Every October, more than 2,000 of the top triathletes in the world descend on Kona to fight it out in the most competitive tri on the planet. Participants must swim 2.4 miles (3.8 km), ride 112 miles (180 km), and run a marathon (26.2 miles/42 km). A significant amount of these pro and amateur athletes train with Zwift for the event. Here are their stories.
Jesse Thomas (Professional Triathlete from Oregon, US)
Level on Zwift:
Watopia, Richmond or London:
Definitely Watopia because of the variety. I try to translate my workouts into segments of the course. I’ll do five to six-minute efforts on the volcano loop, slightly longer intervals on the volcano climb, and 15+ minute efforts on the Hilly Loop.
Free ride, race or workout:
Free-riding. I like to feel the variations in the gradient and the need to shift when it changes. I also get out of the saddle occasionally; it just feels more lifelike.
What tunes do you Zwift to:
I listen to music, but, honestly, only on my easy days. When I’m riding hard, I actually have no other stimulation. My longest ride on the trainer in this build-up was a five-hour ride, and it was just me staring at Zwift and keeping a check on my stats and power.
How many times have you raced in Kona:
This is my second time.
Hopes for Saturday:
My career goal is a top ten finish here. I’ve never cracked the top ten at an Ironman World Championship event, I’m capable of it, but it is going to take a great day.
On Sunday after the race I’ll mostly be:
I have a flight out Sunday morning to get back to my family [editor’s note: Jesse’s daughter Zadie was born last Sunday.] If I finish top ten, I’ll stay for the awards though!