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!!!
Last week the Timex Multisport Team had its annual camp in Boulder. We caught up with team member and USA Triathlon Board Chair Barry Siff about the camp.
Q: You’ve been on the Timex Multisport Team for a long time. How did this annual camp rate for you?
Barry: The camp had a positive impact on me. I didn’t know where I was in terms of athleticism and my goals. I might have gone back to ultra-running or duathlon, but I got very motivated to get back into triathlon by being around all these terrific people.
At my age (60-64) my greatest opportunity to improve is in nutrition and strength and flexibility. I’m kicking my sugar habit—I have an excessive sugar habit. And I got enormously motivated by teammate Wendy Mader and tips she gave us on strength and conditioning. We had a class with Erin Carson at her awesome club RallySport and it blew my socks off.
Q: What is the purpose of the team? Barry: To promote and support the Timex products and the products of the sponsoring partners. Trek, Shimano, Blue Seventy and Bolle. Castelli makes all of our clothing; it’s crazy good. Wiivv is a new partner that makes extremely sophisticated custom insoles for running shoes by taking a picture of your foot and computer driven manufacturing the insole. Simon Whitfield (Olympic gold medalist and investor in Wiivv) was at the camp, with Greg and Laura Bennett, also Olympians, who gave a great talk about achieving high performance.
Q: Where is Timex taking their products for multisport athletes?
Barry: The new $99 Timex Ironman GPS watch is aimed at the mid masses. It’s aimed at getting people into running and triathlon. It does have all that sophistication, but it has a simple appearance. The larger focus is getting people fit and moving. It does not have heart rate but easily and quickly gives you pace and distance, and it’s extremely light weight and good looking.
The new Timex IQ Plus is a good looking dress watch and an activity tracker that synchs to an app on your phone. It tracks your day as you walk and sleep. I walked over 2.5 miles on a rest day, just going about my day, and that was interesting to know that.
Q: Back to the team, what makes this such a special group?
Barry: I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s like going to summer camp when you are a kid, where everyone has a very common bond of athletic dedication. The Timex family put us together so well. These 45 athletes do so much more for the sport of triathlon. Sure there are several national and world champions, but they all do volunteer work and other things for the sport. They guide blind athletes, they help inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. Many coaches are in this group, just really good people who inspire other people. No nasty people in this group at all. We are all very active on social media. A constant connection, every day for most of us, keeping up and inspiring each other.
Q: That kind of camaraderie sounds really appealing. But, I’m not an uber triathlete or anybody special, so how do I find some kind of connection like you have in the Timex Multisport Team?
Barry: The Timex Multisport Team was getting more than 300 applications for five spots every year. So they started the Timex Factory Team to expand the availability of experience and about 350 athletes are on the Factory Team. They have similar benefits for partners on clothing and discounts. There is potential for some of those folks to get on to the Timex Multisport Team from the Factory Team. And for many Factory Team members, there is an opportunity to be associated with Timex and spread the word.
The biggest opportunity for most athletes is to get involved with a local club. In the US there are 1000 USA Triathlon-sanctioned clubs. In the 303 area code, the Rocky Mountain Triathlon Club, Castle Creek Triathlon Club and Boulder Triathlon Club all provide training opportunities as well as social activities—good times, good friends. They emphasize welcoming and helping people into the sport. We at USA Triathlon are growing the sport and we need to welcome athletes and provide that social connection. Even those athletes who are doing most of their training alone can enjoy the social opportunities.
Q: How was it for you to be back in Boulder for a few days since your move to Tucson?
Barry: The camp was very busy and I didn’t get around as much as I’d like, but with the Without Limits 5430 Sports triathlon series here in Boulder, I’ll be back a lot this summer and looking forward to spending time here and seeing lots of folks.
Information about Timex Multisport Team and Timex Factory Team here