#55: From the Big Island
Just 48 hours in Kona and I'm already tired.
issue #55: Oct. 4, 2023
I’m going to have to be honest, my all-sporters, and tell you: This is going to be a super short newsletter because Kona wipes you out! Or, at least it wipes me out; I am not one of the people for whom it is “my happy place.” It is exhausting and sweaty and go-go-go and I’ve only been here one day! Gotta pace myself or I’ll never make it to the finish.
Follow along @feistytriathlon on IG for most of the interviews, coverage, and stories from the island. We’ve also got a schedule up of all our events on the island — Triathlonish is teaming up with Feisty for this historic all-women’s race. And if you missed the live panel today on women’s specific heat & nutrition concerns, you can catch it on the Feisty Triathlon podcast feed. (If you’re on the island, don’t miss next week’s live events on the expo stage in partnership with the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship on ‘Harnessing Your Female Physiology for Performance.’) Plus, like, a billion other things.
And for you, my dear Triathonish readers, don’t forget, in between scrolling the Kona spam: Get reading the next Book Club pick, ‘Sidelined’—we’ll start discussing it after the World Champs race.
Now, here’s what’s happening here in Hawaii.
Random things from Kona
I think the actual biggest reason that the Kona hype feels like it’s building more than the Nice hype built in the lead-up has nothing to do with men or women or split races or historic locations. I think it’s simply a product of the fact that we finally had multiple weeks without a *massive* race occupying our consciousness—and so there’s an actual runway now to build buzz and get out videos and stories and posts and interviews. Pros are actually getting to the race location two or three weeks in advance—instead of just jetting in a few days before, after their last race. And so that adds to the social media and the Youtube and the content machine.
And that runway is necessary to get this plane flying high, or at least to get it off the ground, or however planes work.
Of course the biggest news of last week was Taylor Knibb confirmed what we all suspected: She will, in fact, make her Ironman debut at the Ironman World Championship—which is one hell of a way to do it. Like I said last week, I’m with her: You do you!
Everyone else is sort of trying to take the lay of the land, it seems. It’s an odd vibe so far. We all know it’s going to be something different than anyone’s ever seen—there’s certainly never been a 100% female Ironman race before—but we just don’t know yet in what ways it’ll be different. Some athletes seem swamped, overbooked, overscheduled, doing double the duty for sponsors and media commitment. Some have clearly realized the opportunity here, being given the full goddamn stage for a change, and don’t want to screw it up. (Which is a lot of pressure to layer on top of the usual pressure.) Others are nervous or excited or excited and nervous.
It’s busy in town, for two weeks out from race day—in some ways, busier than it used to be this early. But it’s far far less busy than last year, of course. So maybe there’s no conclusion at all to draw, and we’re just trying to read tea leaves where there are none.
One thing is hard to ignore: The official start list is nuts. No one is missing. It’s going to be the best Ironman pro race. Everything else, we’ll just have to see what happens.
Best of the rest
New York City Triathlon: The swim was canceled because of rain causing water quality issues in the Hudson. (Side point: I also had a swim canceled this week after a big rain; why does rain carry so much pollution into our water?) But the pro race in NY was back! Amy Cymerman took the women’s title and shoutout to Tempo newsletter author Matt Sharpe who won the men’s. And it sounds like it may have been Tim O’Donnell’s last pro race (who got third). All hats off to TO.
Super League Malibu: The big race, though, was probably the one down in Malibu. While the age-groupers had to do a shorter looped bike, well, so did the pros but that was always the plan. It was an eliminator format, in which catching the ocean waves played the always pivotal role, and was won by Cassandre Beaugrand and Hayden Wilde.
The SLT Championship series now goes to the final in NEOM at the end of October (yes, again), with overalls very very close (like, one point close) between Hayden, Leo Bergere, and Jonny Brownlee, and between Jeanne Lehair, Emma Lombardi, and Kate Waugh. There, that’s all I understand about Super League.
Coming up: Ashleigh Gentle is racing Langkawi 70.3 (Asia Champs) and there’s an interesting list for Challenge Barcelona.
Some interesting things in our sports you should know about this week.
My husband has long argued that he was going to launch an app to match up people’s workouts (is your easy day compatible with my hard day?), but now it looks like a new TriMate app is actually going to kind of do that, connecting training partners and workouts. (Instagram)
The 2024 Boston Marathon entries were sent out this week and it was really hard to get into for next year. You had to run 5 minutes, 29 seconds faster than whatever your actual qualifying time was for your age group and gender. (And, because it seems like there’s a lot of confusion around this, the way it works is: There’s an xxx number of people who hit the qualifying times and apply, but there are only so many spots, so the BAA then cuts a certain amount of time off (the same amount of time across each qualifying standard) until they get down to the number of people allowed. For example, one minute off every qualifying standard gets down to yyy number of athletes and then another minute, etc. (BAA)
And, no, this Tracksmith campaign isn’t going over super well because of that. (Instagram)
The Chicago Marathon is this upcoming weekend, with Sifan Hassan and (also, separately) a definite possibility of an American Record. Watch here. (Chicago Marathon/Olympics)
And also! The UCI Gravel World Championship is this weekend—and, oh look, *now* all the pros want to race it. (CyclingNews)
We talked all about The Shoes in this month’s roundup of gear and training news, but I’d like to call out this discussion about how improvements in economy from shoe technology might be making it easier for mid-distance athletes to move into the marathon. (Triathlonish/Twitter)
I enjoyed the idea of having ChatGPT pick out gear for a new triathlete and analyzing what happened. (Triathlete)
Is triathlon lifeguarding a lot harder than you think it is? Then, why are they so often volunteers? 🤔 (Triathlete)
This drug mimics the effects of exercise. (Body + Soul)
And I was on a podcast answering all questions triathlon-related with Gaël Dutigny. (Youtube)
One last thing
Eliud Kipchoge and Tigst Assefa partying after the Berlin Marathon.
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