Please enjoy our video recap of the 2013 edition of Rev3 Branson, taken from the athlete’s point of view.
Images #3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 © Eric Wynn
NOTE: Pro draft rules are different than age group draft rules, and allow for riding on both the left and right side of the lane (athletes must stagger L/R). Some people were confused about this in our last video. Don't worry - Branson was my final race as a pro, so any new videos should be 'normal'.
Branson, MO is a new venue for the Rev3 series, but took place on the same course as last year, when there was a WTC-owned event there. I found the venue to be welcoming; I had never been to Branson before. If you don’t know what to expect, get ready for a mix of tour buses, buffets, and a Vegas-meets-Grand-Ol’-Opry decor all over town.
Logistics can be somewhat challenging for those who must fly to the race. Branson has a new airport (BKG airport code), which is small and only flies Southwest and Frontier as of 2013. Enterprise is the only on-site rental car company, and was 100% booked when I tried to reserve a car. You can also take a shuttle to Budget/Avis or Hertz. I took this route, and was a little surprised when the shuttle took us across town to the other small regional airport in town (which, I believe, is only for business and charter travel). Be prepared for a ~20 minute shuttle ride, as the BKG airport is a fair distance from town.
The race has two transition areas, but I found that they pulled it off well. You must drop your bike at T1 on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, you drop your run gear at T2 and take a shuttle over to T1. In the video, you will see our very unique ‘Ride The Ducks’ amphibious shuttle bus. According to the race staff, shuttle services were few and far between in the town, and the duck boats were their best option. In a hiccup that was of no fault to the race staff, the duck boat that I was riding on experienced overheating headlights that shut off. We had to radio to another shuttle to come pick us up before we could proceed. Minutes after boarding the new shuttle, the same thing happened and our headlights were off again. After a swap to shuttle #3, we were able to get to the race venue, with little time to set up before the start.
At the finish area, the morning dry clothes and T1 bags had been transferred to T2 without a hitch. We also were treated to some of the best post-race food I’ve ever had – a full taco bar with all the fixings.
If you want a tough course, Branson is for you. The bike is quite hilly, fairly windy, and generally doesn’t let up at any point. The run is very flat, but includes a handful of sharp corners that you must be careful in negotiating at speed. The difficult course really showed in the finishing times; Ben Hoffman’s 4:05 winning time is about 15 minutes slower than you’d expect on a ‘normal’ course. Most age group athletes will want to use a wide range cassette (11-26 or larger) and a compact 50/34 or 52/36 crankset.