Khem’s Lowdown on the Kona Bike Check-In

IRONMAN is celebrating 40 Years! Today’s 30 Days to Kona features the skinny on the athlete bike check-in.

The athlete bike check-in procession in Kona harkens a similar vibe to the red carpet at the Oscars, or at least I assume so (never been to the Oscars, yet). As athletes move along the line, IRONMAN announcers and personalities such as Paul Kaye, Michael Lovato, and Greg Welch provide quite the commentary for spectators. Notable athletes are interviewed as they pass by the MC’s tent.

Along the barricades you’ll find industry professionals and experts counting all the various bike brands, wheels, power meters, and anything of note coming through the line. Back in 2015, I remember being asked what skin suit I’d be wearing on race day. “RŌKA, of course!”

And the giveaways are quite impressive. Some of the major bike brands have been known to hand out limited special edition Kona t-shirts and other swag to their respective racers. I was able to snag a PowerTap dry bag the year I raced as an owner of a PowerTap G3 Hub amongst other fun items.
For the past several years, Cervélo has been the reigning king of bikes in Kona with Trek, Specialized, and Felt following behind (561, 261, 216, and 177 respectively – from triathlete.com). Canyon is proving to be a contender with the largest jump in numbers from 2016 to 2017 (39 to 102). They might just give everyone a run for their money this year with distribution expanding to North America most recently.

Bike porn spectating this year in Kona might be the beginning to an interesting drinking game for those who will be there. Grab a camp chair, find a shady spot, and let the games begin. For every Trek bike, take a shot. Zipp wheels, take a shot. You get the idea!!!

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