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2013 Kona Recap & Thoughts

Heyo, you running around in your underpants with your wiener hanging out for everyone to see crazy ass fans! I’m back from a balls out week (metaphorically speaking) at Kona. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I honestly think it’s more tiring to be there and not race than it is to do the race. Early mornings at the Pier, long days at the expo, then some type of dinner or party leading to a late night. Repeat over 6 days and it’s really, really, tiring. Ok, I should probably stop this comparison before people that did the race break their computer monitors.

A Quick and Awesome Story – Me, Sebastian Kienle, and a Donkey.

First, watch this video, pay close attention to seconds 35-39. (Thanks Kevin Taddonio for the vid. Check out his triathlon video series, This Week in Triathlon).

It’s Sebastian Kienle (2x 70.3 World Champion) having just pulled into 2nd place, he runs by me, points, gets a huge smile on his face, and he says “The Spot!….With the Pony! The Pony!”

At first I thought, what the hell is he talking about? Then I thought, why the hell is he even talking in the first place? The dude’s in 2nd place in freaking Kona! Save your energy, bro!

But then I realized that he must have been referencing this…

Here’s the full size version.

Anyway, Pearl Izumi used it as the primary advertisement during Triathlete Magazine’s Kona coverage, so lots of people got to see it, and apparently Sebastian was one of them. I actually caught up with him at dinner after the race and he confirmed that was indeed what he was talking about. He just thought it was funny and was surprised to see me out on the course. Obviously, the dude is a ridiculous talent to have the energy to say anything 3 miles into a marathon after riding a 4:22 bike split. Impressive, and a cool guy to boot.

Thanks to Pearl for the awesome opportunity. I’m super stoked and feel incredibly lucky to get the chance to do something that fun!

My Assignments (and Grades):

Anyway, Kona was fun. I had a few assignments, all of which I’ll give myself a grade on right now:

Specialized Bike Rides & Media Stuff, A-. I was pretty psyched with the turnout we had especially for the second ride. Good times and fun people. Huge thanks to everyone that showed up and spun with the coolest bike company in the world.

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 7.58.44 PM

ROKA Swim & Expo Booth, A-.Traffic was admittedly a little light during my “appearance” time at the Expo booth, but I spent enough time BS-ing with the ROKA crew during the 5 days to adequately make up for it.

The ROKA swim group, ready to swim out to the coffee boat. Thanks GoShiggyGo for the photo.

The ROKA swim group, ready to swim out to the coffee boat. Thanks GoShiggyGo for the photo.

Jesse’s Kona Cam, C+. You win some, you lose some. Turns out there’s a reason I haven’t done much video yet, it’s really freaking hard. Props to video dudes. It’s not like writing, where I can just throw up whatever I want into a computer and then go back and clean it up into something relatively publishable. When I throw up on camera, it just makes a bad video and nobody wants to watch that. Anyway, I got some decent ones (most interviews), some average (talking about my hair), and plenty that are just plain bad (everything else) – here’s a link to the whole “series.” It was admittedly hard to think of good stuff on the spot, then record, edit, and upload it all on my phone. It was a good exercise though, as I hope to incorporate more video into my stuff in the future. I would like to do it again next year with a better plan going into it and a little more video and editing experience. We’ll see…Let me know what you guys think.

It’s funny because we pretend to be each other.

Underpants Run: A. This was my first time doing the Underpants Run, and my conclusion is that it is awesome. Seriously, what’s not to like? It’s a bunch of people stoked to be in Hawaii, running around in their underwear, and it raises money for charity. I’m proclaiming now that if I ever do this race, I will still do the Underpants Run two days prior. Hold me to it!

Picky Bars Wheeling and Dealing: A. Holy cow, I gave out over 400 Picky Bars. It’s honestly astonishing to me how many random people tell me they love the bars when they see me in my Aviators and Picky Bars shirt. It’s the coolest thing ever to see an idea we’ve been working on for a long time starting to take hold. Huge thanks to everyone who introduced themselves and tried a bar, took a picture, etc. It was a blast meeting you all.

Picky Clubbers in the Hizouse!

Picky Clubber @manderwend in the Hizouse!

My Thoughts on the Race:

Like last year, watching this race is both inspiring and intimidating. While the top 5 guys were mostly picked to do well, and had strong history in Kona, many of the likely contenders struggled. I think no matter how prepared or experienced you are, you still have to have an amazing day to do well at this race. It’s just too tough, and once you start to slide, you slide way back in a hurry. I was obviously stoked for Luke McKenzie (2nd), who trains part of the year in Bend and is a good dude. I was also pumped for  Tim O’donnell, who had a solid, progressive finish to end up 5th and top American. Meredith Kessler and Linsey Corbin (both of purplepatch) also had incredible days for 7th and 10th. After watching the race 3 years in a row, it’s hard to imagine a career without taking a shot at this race at some point. There is an allure and ultimately a challenge there that makes any challenge hungry individual want to see how they can stack up against the course, the elements, and the field. Obviously, no plans yet, but we’ll see.

Watching the race is tough work.

Watching the race is tough work.


As you can see, I'm not the only one that get's really tired watching the race.

I’m not the only one that get’s really tired while watching.

Post Op Update Coming Soon!

I know what all eleven of you are thinking – what’s up with your foot? Well, it’s progressing. Lots to talk about and fill you in on, but I’ll keep it for a separate blog and update early next week. Have a good weekend everyone, and as always, thanks for reading!

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