Points of View from Ironman Kona

November 04, 2016

Points of View from Ironman Kona

Race reports come a dime a dozen these days – seems everyone who’s ever pinned a number onto a jersey or sped through an aid station has an online platform for sharing their story. Which is great, because people love hearing (and telling!) stories, future racers love the beta, and creative outlets have proven to positively benefit our mental and physical health. Keep on keeping on, race recappers. Spare no painfully humorous bodily (mal)function detail.

By now maybe you’ve already read Jesse’s recap of his first trip to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, but we thought it’d be fun to bring you a a few different angles to the story.  What’s it like to be part of the support crew? To be along the course as a casual fan? To be a three year old more interested in sticks and rocks than bikes and neoprene?

We’ve got those stories covered. Here we go with POVs from the racer, an industry pro finally making it to the motherland, a surfer spectating her first triathlon, and Jude the Dude who just wants to play with his toys.

Jesse Thomas Ironman Kona Picky Bars Booth

Jesse (the ironman)

Swim – Go as hard as I can and still people pull away, damn it! Settle in with another group for what feels like HOURS, but really is just one hour.

Bike – Got a little excited and rode with the uber bikers at what felt like a sustainable pace to catch the lead within 40 miles. Shortly after catching the lead, realize that NOPE, that pace was not sustainable and I was smoked. Got popped and rode 60 miles home solo.

Run – Honestly, didn’t think I was going to make it 26 miles, but then a high 5 from Jude at mile 3 kept me going. It was still, easily, the longest, hottest, hardest effort of my life, but damn it, I ran as hard as I could and I finished. That’s all you can ask for!


Nadine Cheering at Kona

Nadine (marketing director, industry pro)

As an Aussie who’s spent nearly a lifetime in the bike and tri world, the Ironman World Championship is basically my Superbowl, except that I don’t actually watch or understand the football one. I love the energy on the island, and everyone keeping up with all the work they have put in to get there (athletes and not alike.) I even love the heat. Introducing people to Picky Bars and hearing stoked stories of people who are already digging us gave me such a rush, and having the boss race was super special. We’ve seen the hard work he has put into training the last year and seeing him cross the finish line was just awesome. I’ll probably not be trusted with covering the race again until I can demonstrate the skills at cheering and taking photos at the same time, but that’s ok.

(Just between you and me, cheering wins every time.)

Liz at Ironman Kona

Liz (marketing coordinator, triathlon rookie)

I got to spend a week in Hawaii before the race, working and surfing, man I was in heaven. Since it was my first triathlon experience I asked Nadine a lot of (maybe silly) questions about the race and what to expect. On Saturday we woke up at the crack of dawn and I got ready for what I thought would be a day jam-packed with cheering and excitement.

We patiently waited for the pro Men’s start. The water was calm, and the morning started off with a beautiful pink sunrise. When the gun finally went off and the pro men jumped into the water but the crowds were so massive we couldn’t see anything. We grabbed some coffee and about an hour later we saw him take off on the bike. A quick “Go Jesse!!!!!” at the top of my lungs and we didn’t see him again for another 4.5 hours. After some breakfast we secured a spot at T2 (see, I know the lingo) and watched him leave in what seemed like a full sprint to start his 26 mile run. I was unaware that after watching him fly by that Nadine expected me to sprint down Ali’i Drive (in my sandals, with spikes in both feet from the sea urchin I stepped on while surfing) so we could beat Jesse to the next viewing point. We barely made it. That dude is freaking fast!! We watched him fly by and look like this was no big deal to him.  More waiting…  Jesse flies by again. This time still cruising but looking a little more tired. Time for lunch. After lunch we secured our spot at the finish and awaited Jesse’s arrival. We watched the first 15 guys come in and got so excited when we knew our dude was next. He came through still running super fast but also looking like he may die. He freaking did it! (Finished, not died.) I couldn’t believe it.  

The whole experience is something I will never forget.  From watching Jesse train all summer and show up to work looking like a zombie (I thought he was freaking crazy) to seeing how cool, calm, and collected he was all week leading up to the race, and hearing just how hard that race was on his psyche and body, was ridiculously inspirational. I got to see first-hand what it takes to compete at that level. It was a true honor to be a part of it!

Jude in Kona

Jude (jesse’s son, likes sticks)

I was awake and it was wakeup time! I saw Gammy and Gammy took off my diaper and Gammy said let’s hurry to go see Daddy’s race but I just wanted to play with my toys. Gammy said I could have Fudge Nuts so we got into the car and we drived a really long ways and parked the car and walked a really long ways and I saw lots of sticks and rocks. We stopped next to people who yelled and they yelled really loud and it hurted my ears a little bit but I’m OK. I waited a really really long time and I didn’t have any rocks or sticks it was boring and not fun and Gammy was bored too. Then I saw Mommy! And Mommy said here comes Daddy. Then I saw Daddy and Daddy was running and he looked really really really tired. Mommy holded me up and said give Daddy a high five so I sticked out my hand and Daddy saw me and he smiled a little bit and he high fived my hand and runned away down the road. Mommy said good job buddy!

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