Oct 17, 2012 article & images by Nick Salazar

Marino Vanhoenacker chose an orange-and-white color scheme this year. Great choice, Marino!
Marino Vanhoenacker chose an orange-and-white color scheme this year. Great choice, Marino!

Tags » hawaii2012,  supersized
  • There's no doubt about it: in the last few years Kona has become a bike race once again. Craig Alexander wasn't able to defend his title, but Pete Jacobs won using a very similar strategy: push hard on the bike, and then unleash a run that no one could match.
  • And here's the man of the day, Pete Jacobs. The Aussie wonder really went to work aboard that very straightforward rig of his, and put together an astonishing race. We detailed Jacobs' rig in another article earlier this week.
  • I was delighted to see Natascha Badmann out on the course. The forty-five year-old Swiss Miss has won this race SIX times, and her sixth place this year, at her age, is amazing. She is an inspiration. She's still riding the 650c Cat Cheetah she rode for several of her world titles.
  • Another guy who just won't quit is former World Champ Faris Al-Sultan. The bikini-rocking German has probably the weirdest run form in the field, but managed a very impressive fifth place today.
  • Jordan Rapp was one of several athletes making his debut in Kona this year. He finished in 13th place, just two minutes behind last year's champ Craig Alexander.
  • Rapp was riding on a prototype Zipp bar that we detailed earlier in the week.
  • Michael Lovato riding on his Kestrel 4000, Zipp hoops, Louis Garneau Vortice helmet, ISM Adamo saddle, and SRAM Red drivetrain.
  • Andreas Raelert always looks amazing on the bike. He was one of several athletes wearing the new Giro Air Attack, a hybrid aero helmet that I think will be a very popular choice when it's released this Spring. His BMC TM01 is virtually unchanged from last year, except that he has mounted his SRM PowerControl computer BEHIND the saddle, I assume so that he isn't tempted to ride by the numbers and can instead race by feel.
  • Andreas Raelert always looks fantastic on his BMC TM01.
  • It's critical to stay cool out in the Kona heat, and Raelert knows how to get the job done.
  • Tim O'Donnell has been racing Kona for a couple years, and is starting to hit his stride. His eighth-place finish is a great result.
  • Paul Amey is riding his P5 exactly the way I would - using the UCI-legal 'Three' fork, with TriRig Omega brakes front and rear. Looks like the bike is an excellent fit for the Aussie.
  • Crowie is the picture of aero on his Specialized Shiv. But he couldn't keep up with the aggressive riders who went up the road early on in the race, and stayed away.
  • Thomas Lowe on the Cervelo P5. This bike looks beautiful from the front - no cables hanging out in the wind.
  • Cervelo's poster girl Caroline Steffen continues to reach for the top spot on the podium, but finished second this year. But unlike Lowe, she's using a standard Campy brake, which sits in the wind. Now, after nine hours of racing, Steffen missed the win by just one minute. Hm ... I have a suggestion for her regarding that front brake ... #OMEGA.
  • Leanda Cave riding in the lava fields. I think Cave looks a little high on the bike, and could afford to drop a little. But she did win after all, so what do I know?
  • Leanda Cave was unstoppable on the bike, and held off a hard-charging Rinny and Steffen to take the win. I'm delighted to see that Giro's debut with the Air Attack went so well. This is a product I really believe in, and I think that now consumers will have to take notice. It's a well-thought-out product that has a lot to offer.
  • Mary Beth Ellis is on the P3, a bike that's about seven years old but still perfectly legit today. I'd say that without question, no bike has aged as well as the P3. Nearly a decade later, and it's still good for fifth place in Kona. Of course, having such a strong rider didn't hurt.
  • From Ellis' P3 to Caroline Steffen's P5 is a cool little trip to take. Steffen earned second place on this very slick rig.
  • Sebastian Kienle riding solo in the Kona heat.
  • If you hought TJ Tollakson had an extreme position, check out Alejandro Santamaria. Wow!
  • Dirk Bockel took 10th this year.
  • Good Lord, that POC helmet is just the ugliest thing I've ever seen. No disrespect to Jo Lawn, who is a nice person and a great athlete. But that helmet reminds me of Dark Helmet from the sci-fi parody movie Space Balls. Prepare for Ludicrous Speed!
  • Luke McKenzie looks great on the Scott Plasma 3. He's riding the new Scott Split helmet as well, with the integrated visor.
  • Greg Bennett has an amazing CV in short course racing, but didn't crack the top 10 in the longer format at Kona.
  • Rinny couldn't take down Leanda Cave on the run, but she fought hard to hold on for third. She's worked hard to improve her bike position, her equipment choices, and of course her legs. The setup looks very good, and there's only a little bit to complain about here (ahem ... OMEGA). Rinny put together a great race and looks fanastic aboard her Felt DA. And by the way, did you notice the Firecrest logo on those 650c wheels of hers? Looks like Zipp is watching out for the smaller riders out there!
  • So, um ... maybe I don't know much about triathlon, but isn't there some kind of rule about drafting? By the way, this is at mile 35 or so, so it's not as if they all just got out of the water together.
  • A lonely Michael Raelert heading for T2.
  • Marino Vanhoenacker chose an orange-and-white color scheme this year. Great choice, Marino!
  • Rasmus Henning out on the Queen K.
  • Joe Gambles riding on his Trek Speed Concept. Gambles used to be a SRAM athlete, but now rides on Campagnolo's electronic drivetrain, EPS.
  • Colorado Springs native Andy Potts was the first American across the line in seventh place, just ahead of countryman Tim O'Donnell.
  • Frederik Van Lierde held on for third place, and put together a fantastic ride on his Cervelo P5.
  • Leanda Cave rode hard, and ran hard, keeping a fast-chasing Rinny at bay, and ultimately wearing the Aussie out.
  • This was the first year that both Raelert brothers were able to race in Kona together. Sadly, they didn't deliver the podium sweep they had hoped for. This is Michael, and his rig looks almost identical to that of brother Andreas.
  • Marino Vanhoenacker just OWNS his Plasma 3. He's riding the new Profile Design bar, the Aeria, which is rather nice. He's on 808 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers front and back, SRAM Red, and the Scott Split helmet. This is a beautiful rig, but the bike is just BEGGING for an Omega brake.
  • Macca didn't have a great day, and eventually dropped out. But he's got the Shiv dialed, and replicating his winning position from 2010.
  • Macca may not have felt good, but he always has time to smile (or make faces) at the camera!
  • Heather Wurtele riding in the lush Kona scenery.

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