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Back 2019-10-10

Live from Kona: Sebastian Kienle

Listen to our live Kona convo with Sebi above.

ZippCast talks to one of the most popular guys on the Big Island, Sebastian Kienle of Germany. The 2014 Kona world champ is looking strong headed into this weekend’s race. He brings plenty of fun and good humor into this conversation at one of his favorite Kona eateries, Island Lava https://islandlavajava.comJava.

Edited excerpts (Listen to ZippCast above or on your favorite podcast channel)

On training in Maui this year before coming to Kona for the race

“You probably don’t realize how hard it is mentally to train day in and day out on the racecourse. Every time when you start to feel bad you think about the race and push yourself harder. Sometimes you don’t want to do that. Of course, you want to push yourself, but not for three weeks in every session. If you don’t feel that well, take it easy and save it for the big day.”

On the challenge of Kona heat

“It is always surprising. We have summers in Germany and sometimes the temperature is similar to here. Sometimes it’s even warmer. Then you think you’re pretty prepared. You just off of the plane and do your first run, and it just blows your roof off…. It is a different beast. Just the combination of the humidity… Maybe it’s just the lava one meter below us and it’s boiling our feet or something like that!”

On interacting with age-group triathletes and their families and supporters

“If you get respect from these people that means a lot to me and all the professionals. In any other sport, when you get respect from the audience most of them have no clue what’s going on in this race…. Here it’s just different. When they give you respect and they finish the race themselves, they know really well what it means and what it means to you. They invest just the same, probably even more because they have to sacrifice their work, their family (time).”


Photo by Nils Nilsen

On cycling tech

“When you see the bicycle was invented a very long time ago, and it’s still pretty much the same, more or less. When you see how much it’s improved in the 15 years since I have been on this level of professional sport, it’s just amazing. The development that is still going on is mind-blowing. It’s part of the competition and the part I love; to think about a lot of small details and in the end, they add up. It always makes me smile to hit the Queen K for the first time with the full race setup… You just go 220 watts and I go 41km average. It’s just amazing how fast we can go on a bicycle.”