Kyle Coon gettin’ Real with This Entertaining Race Report, Guided by Andy Potts

By Kyle Coon

This Race Report contains strong language.

“Aaron’s the gold standard and I need to measure where I’m at.”
“You’re strong so just go kick some fucking ass!”
“How the fuck did they leave you off the national team?”
“Go fucking throw down and show the world that you’re here.”

One year earlier I was coming off a herniated disk in my low back and was only a month removed from hand surgery after a 25lb dumbbell landed on my hand in the gym. I’d been ready to throw down and earn my spot in the driver’s seat to represent Team USA at the Paralympics for Paratriathlon. Then COVID19 swept across the world and upended life as we knew it.

After months of lockdown and uncertainty we finally returned to full-time training. It took a while to get my groove back and for much of the remainder of 2020 I listlessly plodded through my workouts. Sure I could still throw down some decent bike power and there were some glimpses of speed in the water and on the run.
I went home to spend time with my family over Christmas and New Year’s and returned to the training center the first week of January. I knew my first race of the year would be in Sarasota. Whether that race would count for Paralympic and/or World Ranking points was uncertain, but I knew it would count in my mind and depending on who decided to turn up and race it would count in the minds of everyone watching. So I made a commitment to focus on the process and to throw down. Fortunately for me my fellow resident teammates Howie Sanborn and Jamie Brown had moved on campus and were both committed to getting back to their best. Hailey and Melissa both also seemed hyper focused upon all of our return to training together. A shift seemed to be occurring on the resident team where we were all holding each other more accountable while being incredibly supportive. Every day we each showed up to train and pushed each other. We encouraged each other, and lifted each other a little higher with every swim stroke, pedal revolution and running stride. Before we knew it, it was time to travel to Sarasota to see what each of us was capable of doing.

The St. Pete Shit Show
I stepped out of the shower into an inch of Luke warm water. “What the fuck!” Flew from my mouth. I must be very incompetent at showering. I immediately began mopping up the water that I thought was just by the shower. But as I moved toward the door to the rest of the house we’d rented my concern and frustration grew. The water extended all the way to the door and out into the hall. I began to really worry. What was going on. I called to Howie and Noah who were tinkering with Howie’s hand cycle in the living area. Noah grabbed the rest of the towels we had in the house and tossed them my way. I mopped up and rung out the towels. Mopped up and rung out. Mopped out and rung out. Mopped up and rung out. Then Andy came out of his room and asked what was going on. He peaked into the bathroom. “Oh shit, that’s coming from the toilet.”
Since I had the pleasure of already being drenched in what we now knew as toilet/shit water Andy talked me through shutting off the water to the toilet. Even though I shut the water off it kept on coming. I continued mopping up with sopping wet towels as Howie worked to get hold of our Airbnb host to request a Plummer.

We’d arrived on Wednesday night and as we pulled up to the house Howie received a message from the host letting him know that one of the two toilets was out of order but the second toilet worked great and both showers were working. We walked into the house and while the floors were clean it was pretty evident that this house had been misrepresented on Airbnb. The walls and ceiling weren’t very clean, several outlets were hanging out of the walls, the TV still had a sticker on it, the box for the microwave was stashed behind the couch. Then standing at the kitchen sink we could look directly through a window into the back bedroom. Not exactly the most private for whoever got that room. Oh well, we could make do. Sure only having one toilet for four athletic dudes wasn’t ideal but we’d all stayed in worse before.

We’d chosen to stay in st. Petersburgh, Fla because our fellow teammates had rented a house not far from here and we all wanted to stick together and do some training together and be able to hang out both pre and post race. Sure we’d have to drive 45min to get to Sarasota on Sunday morning but it was worth it to us.
Thursday and Friday passed with little issues except for us occasionally joking about how we didn’t think the Airbnb was worth what we were paying for it. We were also slowly breaking Andy out of his shell. Andy Potts had been training with us for a few months now and while he was a great guy and athlete we really hadn’t cracked through to his personality yet. After two full days with us nutcases we realized the we’d broken Andy and he was flinging insults, making wisecracks, and fitting right in.

Friday afternoon we spent tinkering with bikes, putting on new tubes and tires, and doing general tune ups. Melissa came over to hang out with us for a while and did an excellent job cooking us all up a few Bubba Burgers on the stove. We were bummed that the grilled that had been advertised was nonexistent, but Bubbas still taste great on the stove.

After Melissa left is when the shit hit the fan with the bathroom flooding.

I’d been able to sop up the majority of the water and discovered that the cocking on one side of the base of our one working toilet was gone. So now we had no working toilet. Howie had finally gotten hold of Airbnb who’d gotten hold of the host and we were promised a Plummer would arrive at 1:00 AM. It was going on midnight and Howie offered to wait up. The rest of us went to bed.

I was awoken by the sound of someone hammering on the doorbell at 7:00 AM. I stumbled to the front door making it there the same time Andy did. We greeted the “plummer” (term used extremely loosely) and invited him to come check out the toilet… After of course insisting he return to his truck to put on a mask. He walked in, stepped directly on the bath mat we’d bought and stuck in front of the door of the bathroom to stem the flow. I cringed at the squelch of a thoroughly soaked bathmat of toilet water. The “Plummer flushed the toilet and said he needed to go to Home Depot. Then Andy asked him to come take a look at the second toilet. Hey, this guy was here maybe he’d be able to fix both toilets so we could have two working toilets rather than no working toilets. As soon as Andy and the gentleman stepped into the second bathroom Andy began gagging. Sewage had pushed its way up through the shower and flooded the second shower. Howie immediately jumped online and booked us a hotel. There was no way we were going to stay in this house with sewage backing up into one of the showers.

The Plummer disappeared for a bit to go get his supplies and returned to try and fix everything. Meanwhile, Andy and I took off on an easy spin to loosen our legs, after all we had to race the next day.
When we returned the plummer, who we were now expecting was more of a handyman friend who owed the Airbnb host a favor claimed he’d fixed the first toilet and was now snaking the second bathroom. We began moving our stuff to the cars. The handyman was up on the roof and insisted Andy go check the second bathroom to see how things were progressing. Andy, being a nice guy, did. He came out and let everyone know that the situation was even worse. Sewage was still coming up through the shower. We were all done with this shit show and ready to get away from this house.

Packet Pik Up and Course Preview
We moved our gear into an extended stay hotel and then hit the road to Sarasota so we could pick up our packets and do a quick preview of the run course.

We arrived at Nathan Benderson Park around 3:30 PM. Andy and I immediately bumped into Aaron Scheidies and Greg Billington (2016 Paralympian, who would be guiding Aaron for this race). We exchanged pleasantries and wished each other luck for the next day’s race. As we walked away Andy told me in an undertone, “Aaron looks very fit. He came to race.”
“Bring it on,” I said.

We headed out to jog the run course and talk race strategy. Then we collected our race packets and headed back to St. Pete and our significantly better extended stay hotel.

Race Day
“It’s fucking race day1 It’s game time! Are you ready?”

Andy was practically spitting with excitement as he pummeled my shoulders in transition before the race. As we walked past Howie, Andy got right up in Howie’s face and did the same thing. Then turning around he pumped up Melissa, Hailey and Jamie in turn. What was going on? We were all jazzed but when you’ve got Andy Potts getting in your face pumping you up you can’t help but get even more amped. You’d have thought Andy was about to race in Kona he was so jazzed and excited. And that excitement and “Game On” attitude infected the entire Paratriathlon Resident team. We were all ready to throw down.

The Swim
We stepped out onto the pontoon. The first wave of Paratriathletes went off at 11:00 AM. This wave consisted of the PTS2, PTS 3, PTS 4, and PTS 5 men. One minute later the PTS 2-5 women took off. Then Andy and I lowered ourselves into the cool water. Aaron (guided by Greg) and Owen (guided by Ryan) would begin chasing me 3 minutes and 21 seconds after I started. Small benefit of being totally blind I guess. Even so I’d never beaten Aaron in a race. Aaron had never actually ever lost to a fellow visually impaired American. Could I do the unthinkable? Something that had never been done before?

The horn sounded and I charged ahead. Andy, swimming to my left, was so jazzed he nearly ramped it up too much and was on track to go to his swim race pace before he remembered that despite my progress I can’t swim 1min per 100m… But we corrected and began getting in sync with each other. I’d been swimming well coming into this race but today felt different. Every time my hand entered the water I had no trouble getting a vertical forearm and catching the water. I was able to generate smooth and powerful strokes. I remembered the words of my coach, Derick Williamson, “Smooth, steady and strong.” I didn’t try to hammer the swim, I didn’t try to swim easy, I just swam and focused on breathing and pushing as much water behind me as possible. I felt us pass by one of the women that had started ahead of us. Then on the back half of the swim I felt us come up on the feet of someone else. Then we were past them, and then we passed a third person. WTF, what was going on? Either some people were having really tough swims or I was having the swim of my life. Turns out it was the ladder.
I felt my hands hit the sandy ramp which signified our swim exit. I popper up and Andy immediately ripped off the tether and jumped to my right side. We sprinted up the ramp and into Transition 1.
Swim Time: 11min 6sec

Transition 1
As I ran I yanked down the zipper of my sleeveless wetsuit. Initially I had a bit of trouble getting it down to around my waist but eventually was able to free both arms. Andy led me to the bike and I ripped my wetsuit the rest of the way down to my ankles. Of course, my wetsuit got hung up on my heels and I had to spend a few extra seconds prying the wetsuit off. Then I chucked the wetsuit, swim cap and goggles into the baskets where all of our discarded gear is supposed to go. Then it was on with my blacked out sunglasses, Giro Aerohead helmet, and cycling shoes. We grabbed the bike and ran to the mount line. We threw our right legs over the top tube, clipped in and took off.
Transition 1 Time: 1min 13sec

The Bike
It took a few pedal strokes to get up to speed but once we were up to race power and effort we settled in. We quickly made our way to the only technical part of the bike course, a tight 180 degree lefthand turn. We’d spun easy in the morning prior to the race and ridden around this turn two or three times, but riding easy around a turn and taking it at speed are very different. Andy took our first go at this turn a little cautiously. We came out of the turn and quickly powered up to speed again. I felt so good. I was cruising. My legs felt so fresh and I just wanted to hammer, but I knew I had to keep focused and stay within myself. This race wasn’t going to be decided on the bike. It was going to come down to how fast I could run.

Andy smoothly navigated the course. We kept ramping up our effort on each lap. As we came out of each 180 I consumed a good amount of fluid. I was trying a new drink mix that Andy gave me. It was an Infinite Nutrition Bike Blend with caffeine. It was easy to drink and wasn’t upsetting my stomach, not yet at least.

There were only two hairy moments on the bike. During the second lap the back end became a little squirrelly and Andy had me stop pedaling so he could look back and assess. He was worried we had a flat tire. After a few seconds though we resumed pedaling. We think some debris just made our back end wobble a bit. Then on the third lap we came out of the 180 turn and I began to throw down some power. Maybe a little too much because it caused us to swerve a bit and very nearly eat pavement. Andy kept the bike upright though and we continued.
As we approached the end of the bike we passed my teammate, PTS4 competitor Jamie Brown. Jamie gave us a yell of encouragement, and after giving us the appropriate 10m drafting zone began trying to match our pace. We were flying. Jamie later told me that he was so jazzed and pumped up to see us come past him he couldn’t help but become reinvigorated to race and continue to extend his gap on his competitors.


Before I knew it Andy was telling me “left shoe” signaling to me to unstrap my left shoe and pull my foot out. Then a few pedal strokes more and pull the right foot out. We made the final turn on the bike course and Andy gave me the count down. “3, 2, 1, dismount.” I popped off and we began running with the bike.
Bike time: 26min 25sec

Transition 2
We sprinted to our spot in transition. As of yet we hadn’t seen Aaron or Owen since the very start. I knew I had to be quick in T2 though because both of them could run like the wind. I fumbled with my shoes and had to take a couple deep breaths to center myself. Finally, my shoes slid on to my feet, I grabbed the run tether, yanked it over my head and Andy was there to run next to me as we headed toward the run course.
Transition 2 Time: 58sec

The Run
“Stay focused. Don’t go out too fast. Descend this run,” I told myself. We took a hard right hand turn, then a left and we were out on the run. I took a deep breath in through my nose letting my belly fill up with oxygen. Then I forcefully released it. Andy kept telling me “relax, chin down, show the bottom of your foot, roll with it.”

We made our way onto the first of three little foot bridges we’d have to cross. These bridges would be the only elevation gain on the run. In previous years running up these crushed me. Today I was feeling good. My legs felt lighter than they ever had coming off the bike. It took a ton of self control not to just start sprinting and throwing down the gauntlet. I knew that if I wanted to run the run I was capable of running I had to be patient and execute the plan. And Andy was sticking to the plan. Several times he’d tell me to back it off to pick it up. We wanted to run a conservative first mile. We hit the first mile in 6min 7sec. Then we began to turn up the heat. We made it off the last bridge and onto a flat dead straight stretch that would bring us out to the 5K turnaround point.

At this point we were running into a headwind. We hit the turnaround and the air seemed to just stand still. I went from hearing the wind blasting in my ears and the breeze having a cooling effect to a very hot and humid day where I was trying to run 6min miles. My breathing rate seemed to double, I suddenly felt the sweat pouring off my face and body. My legs felt heavy and I just knew that Aaron would be there when I turned around. In my head I was saying “There’s no way you’ve been running at a 6min pace. Aaron’s got to be just behind you and Andy’s been lying about the run pace.”

Andy had a calm head though and I think he could tell I was beginning to struggle. He reminded me to relax, to let myself flow, to not become mechanical. We ran for 30sec, then a minute. Where was Aaron? Then he was there running toward us with Greg.

“Here they come,” Andy said. “You knew Aaron was going to come to race. So don’t give him anything. Look strong. Stay focused. You’ve got this!”

We passed each other and once we were out of ear shot Andy said, “You’ve got a 2min 40sec gap.” I couldn’t believe it. That knowledge gave me a boost. I began really pushing myself to go even faster. I knew that 2:40 gap could shrink in the blink of an eye if I let off the gas. Aaron’s been racing a long time and is probably the best blind/visually impaired triathlete in history. I knew he could turn the jets on and close a gap to anyone in the world. If I wanted to hold onto this lead I’d have to turn myself inside out to do it.

As we ran we began passing people in the opposite direction. We saw Owen and his guide Ryan looking ridiculously strong as they chased Aaron and Greg. Jamie Brown running strong. Then my teammate Hailey Danz. As we passed Hailey gave her trademark phrase “Fuck yeah Kyle!!!” Hailey and I are swim buddies in the pool. We pace off each other and push each other to dig deeper. We’d both made major jumps in our triathlon fitness the past two years and had both made significant strides in closing the gaps on our competitors. Hailey could see I had a massive lead on Aaron and she was stoked. Just a short 30sec later we saw our teammate Melissa Stockwell who yelled with excitement and encouragement to see our gap not just holding but growing. Then female BVI compatriot Liz Baker and her guide Jillian Elliott. We made it onto one of the bridges and Andy continued to push me.

“Come on Kyle, don’t let off the gas. Bring it up! Bring it up!” He was almost begging me to give a little more. I pumped my arms, kicked my legs behind me and forcibly exhaled. We made the final turn and hit the finisher shoot. Andy yelled at me to sprint and I did. I sprinted hard begging the finish line to come to me faster. Then we were there and I heard the announcer say that I was the first to cross the finish line in the men’s PTVI class. I couldn’t believe my ears. I grabbed Andy in a massive bear hug and held on, yes because I was excited and grateful that Andy had pushed me to my limit and helped me execute the race we knew I was capable of, but also to prevent myself from collapsing and hitting the ground too hard from exhaustion.


Run Time: 18min 38sec
Total Time: 58min 18sec

The Aftermath
I sank to the ground and stayed there on my elbows and knees trying to catch my breath as I listened to the music at the finish line and the excitement of the crowd that was there. After a minute Andy encouraged me to get up. “Don’t let your competitors see you on the ground. Stand up and be strong.”

I got slowly to my feet and we made our way to the side of the finisher shoot. Then we saw Jamie Brown make his final turn and come running into the finish line to claim his first win since July of 2019. He came to us and we bear hugged. “Fucking awesome bro!” He said. We all stepped out of the finish area and waited. Where was Aaron? After a couple of minutes we saw Aaron and Greg make the turn and run into the finish line. Less than two minutes later Owen and Ryan came in to round out the podium.

After a few minutes we were right back at the side of the race course eagerly awaiting our next teammates to cross. Hailey came across to win the PTS2 female race with Melissa hot on her heels to claim Silver. Not long after that Howie blazed across the finish line to claim his first victory since 2017. Across the board the USA Paratriathlon Resident Team dominated, more important than that to each of us though was that we were all just as excited for each others wins as we were for our own.

Each of my teammates came up to me after they’d caught their breath, gave me huge hugs and congratulations and I did the same for them. We’d all jelled as a team and the culture our coach had bred in us and our willingness to embrace that culture of supportiveness, camaraderie, and excellence brought us to these heights. What’s most exciting though is that none of think we’ve even touched our potential. Yes, we all crushed our races. Yes, we all overcame massive obstacles on our way to our first wins in 2021, but we still have a long way to go. We’re keeping an eye on our vision. Our vision is for us all to replicate Sarasota at each race, but especially Tokyo.
We don’t know when we’ll race again, possibly May, possibly later. What we do know is that we will all be there ready to rock and roll.

Thank you to my team for believing in me every step of the way. Thank you to my family for understanding the dedication it takes to compete to be one of the best blind/visually impaired triathletes in the world. Thank you to USA Triathlon for believing in me enough to give me the tools to succeed and for having the vision to develop this USA Paratriathlon Invitational race Series to allow us to compete. Thank you to my coach Derick Williamson for taking me from where I was to where I am, we’re not done yet and he believes we can get even faster. Thank you to my incredible partners, Bubba Burger and Cycles Chinook for your unwavering support on my journey. Thank you Andy Potts for guiding me, pushing me to new heights, for being an incredible mentor and coach as well as my eyes. And thank you to all of you, the #eyeronvision family. I hope you enjoy these race reports. I hope you’re able to make it out to a race some time soon. I hope reading about my adventures reminds you to keep an eye on your own vision and to live your life without limits.

Until the next time.

Remember to always keep an Eye On Your Vision!

#eyeronvision

USA Paratriathlon Invitational PTVI Men Results:
1. Kyle Coon/Andy Potts: 58min 18sec
2.Aaron Scheidies/Greg Billington: 1hr 1min 48sec
3.Owen Cravens/Ryan Giuliano: 1hr 3min 12sec

Thanks for the great race gentlemen! Can’t wait to toe the start line with you all again!

Kyle Coon
http://www.kylecoon.com
http://www.facebook.com/kylecoonspeaks
http://www.instagram.com/eyeronkyle

The Inaugural Endurance Conference to Benefit USA Triathlon Foundation as Charity Partner

Free, athlete focused virtual conference set for June 5-7

Katie Zaferes, 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series champion and 2016 U.S. Olympian, is scheduled to speak at the virtual event.

From USA Triathlon

The USA Triathlon Foundation was announced today as the charity partner for Endurance Conference, a new virtual conference for athletes that is set to take place June 5-7. Endurance Conference is founded and created by Juan Lopez Salaberry, a sports marketing executive and member of USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA. The inaugural event is free and open to the public, and it will be completely carbon-neutral in commitment to sustainability.

Note: Endurance Conference is not affiliated with Endurance Exchange, an in-person triathlon industry conference created and co-hosted USA Triathlon and Triathlon Business International (TBI) that held its inaugural event Jan. 23-25 in Tempe, Arizona.

The event will combine different voices in the sport of triathlon, featuring world champions and Olympians, world-class coaches, community leaders, managers and more, with the intention to provide a pure athlete-focused educational experience.

The lineup of confirmed speakers includes: Katie Zaferes, 2019 ITU world champion and 2016 U.S. Olympian; Timothy O’Donnell, 2009 ITU long distance world champion and multi-time IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher; Andy Potts, IRONMAN 70.3 world champion and 2004 U.S. Olympian; Allysa Seely, 2016 Paralympic gold medalist and three-time ITU paratriathlon world champion; Grace Norman, 2016 Paralympic gold medalist and two-time ITU paratriathlon world champion; Chris Hammer, 2016 U.S. Paralympian; Sebastian Kienle, 2014 IRONMAN world champion and 2012-2013 IRONMAN 70.3 world champion; Angela Naeth, Canadian elite triathlete and community leader; Wesley Johnson, 2019 Team USA Awards Paralympic Coach of the Year; Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, Founder of the International Association of Black Triathletes and USA Triathlon Board Member; Tommy Zaferes, elite triathlete and professional ITU photographer; and Justin Lippert, five-time USA Triathlon age-group national champion and first-year elite.

Endurance Conference is free to attend, but participants must register in advance at enduranceconference.com. Donations are encouraged; all proceeds will support the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund, which provides grants to those in the multisport community who have been impacted by COVID-19 including race directors, coaches and clubs. The fund has raised more than $110,000 to date, and grant applications are now being accepted at usatriathlonfoundation.org.

“The USA Triathlon Foundation is honored to be selected as the charity partner for Endurance Conference, an innovative event that will bring athletes together virtually to learn from each other and network during this unprecedented time,” said David Deschenes, USA Triathlon Foundation Executive Director. “We are proud to continue driving support for those in our multisport community whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19, and to support those who keep our industry strong so we can enjoy the multisport lifestyle as we know it.”

The schedule for Endurance Conference, as well as the list of presenters, is now available at enduranceconference.com. The conference will kick off with opening remarks from Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO, on Friday, June 5. The event will continue on Saturday and Sunday, offering the chance for athletes of all levels to connect with speakers, be inspired and gain insights on how to perform at the top levels of the sport.

Endurance Conference, happening exclusively online, will not only avoid carbon emissions and support those who are still at home, but will also offset emissions of those who register by planting trees in partnership with One Tree Planted.

“The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of respecting and caring for our environment, which provides a safe-haven for us to practice the sport we love,” said Salaberry, founder of Endurance Conference. “2020 can be a year where we can all come together for what’s important to us, the environment we live in and the people that make it special. It’s important for us to launch this event by supporting those that need us.”

With the hopes of maximizing fundraising, Endurance Conference is partnering with brands to provide value back to the community in exchange for tax-deductible donations toward the COVID-19 Relief Fund. For information about how to partner with the event, and other questions related to Endurance Conference, please email hello@enduranceconference.com.



About Endurance Conference
Endurance is a conference created for athletes and their development. Since its inception in the midst of the global crisis in April 2020, Endurance conference has been on a mission to unite and support the triathlon community with our most important challenges, our world and our people. The first carbon-neutral event of its kind is hosted exclusively online to support those in the sport most impacted by COVID-19.

About the USA Triathlon Foundation
The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as an independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $3 million has been provided to worthy causes and organizations that support its mission. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America’s youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more and donate today.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors – as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation – USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Could an American Win in Kona This Year?

From Triathlete.com
by Susan Lacke

The last time an American won the Ironman World Championship, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was showing in movie theaters. Kelly Clarkson had just won the first-ever season of American Idol, and the world was gearing up for the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT. That was the year that American Tim DeBoom won in Kona with a time of 8:29:56. DeBoom’s time would be considered slow by today’s pro standards, set by a wave of Australian and German athletes who have inched ever closer to the sub-8 mark, leaving Americans in their dust. In the women’s race, the drought has lasted even longer, as an American hasn’t won since 1996.

Could 2018 be the year the USA takes back the Kona crown? This year’s American athletes provide some of the best odds for a Kona win since…well, Kelly Clarkson won American Idol. The top bets for an American victory in Kona:

Women

American Heather Jackson. Photo: Oliver Baker

Heather Jackson
The 2016 third-place finisher is hungrier than ever for the win. Her 9:02:29 finish in Kona last year was less than a minute behind third-place finisher Sarah Crowley, and the experience fueled her all-in mentality for 2018. Her wire-to-wire win at Ironman Lake Placid in July, where she clocked a 9:18:49, shows she’s in top form and ready to rumble.

Linsey Corbin
With 11 appearances on the Kona start line, Corbin has more experience at this race than anyone else in the pro ranks, male or female. Within those years are three top-ten finishes and countless lessons on mastering the Kona game. She’s the fastest American female in history, holding an Ironman record of 8:42:42. Her recent “back-to-basics” approach to training has focused on consistency, recovery, and balance. She went ahead and nabbed her Kona 2019 spot with a win at Ironman Wisconsin in September. Will the decision to race such a late 140.6 help or hurt her Kona chances? We’ll find out!

Jocelyn McCauley
In only her first pro race at the Ironman World Championships, McCauley finished 10th place in 9:21:08. She backed up that breakthrough race with a third-place finish at Ironman New Zealand in March, and has been laser-focused on Kona since, taking the lessons she learned in her rookie year to improve for her second go-around. She looked sharp at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa, where she finished fourth in a strong field that included three-time Ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae.

Sarah Piampiano
Piampiano hasn’t finished off the podium in 2018—in five 70.3 and full starts this year, she’s taken five top-three finishes, including a win at 70.3 Lima and second place at Ironman Brazil. Can she keep the trend rolling in Kona? It’s certainly feasible—a look at her performance since turning pro in 2012 has shown a strictly upward trajectory, and Piampiano shows no signs of letting up.

Sarah True
The two-time Olympian made the jump to racing Ironman this year, and what a jump it was: True nailed her first-ever attempt at the distance, taking second place at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt with a time of 9:05:19. The first-place finisher? Defending Ironman world champion Daniela Ryf. True, who will be making her Kona debut this year, is a dark horse, but her history at both short-course and the 70.3 distance shows she’s got the chops to take on big names and high stakes.

 

Men

Ben Hoffman. Photo: Oliver Baker

Ben Hoffman
Hoffman is the closest America has come to the top step of the podium in recent years, taking second place in 2014. Though he’s had some stellar races since, including a sub 8-hour performance at Ironman South Africa in 2017, this year has been a bit of a mixed bag. A bike crash during the Cape Epic mountain bike race derailed his plans to defend his title at Ironman South Africa; Hoffman struggled from the start of the race and finished in a personal worst time of 12:06:48. He finished second at both 70.3 Boulder and 70.3 Santa Cruz.

Timothy O’Donnell
With his third-place finish at Kona in 2015, O’Donnell is most recent American male to podium. His 8:00:54 performance at this year’s Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship was good enough for fourth place in a strong field that included many Kona qualifiers for this year. His superpower in Kona seems to be heat management—where others wilt on the bike and run, O’Donnell thrives.

Andy Potts
At 41 years old, Potts is the elder statesman of the race, but he can still mix it up with the young guns. Potts was the top American finisher at last year’s World Championship, clocking an 8:14:13 (including a blistering 2:50:27 marathon) to take seventh place. He’s come close to the top spot before, finishing fourth in 2014 and 2015, and is known for tweaking his routine to accommodate what he learns each time he races Kona. Will 2018 be the year he finally cracks the code?

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Andy Potts: Balancing Triathlon and Family

Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to travel the world and watch you share the joy of racing and an active healthy lifestyle with your families. Regularly, I am asked about how I balance training, racing, my coaching business, and family. I gotta say, it’s not easy but it pales in comparison to the juggling act most of you have to do. I have the luxury that I don’t have a job that involves commuting, a boss, or the daily management of people. I’m lucky that when I’m training, I am working. With that, here are a few tips I have picked up over the years that could benefit anyone trying to manage it all.

1. Have a routine but don’t let your routine stress you out

Training for a triathlon is time-consuming and mentally demanding. Add in juggling a schedule, work/life and the schedule of your family makes it tougher. I have found that you have a set schedule, there is one less thing that you have to think about and by getting into a weekly rhythm you can focus on your workout instead of juggling activities. If you know that you have certain time blocks everyday and specific dates for each workout, then it makes it easier to pack your bags, have everything you need and be ready to train. Further, it allows others(like your family), to plan as well.

2. Establish expectations and communicate regularly

Critical for any relationship and a family tri relationship is establishing expectations and communicating if you need to change your schedule or needs. When my wife knows that I won’t be around on specific days/times, she can plan her life and my kids’ life around that. Conversely, my wife can let me know her expectations and needs for me so that I can plan my training around that. The key is being clear and establishing a routine. In our house, my family knows I swim early. The expectation is that I won’t be there when they wake up but I will be there during breakfast to get everything ready for school and then get the kids to school while my wife heads off to the cupcake shop. Similarly, I also spend time with my kids explaining to them what I am doing in my training and why. This lets them understand why I am going out on a 4 hour bike ride or in my training cave for hours at a time instead of going with them to the park.

3. Be in the moment

Andy's son greets him at the finish line

A lot of folks try to do too much. Too much at work, too much with their family and too much training. What ends up happening is they ‘fail’ at everything or are always guilty that they aren’t living up to their expectations. What I try to do is really be in the moment for whatever I am doing. If I am training, I am singularly focused on training as I would be doing a disservice to myself and to my kids if I didn’t give 100% to my training. Similarly, when I am with my kids, I am not feeling guilty that I am not training- I am 100% dedicated to my time with them. It makes everything I do more impactful and I can provide a higher quality experience in everything I do, which is what matters in the end.

 

4. Brick/Combo workouts

The best way to get in multiple workouts in a day is to brick your workouts. The typical brick is bike/run but you can easily swim/bike or swim/run as well. The goal here is to minimize the prep time and clean up time. Instead of splitting workouts and having to prepare and clean up twice, you can save thirty to sixty minute by doing it once. Really want to get crazy, you can swim/bike/run most days like me :).

 

Original article on Infinit Nutrition here

AN EVENING OF CHAMPIONS AND INSPIRATION: ANNUAL IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BROADCAST PREMIERE

Event to take place on December 5th at New World Stages in New York City with proceeds supporting The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 28, 2017) — On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation will host an “Evening of Champions and Inspiration” at the IRONMAN® World Championship Broadcast Premiere presented by UnitedHealthcare, taking place at New World Stages in New York City. Sharing the hosting duties for the evening’s affair will be “The Voice of IRONMAN” and this year’s IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Team Captain, Mike Reilly along with veteran national sports broadcaster and multiple IRONMAN® 70.3® finisher Shannon Spake, as they introduce guests to the magic of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship, which took place on October 14 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

The red-carpet gala will feature a premiere screening of the annual NBC broadcast that captures the fierce competition and compelling storylines of the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship and a moderated Q&A panel from athletes featured in the show. Event attendees will get a first look at the broadcast special before it airs on NBC, December 9th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET (check local listings for time and channel).

The event will also include food and cocktails and a meet-and-greet with inspirational age-group athletes as well as current and former professional athletes. 2017 IRONMAN World Champion Patrick Lange will be joined by top American finishers Heather Jackson, Andy Potts, Liz Lyles and Ben Hoffman and IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador athlete Tim O’Donnell. Special guests will include original 1978 IRONMAN finisher Dave Orlowski as well as renowned sports commentator and long-time narrator of the NBC Show, Al Trautwig.

“We are excited to return to New York City to screen the IRONMAN World Championship NBC special ahead of its premiere on December 9th. Every year this broadcast special gives viewers an extraordinary view into a truly amazing event and this year’s IRONMAN World Championship is no exception,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “We are honored to work with The IRONMAN Foundation as we continue to grow this red-carpet event and silent auction to a larger audience than we have ever had before.”

The IRONMAN Foundation, the charitable arm of the IRONMAN organization, has provided more than $50 million in support since inception. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The IRONMAN Foundation’s Community Fund, which provides grant funding to nonprofit organizations in race communities where IRONMAN events are held.

In addition to the funds raised from the event’s ticket sales, The IRONMAN Foundation will hold a silent auction with a variety of unique items including this year’s IRONMAN World Championship finish line tapes, Hawaiian Ukuleles autographed by Professional IRONMAN athletes, and tickets to a Broadway Musical, just to name a few. Online bidding will begin on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and is open to event attendees and the general public by visiting the following link – IRONMAN Foundation Silent Auction.

There will also be an opportunity to bid during the live auction at the premiere on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i as well as the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

“The IRONMAN Foundation is honored to benefit from this event, which exemplifies excellence and inspiration in the sport of triathlon. Funds raised will allow us to continue to leave a tangible impact in the communities where IRONMAN events are held across the world,” said David Deschenes, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.ironmanfoundation.org/konapremiere/. For more information on IRONMAN and The IRONMAN Foundation, please visit www.ironman.com and www.ironmanfoundation.org. For media related inquiries, please contact press@ironman.com.