Quick Kona Thoughts

The Gold Guys wanted me to get a few brief words out about Kona.

-Kienle was dominant. Strong enough to ride back to the main field, ride through it, and ride away. He ran solid and no one was in position to catch up. Lots of very good guys were dueling for 2-10th behind him but there were 8-9 minutes back. This was a really impressive race.

-Rinny got it done, again. Well played on her part. I keep expecting the other women to get it together and bury her. With many strong swim/bikers like Steffen, Joyce, Swallow and this year Ryf, how are they not 20 minutes up on Rinny in T2? The women’s bike seemed chaotic with one small group leading early then eventually Ryf just taking over and riding away. No organization, no cooperation.

-Ryf had a wicked debut.

-Hoffman was un-hassleable. Had Olympic Champ trying to gun him down over the final 10k and Hoff kept on his game and held out for second. What a huge performance from him.

-There wasn’t really any coverage of anything other than the lead, so no updates as Rinny ran through the field, and no info as several men slaughtered each other to get in the final podium spots.

-Tons of guys and gals blowing up on the course. So many fit, strong, talented folks, how are their so many disastrous races? Simple: people don’t play their own game, they go with the race. In the spirit of competing guys go bananas to make the main group on the bike. Some blow up during the bike and some don’t pay the price till the run. I think the wind and heat at Kona make it much worse if you do blow up. I’ve blown up in mild conditions and it was lousy and it would be so much lousier under harsh conditions.

-Kona is always going to be hot and windy. Every year. 100% guaranty. Yet we still have people tweeting and talking about it. Plan and execute accordingly! This is not an acceptable excuse! It is not a surprise!

-Honey Badger. Everyone in the tri twitter stream seems to like Mary Beth Ellis and I figure she is a nice person and she has a reputation of being tough. Putting that aside, every year at Kona we see her sitting in on the bike. This year she was just hanging out behind Rachel Joyce. She famously got a penalty for sitting in a couple years ago. I know she sat in behind the leader all through the bike at Ironman Texas a few years ago. She talked openly about riding in a big bunch of age group bros during her impressive 8:45 Ironman debut at Austria a few years back. There is so much buzz about her in the media but no one talks about her penchant for gamesmanship on the bike. Would love to see more sophisticated discussions about athletes and how they play the game rather than ‘oh, she’s tough, she’s the honey badger, blah blah blah’.


Looking back at my own stream of tweets about the race, most of my coverage was making fun of the actual race coverage. I love getting to watch Ironman’s biggest day live and I’m glad they do video coverage of the pro race. That said, there is lots of room for improvement. I like Matt Lieto, he does well. I like Greg Welch. His accent is fun and he really knows the race, but he can be a little dull. Michael Lovato is not well suited for the job at all. He was not interesting or insightful. He made several odd remarks about athletes. He made several sexist remarks. He pronounces some words in an extremely annoying way. We all know former athletes don’t automatically make great coaches and Lovato proves former athletes don’t always make skilled commentators. Ironman is already investing so much in the video coverage and all the online materials they could easily put Welch and Lieto with someone more skilled.

Also, there was zero input from any women.

I’m not saying the job is easy. They have to fill 10 hours and work with very limited information (mostly they seem to have the same info the viewers have, with occasional updates from spotters) and they have no control over where the video feed goes. I am saying there has to be a better way do it.

They could have a better network of spotters on course providing info.

Some of the tweets from the official Ironman account were out of date, as in 20-30 min too late or inaccurate, so and so has moved into 2nd, but they hadn’t. Lots and lots of room for improvement there.

One other random thing I’d like to see is a database of info about each pro in the race. The announcers need more info at the ready about any given athlete. Recent race results, sponsors, personal anecdotes, anything interesting to help viewers connect with the athletes and get to know new athletes. This would have been good this year because the guys were at a loss with Ryf leading all day since she just came over to long course. All they could really talk about was her arm carriage on the run.  This would be very easy to implement and would be great for viewers and really great for the athletes and their sponsors.

I love watching coverage of Ironman races because I love Ironman races. If you are the same and want more coverage of Ironman races and BETTER coverage, let them know! If you agree about Lovato being wrong for the job, please let Ironman know!  If Ironman wants to get the most value out of the pro race they need to present it in a professional way. A few changes and they could set their broadcast team up for success.

A note for Minnesotans only: I am trying to take an Minnesota Ironman Census for 2015. If you’re racing an Ironman, I want to know where! Email me at palmertricoaching@yahoo.com or tweet me or facebook me or let me know over strava or instagram. Do not contact me via linkedin. Thanks.

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One Response to Quick Kona Thoughts

  1. A.L. says:

    They have had female commentators in the past, MJ for example, and got criticized for their performance as well. Also, the reason why Rinny doesn’t lose more time? AG men.

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