Geared up for Kona
Many of the world’s top triathletes will be counting on Zipp Speed Weaponry wheels and components to put in peak performances Saturday at the Ford Ironman® World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
This year’s race marks the competitive debut of the redesigned 188 rear hub, improved to give Zipp wheels greater stiffness. It’s part of Zipp’s march of innovation to make athletes faster.
In 2010, the revolutionary Firecrest wheel-shape made a triumphant debut at Kona when Chris “Macca” McCormack of Australia rode the 808 Firecrest en route to his second world championship. Fellow Australian Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae completed a Zipp pro sweep by capturing the women’s crown.
McCormack is not defending his title. Zipp, though, has plenty of stars in Kona: In the men’s pro field, Zipp’s roster includes Marino Vanhoenacker, Maik Twelsiek, Luke McKenzie and Rasmus Henning.
Vanhoenacker, third last year at Kona, made huge news in July when he crushed the Ironman-distance record with a time of 7:45:58 at Ironman Austria. That broke Luc Van Lierde’s mark of 7:50:27 from 1997.
For Kona, Vanhoenacker will be riding 808 Firecrest wheels that include the redesigned 188 rear hub. His Scott frame will be outfitted with SRAM RED components. “I never have put more energy and time into optimizing the bike than this year,” the Belgian said.
On the women’s side, Carfrae will be defending her title using Zipp 404 (650c) wheels and SRAM RED components. Part of the Aussie’s buildup to Kona was a victory in June at the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Cambridge, Md. Other Zipp-sponsored contenders include Linsey Corbin, Virginia Berasategui and Yvonne Van Vlerken.
Corbin is in fine form after finishing third – as the first American – in last month’s 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, Nev. For Kona, she’ll be riding a 404 Firecrest front and 808 Firecrest rear wheel with Tangente tires. Her Scott frame will carry SRAM RED components.
The resident of Missoula, Mont., said a strong 112-mile cycling leg – particularly on the exhausting “back half” – is crucial to her strategy.
“Particularly with the sporadic Kona crosswinds, the 404/808 Firecrest combination will be providing me with 100 percent confidence on race day that I will be on the most aerodynamic wheels for the conditions,” Corbin said. “It’s important to not be coming off the bike overly fatigued so you can run a great marathon. Having the stability, strength and aerodynamics of a quality wheelset play an important role in my strategy to ‘back-half’ any bike course.”
Sponsored pros, men: Luke Bell, Mathias Hecht, Rasmus Henning, Ben Hoffman, Michael Lovato, Luke McKenzie, Jan Raphael, Matt Reed, TJ Tollakson, Maik Twelsiek, Marino Vanhoenacker, Patrick Vernay and Michael “Michi” Weiss.
Sponsored pros, women: Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae, Virginia Berasategui, Hillary Biscay, Linsey Corbin, Desiree Ficker, Jo Lawn, Kim Loeffler and Yvonne Van Vlerken.
See the full event schedule -