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Kona: Our final thoughts on what happened at the Ironman World Championships for 2016

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The Ironman World Championship in Kona on October 8th, 2016 saw a day of course records, remarkable results, and heart-warming pride and inspiration. From the pro champions who led the fields; Daniela Ryf and Jan Frodeno, to the inspiring Australian burns victim Turia Pit and blind athlete Michael Somsan, it sure was a Kona to remember.

Pro Recap – Kona 2016

Trizone predicted who’d make the podiums at Kona, and we’re thrilled to report we were right on both the men’s and women’s first and second place finishes. What we didn’t see coming were Patrick Lange and Heather Jackson, who truly wowed the crowd with their incredible run speeds. How did Jackson and Lange make it to the podiums? Read more to find out…

Kona Swim 2016

The pros launched into the water as the lights still flickered over Kona. The men started first and set a cracking pace with all eyes watching to see if a course record could be broken. It wasn’t to be though, despite a thick lead pack led by Wiltshire, Frodeno and Potts. With the strongest swimmers including Wiltshire at the lead, the crowd waited to see if these powerful swimmers would last throughout the event.

The women’s swim was similar, with a solid lead pack of Jodie Swallow followed by Meredith Kessler, Annabel Luxford, Alicia Kay, and Daniela Ryf in fifth. Kessler made it to land first, but she was closely surrounded by a thick pack of ten women, all racing toward the transition.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Kona Bike 2016

The men’s bike leg was the decider of the race. The scene at the transition was hectic as the huge swarm of leading men threw on their bike gear, causing some riders to suffer drafting penalties – including the man who’d finished third, German Patrick Lange. Michael Weiss led for half the race on the world’s fastest bike created by Diamondback and Kevin Quan racing. Despite coming out of the water in 38th place, German Sebastian Kienle was soon in the leading pack of eight men. Leaders of the tight knit pack constantly changed, leaving the crowd wondering who’d make the podium.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman

The women’s bike was significantly different to the men’s, with stand-out leader Daniela Ryf boasting a huge lead out of T2. Anja Beranek, Mary Beth Ellis and Heather Jackson, meanwhile, seemed to be strong contenders throughout the first half but it was Ryf who had a huge five minute lead by the 99 mile mark. Once at the transition, she was light years ahead of the rest.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Kona Run 2016

The men’s run began as spectators would have hoped, with Germans Sebastian Kienle and Jan Frodeno neck and neck, chatting as they surged forward ahead of the pack. By the 16 mile mark, though, Frodeno’s long stride length had extended his lead over Kienle by 2:34, with Hoffman and Boecherer chasing a few minutes behind.

Frodeno’s lead only grew, but it was the action a few runners back that was truly remarkable. Another German, Patrick Lange, who’d been delayed by drafting penalties in the bike, surged forward. As the town of Kona loomed once more, Lange was on track to claim a new run course record, which he did, taking his spot on the podium in third. It wasn’t only Lange’s remarkable run that wowed the spectators, but also his genuine amazement and gratitude at his result at the finish line. As the three Germans hugged; Frodeno, Kienle and Lange, it was hard to take your eyes of Lange’s beaming smile.

The women’s run was an incredible show of athletic prowess, with Daniela Ryf showcasing her true power, culminating in a new course record for Kona. At 13.8 miles, Ryf had a 18:12 minute lead on Beranek, a 19.34 lead on Heather Jackson, and 22:46 lead on crowd favourite Australian Mirinda Carfrae. She powered on but as with the men’s race, it was the drama behind her that kept the crowd intrigued. At the 17 mile mark, Jackson passed Beranek and found herself in second place. Those who discounted Carfrae were to be surprised, as the podium regular surged forward in the final decline, racing passed Jackson to finish a distant second. Jackson, a fierce runner, made her Kona podium debut and finished third.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Ironman

Age Groupers Impress at Kona 2016

The pros were definitely impressive this year, but it’s important not to forget that 96% of the athletes at Kona are age groupers! The event started with a bang, with every single competitor making it out of the water with a few minutes to spare, an incredible achievement. No fewer than 20% of all finishers at Kona were out of the water with times under one hour, a huge rise from just 6.7% last year.

If you’re thinking that surely most people who attempt Kona don’t actually make it to the finish line, you’re in for a surprise. This year, just 8.6% of the entire 2315 athletes made the DNF/DNS (didn’t finish or didn’t start) categories. This result is similar to previous years and is truly indicative of the commitment to the race that all the age groupers continue to share year after year. All the age groupers are truly remarkable, particularly the men’s 75-79 age group who had a remarkable average time of 15:09:05 and the women’s 70-74 age group with an average time of 14:58:79.

Kona finishers inspire

Special acknowledgement must go to Turia Pitt, the Australian speaker and business women who finished Kona for the first time. The crowd was also thrilled to see blind athlete and gunshot survivor Michael Somsan finish Kona for the first time. The participation of these remarkable survivors at Kona helps everyone remember that IRONMAN showcases people’s strength to overcome adversity, as well as their athletic ability.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman

A cyclist and tech geek at heart with a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of Australia's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.

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Super League: Corporate Mix Teams Hungry for the Lead

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The run course along the Elizabeth Marina board walk. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

In the second day of Super League Jersey Corporate Mix racing, Team Comprop is once again leading the rankings, its members coming out firing on all cylinders to win the team relay race against 16 other teams from nine corporate entities. First Names Group Team 2 and the Ravenscroft Titans followed across the finish line, maintaining the top three overall. Like in Day 1, the competition was held over the Sprint Pursuit format, which involves racing over a 300-meter swim around the Elizabeth Marina, a 5-kilometer cycle leg on a cobblestoned and technical course and a 2-kilometer run done over two stages with a pursuit-style start in Stage 2.

Team Comprop is still in the lead after two days of racing. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Team Comprop and First Names Group Team 2 took first and second respectively in both Sprint Pursuit stages, but the Jersey Triathlon Club Junior Team 1 put up a brave fight to take third in Stage 1. The Ravenscroft Titans had a slow start off the blocks and crossed the Stage 1 line in ninth place, but made up for their deficit and recovered third place in Stage 2.

The Corporate Mix overall win relies on the total of a team’s points garnered from their relay finish position and the points from their pro male and female athletes’ finish positions. Team Comprop has pro men’s leader Kristian Blummenfelt on its roster while First Names Group Team 2 has women’s leader Katie Zaferes, and if both athletes hold their form, they will deliver the top two spots in the Corporate Mix to their teams.

Both teams from Santander International may have a chance to rise higher in the overall rankings with better finishes today than yesterday. Their pro athletes Fernando Alarza and Carolina Routier will certainly do their best to better yesterday’s results in their Eliminator races later today. The Eliminator will put them through three stages of swim-bike-run, with only the fastest 15 and then the fastest 10 getting through to the next stages. It will remain to be seen whether they can get to finish and earn those all-important series points.

Corporate Mix swimmers line up for their pontoon start. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Nutrition

Recovery Smoothie – Supercharged Green and Berry Smoothie

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Photo: Shutterstock

After a long hard workout I like to get fueled right away. I find it easiest for me to get down a smoothie rather than solid food. By making a smoothie I am able to pack it full of nutrient dense foods. Below is my “go to” –

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Green & Berry Super Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Coconut water
  • 8 oz Hemp milk
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 6 leaves Tuscan Kale
  • ½ Gold beet large
  • ½ nugget of fresh turmeric root
  • 1 serving Favorite plant based protein powder I use Vega Performance protein berry flavor for this
  • 2 tbsp Chia seed
  • 1 tbsp Acai powder
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 4 large ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high power blender such as Vita mix. Process until smooth. Consistency can be adjusted with cold water as you are processing.

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Super League: Katie Zaferes stuns in Triple Mix on Day 1

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Katie Zaferes of the USA stunned dual Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig at the inaugural Super League Triathlon women’s race in Jersey, Channel Islands. The ascendant American was never too far off the front throughout, and took the overall win with a 19-second lead over the speedy Swiss. Compatriot Summer Cook rounded out the first women’s podium for the revolutionary race series. Triple Mix is a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run

Carolina Routier, Sophie Coldwell, and Emma Jeffcoat found clear water off the pontoon start and came out of the 300-meter swim together, but most of the athletes emerged together to form a huge chase pack which swallowed the lead swimmers once on the bike leg.

Coldwell and British compatriot Jodie Stimpson worked to put pressure through the first few laps of the five-kilometer bike ride. With the field splintering between a large front group and solo athletes trying to bridge the gap, those off the back fell victim to the 90-second elimination rule. Sameera Al Bitar found herself more than 90 seconds behind the lead athlete and was forced to retire partway through the bike.

Pontoon start for the Women’s Triple Mix Stage 1 of Super League in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Stimpson, Coldwell, and Claire Michel of Belgium came off the bike together, but with the athletes so close together, Spirig emerged out front with Zaferes right on her shoulders. Summer Cook managed to stay in contention despite struggling with the technical bike course, while Lucy Hall and Mariya Shorets were eliminated after the bike leg.

During the two-kilometer run, Michel, Spirig, and Zaferes took turns out front, but it was Michel who took the tape ahead of Spirig and Zaferes. Cook ran herself into fourth.

Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim

With only 10 minutes to recover before starting another two-kilometer run and only seconds separating the lead three women, it didn’t take long for Zaferes to move up front. However, Spirig, Cook, and Michel came with her surge to create a 20-second gap to chasers Stimpson, Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Spirig put pressure on and gapped the leaders with her trademark bike power and great handling, but after a while Zaferes answered the surge. Apparently, Zaferes had thought one of her tires had gone flat, but once confirmed that was not the case, she confidently rode back onto Spirig’s back wheel before taking the front into transition.

Zaferes made sure to hit the water ahead of Spirig, and her stellar technique ensured she crossed the Stage 2 finish line first.

Thanks to the gap the two had created to the rest of the field, an additional seven women were eliminated, while Laura Lindemann took a nasty bike spill but was able to continue.

Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run

The Swiss-American tandem played tag team throughout the opening bike leg, maintaining their lead while a race for third happened behind them. Coldwell teamed up with Kirsten Kasper to leave the rest of the field, but once the race entered the water the athletes bunched up again while Zaferes and Spirig stayed clear.

Out onto the run, Zaferes began stretching her legs and her lead to Spirig, who was never able to reclaim the front. The former collegiate track star made the final few hundred meters of the run look easy, celebrating into the finish chute.

Katie Zaferes and Nicola Spirig riding hard. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

“When I first got on the bike I was a little off technically with the corners, but I got more comfortable and moved up and was happy with how the race progressed as it got on,” Zaferes said. “The swim feels as horrible as all the boys told us it did, so at least I was prepared for that and didn’t panic. I felt nervous especially after having raced last weekend, but I felt good. I really hope to approach tomorrow just like I did today and hope the same result comes away from it, but Day 2 gets significantly harder. I’ll go for it for sure though.”

It has been only a few months since Spirig gave birth to her second child, but today’s race showed she is still one of the most fearsome athletes to contend with on any starting line. She said, “Thank you very much for all the support from all of you. It has been great being here. I was just, it was amazing, I had good fun and I hope I’m a bit of an inspiration for all moms.”

Meanwhile, Cook used her stellar run to take herself into third place overall, the youngest on the Triple Mix podium. She said, “I’m feeling really good about today, I wasn’t sure about what to expect coming in; I felt like it could go either way. I was really proud of myself to just go out there and compete, not be afraid to put myself close to the front and just race my hardest. I haven’t really thought about tactics going into tomorrow yet. I’m kind of just trying to stay in the moment today and focus on what I needed to do. I guess I’ll have some thinking about a strategy to do tonight.”

There is one more day of racing to go to claim the first Super League Triathlon women’s trophy. These athletes will have to give it their all to stay on top. The Eliminator awaits, and only the fastest will survive.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Super League: Kristian Blummenfelt takes out the Triple Mix on Day 1

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Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway blasted away in the final half-kilometer to finish the overall winner for today’s Triple Mix at Super League Jersey after staying out in front all day with South Africa’s Richard Murray and British crowd favorite and dual Olympic medalist Jonathan Brownlee.

Triple Mix is a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run

While Jake Birtwhistle received pole position on the pontoon at yesterday’s slot draw and led out of the 300-meter swim that kicked off Stage 1, Brownlee was right on his shoulder and got the jump out of transition onto the 5-kilometer bike leg. After five laps over the flat yet technical YESSS Power bike course going over cobblestones and through tight dead turns, the Australian contingent of Birtwhistle, Matt Hauser, and Aaron Royle took the lead. It was on the run where Brownlee, Blummenfelt, and Murray asserted the dominance that would mark the rest of the race regardless of what order swimming, biking, and running would take.

Pontoon start of Triple Mix Stage 1 of the Super League triathlon in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Blummenfelt finished the two-kilometer run in first, with Murray and Brownlee in close pursuit. Olympic Bronze medalist Henri Schoeman came in a distant fourth as the rest of the field splintered into smaller chase groups.

Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim

After a 10-minute break, the pursuit-based start for Stage 2 sent the top three off on the run with an 11-second lead. In the hands of these fleet-footed athletes those 10 seconds quickly ballooned to call into play the 90-second elimination rule. With a time gap of greater than 90 seconds to the leader, Ben Shaw was eliminated unceremoniously, as were Dan Halksworth, Crisanto Grajales Valencia, and Joao Pereira.

After a 10-minute break, the pursuit-based start for Stage 2 sent the top three off on the run with an 11-second lead. In the hands of these fleet-footed athletes those 10 seconds quickly ballooned to call into play the 90-second elimination rule. With a time gap of greater than 90 seconds to the leader, Ben Shaw was eliminated unceremoniously, as were Dan Halksworth, Crisanto Grajales Valencia, and Joao Pereira.

Jonathan Brownlee on the run. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Once on their bikes, Blummenfelt, Murray, and Brownlee worked together to grow a monstrous lead with clear road behind them. Still joined at the hip by the time they jumped back into the water, Brownlee surged ahead by a few strokes leaving Murray to chase him through the finish chute. Schoeman kept fourth place with a great swim after slipping backwards in the bike pack, while reigning world champion Mario Mola crept up into sixth.

Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run

The final stage of Triple Mix started with the bike leg. With the big three once again out in front, the stage saw a few more eliminated by the 90-second rule including pre-race swim favorite Richard Varga and world number five Fernando Alarza. Ben Dijkstra crashed out on the bike leg, leaving British hopes entirely in the capable hands of Brownlee.

Once into the swim, the three men played tactical, holding positions with Brownlee out in front, Murray sitting on his feet, and Blummenfelt just a little further back. The race would be decided on the run.

It was Blummenfelt who had a bit more gas in the tank as he and Murray dueled through the run leg; ultimately, the Norwegian sprinted ahead for the day’s win. Their race-within-a-race relegated Brownlee to third place, while Schoeman held strong in fourth.

The peloton rides past during the bike leg of the Triple Mix on Day 1 of Super League in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

“It feels so good. Especially Murray he’s really strong on the run so I wasn’t really sure of a way to get him but super pleased. I think the fact that we started the next stage with a gap played a huge role. We went hard in the beginning and kept going and worked well together,” said Blummenfelt, who is third in the year-end world rankings. “My plan was actually to stay a little bit more calm in the first stage but it’s too hard with this many people around cheering you on. I didn’t plan to go that hard in the beginning but seems the day played out well.”

Brownlee, a first-time racer in the Super League Triathlon formats, had a bit of adjusting to do. He said, “I took out the start in the first swim and it was full on and we had to keep going. And then I made a mistake there towards the end and it cost me the race… I’m really tired but I’ve got to do it all again tomorrow. I had the advantage of a home crowd, and it’s great to see lots of Jersey people around supporting me, so thank you.”

Defending champion Murray did not lack in taking his chances on the day. “I realized it was a four-kilometer run on the trot and I decided that was the moment to try and go for it today. Luckily I had these two men next to me to come with and it was definitely a really hard day. It was my first breakaway ever and the crowd was amazing and it’s very hard to be in a breakaway so kudos to the guys who do it every race,” he said. “Blummenfelt managed to get the better of me today but it was great from these two guys.”

Blummenfelt now sits atop the point standings with 25 points. Murray is four points behind at 21, while Brownlee has gained 18. This gives them plenty of wiggle room to take out the overall win tomorrow after the Eliminator, but as today’s race has showed, you need to race every stage like you want to win it.

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Wahoo Fitness Announces Partnership with Superstar Jan Frodeno

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Wahoo bolsters its elite athlete program with the addition of two-time Ironman World Champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno

Wahoo Fitness, the leader in workout apps and connected fitness devices, has just announced an official partnership with Olympic champion and two-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno. Given the unique, multi-sport training requirements of triathlon, the Wahoo product ecosystem is perfectly tailored to maximize efforts and enhance the performance of all triathletes, including those competing at the world’s most elite levels, like Frodeno.

As an official partner, Wahoo’s complete ecosystem of innovative products will be supporting Frodeno’s training efforts. This includes the dual-band TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor, the powerful and aerodynamic ELEMNT BOLT GPS cycling computer, and Wahoo’s acclaimed indoor stationary smart bike trainer; the KICKR, whose signature flywheel technology replicates the smooth feel of the road. Rounding out the Wahoo ecosystem is the groundbreaking new KICKR CLIMB, a grade simulator which enables Frodeno to replicate the resistance and grade changes found on the profiles of real-world TT courses, providing a competitive edge unmatched by any other indoor trainer.

Frodeno, like other Wahoo athletes including Tour de France-winning Team Sky, will play a key role by providing direct input into the design and development of future Wahoo products ensuring they are tailored to meet the needs of the most demanding professional athletes. This valuable insight will help ensure Wahoo products continue to remain best-in-class for triathletes with the highest performance standards.

“I’ve always considered myself a Wahooligan, as I’ve been using Wahoo products to support my training efforts for many years, but now I’m happy to say it’s official,” says Wahoo’s newest athlete Jan Frodeno. “It’s very important to me that the brand cares about delivering a seamless user experience between each of its products – and Wahoo’s full ecosystem suits my training needs perfectly, enabling me to train with greater efficiency than ever before,” continues Frodeno.

“We’re extremely proud to introduce such an incredible athlete to the ‘Wahooligan’ family,” says Chip Hawkins, Wahoo Fitness CEO. “It’s long been Wahoo’s mission to support the performance of athletes at all levels, and our product ecosystem is uniquely positioned to provide a truly comprehensive, connected training experience for discerning weekend warriors and elite triathletes like Frodeno who demand nothing but the absolute best.”

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First-ever Super League Triathlon Corporate Mix draws competitive local teams

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The first-ever Super League Triathlon Corporate Mix commenced this morning in Jersey with Team Comprop finishing out front, followed by the Ravenscroft Titans and First Names Group Team 2 in second and third place in a thrilling sprint finish. With 17 teams from nine different corporate entities competing, the Corporate Mix has allowed the local community and businesses to be part of what has become one of Jersey’s biggest sporting events. Local teams were in fact among the most competitive, with the top six fastest teams coming from the Channel Islands.

Comprop is a leading privately owned property developer of both commercial and residential sites in Jersey and Guernsey. Its corporate mix team is composed of some of Jersey’s most dedicated athletes including pro coach Nick Saunders and full-time triathlete Ollie Turner.

After assessing the course and the safety needs of what were largely age-group participants, race officials decided to change the Corporate Mix run course to follow the pier, instead of taking place on the same section of road as the bike course since not all cyclists would be off the course by the time the first runners would start.

Officials also implemented the Sprint Pursuit format instead of the planned Enduro (nonstop swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run). The Sprint Pursuit involved two stages of swim-bike-run with ten minutes of rest between stages. At the start of the second stage, swimmers were released by the previous stage’s finish order as well as the time gaps between their team finishes.

Though out for the rest of the season due to hip surgery, Alistair Brownlee found a way to be a part of Super League Jersey, pinch-hitting as a swimmer for the MaccaNOW Foundation team. It was one very special highlight not just for the Corporate Mix competitors to swim alongside the dual Olympic gold medalist, but also for the Jersey locals who thronged the barricades to join the festivities and spectate.

While Team Comprop currently rules the leaderboard, the corporate teams’ final standing today will be determined by how their sponsored championship athletes perform in the men’s and women’s races happening later.

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