop was that bad. I am usually a MOP swimmer and thought it was fine (though I did hear about dozens of people leaving the water). I was doing the oly and saw lots of half swimmers at my turn buoys. not sure what they could have done about that
- run: course change at last minute (vs map on website), but enough time to get it printed up in the expo brochure. Where was the elevation profile?
- no food or drink for sale at expo and none at race either. I was excited to bring my family to my first Rev3 race, touted as "family friendly." There's nothing family friendly about sitting in a parking lot for 4 hours with no food or drinks and waiting for your bag. The moonbounce for toddlers doesn't count.
- on the bags -- no excuse. I also heard about "traffic" but there is no traffic in which it takes 6 hours to go 5 miles -- which is how long it took them to get the bags to the finish
- times/splits: electronic problems do happen. but still no accurate splits on the website. We just paid too much for this race to have no times to look at
- shirts: what were they thinking?

Overall it was probably the worst managed race I've done. I guess it's a lesson about signing up for inaugural races. BUT, i will say this: the Rev3 staff were incredibly nice and were trying their best given the circumstances. Like a flight attendant getting yelled at for flight delays -- this was all beyond their control but they stayed cool and did their best to keep everyone informed and happy. So at least Rev3 has that!

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