Kona 2015 Resources

September 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: ReaderInfo 

Here is a list of resources for Kona 2015:

If you think you know who is going to do well in Kona, submit your picks on IM Predictions for a chance to win a BIG prize!

Here are some more posts from my friends and Triathlon Media:

I’ll add to this list as soon as my friends and I release more information closer to the race!

Kona 2015 Profile: Cait Snow (USA)

October 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Profile 

This is an extended version of the the profile on Cait that I have released as part of my free “Kona Rating Report“. A big “Thank You” to Cait for sharing her story with me!

Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

— Ian MacLaren

The Data


Career Highlights

  • Multiple IM Winner (Lake Placid, France)
  • Top 10 Finisher in Kona (8th 2010, 9th 2011, 9th 2012, 6th 2013)

2015 Season

  • 9th IM South Africa 9:55:03
  • 3rd 70.3 Raleigh
  • 1st IM France 9:24:50
  • 10th IM Canada 10:17:42
  • 2nd 70.3 Indonesia

Kona 2014

When Cait was getting ready for last year’s race in Hawaii, there were high expectations on her: In 2013 she was the top US female, finishing 6th in 9:10:12 with a sub-3 hour marathon that allowed her to overtake Meredith Kessler in the final mile. She had had a great 2014 season leading into Kona, with a number of podium finishes in 70.3s and a close second place at IM France. Her marathon time in Nice had been a 2:52:26 which was even faster than Mirinda Carfare’s marathon in Roth and the fastest 2014 female marathon before Kona.

But in reality, the chances for a good finish in Kona were pretty small when she was on the startline.

Only a few people very close to her knew that things started to unravel a few weeks before Kona: Her husband told her in August he needed some space to figure things out and needed to go away for a while, a move that turned out to mark the end of their marriage. Cait said, “It was a really big surprise to me. We tried to start working on things a little bit, but we decided to put everything on hold before Kona. I tried to focus on the race, but emotionally I shut down.” In order to do well in an Ironman, you have to race with all your heart and soul. Cait’s heart and soul were still busy dealing with the separation.

The weekend before the race she had to face another issue: “I was going for a recovery ride and was distracted. I tipped over and stuck my hand out. I thought I had strained a few muscles in my forearm, just icing and ibuprofen would help it. But a week after the race I had an MRI and it turned out that I had fractured a bone in my forearm.”

Still, her race day started okay: “I swam much better than I thought, I just had the hand in a fist but was able to swim with a group. It was okay on the bike. I knew going up Palani it would be painful to come out of the aero bars. But my heart rate was just too high. I tried really hard to stay in the moment because there was nothing I could do about my personal life on race day. People go through things that are that much harder. There was someone with ALS who had tried to finish an IM before and I thought how she would do absolutely anything just to be able to finish. That really helped me to get to the finish line. As much as I wanted to stop and quit, I knew I couldn’t stomach it afterwards.”

She biked almost 20 minutes slower than the year before, and things didn’t get better on the run. Other athletes would have been happy with her 3:16 marathon, for her it was the slowest IM run since 2007 – she finished in 22nd place, more than 45 minutes behind Mirinda Carfrae.

Picking up the Pieces

After the race it was clear that Cait had lost two important pillars of her strength: The bad result in Kona had her question her athletic ability, and the end of her marriage meant an upheaval in her personal life. Having to deal with only one of these issues can be hard enough, so even with the help of her family she was pretty much in a funk for the rest of the year and early 2015. Things were still raw for her, hard to talk about and process. She was just exercising out of habit and ended up having a three month ‘extended off season’ after Kona.

Things got better with a QT2 training camp in February. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go to Florida, especially considering that her ex-husband would be there as well. She and her coach Jesse Kropelnicki decided to go one day at a time and see how she’d feel. “I was able to stay focused and camp went well. I ended up in decent shape at the end of it and thought that I want to race soon. We hoped I’d come out of camp with a little bit fire but I don’t think we expected that. Camp ended on Sunday, Jesse and I talked on Wednesday, and decided that it would make sense to race IM South Africa.”

Booking her flights on Friday, she flew out on Monday and spent three weeks getting familiar with the race course. With the limited amount of training it was clear that she wouldn’t be able to tear up the course, she just wanted to “get back the joy that racing can bring”. After the race (finishing 9th) she spent her last day on a Safari before it was time to fly back home.

Ironman France & Canada

Cait must have really enjoyed that trip: Less than two months after coming back from South Africa she was on another transcontinental flight, this time to Nice, France. She had finished second at IM France 2014 but had barely seen the course. “We tried to ride the course in a car, but the first time I saw the whole bike course was on race day.” This year she had the chance to prepare on the course for four weeks and enjoy the French lifestyle. On one of her bike rides on the course she was caught in a thunderstorm. Here’s how she described it on her blog: “I = FREEZING. Promising myself that I would stop at the next store/restaurant/inhabited home that I came across and beg them to call a taxi, no matter what the cost. SO COLD!! Hands not working well, head starting to shut down. FIRE DEPARTMENT!!!! Wrapped in towel, fireman rubbing my arms trying to get me warm; hot shower, random clothes from firemen, wrapped in sheet, given hot tea, driven back to car by fireman. Awesome!”

Raceday proved that she was almost back to her old self: After being only 41 seconds back last year, she won the race with a sub-3 marathon! This year she was the one being pushed for the whole run, Lisa Ribes ran a 2:54 marathon and finished just a little over a minute behind Cait. After celebrating her win, Cait took some more time to travel France and Italy with her family.


Racing Kona was one of the things furthest from Cait’s mind at the start of the year, but her win in France had put qualifying in her reach after all. She decided to go for the remaining points at IM Whistler, the last race before the July cutoff. Again she took some time to prepare on the course and get familiar with the conditions. Race day turned out to be a big surprise to her and a lot of other athletes: A grey morning that was supposed to be overcast turned to cold and rainy while everyone was swimming, and it continued to rain for most of the morning. Shortly after starting the bike, Cait was so cold and wet that she borrowed a trash bag from an aid station. She ended up riding in that bag in addition to toe covers, gloves and arm warmers for most of the bike ride. Being that cold she wasn’t able to put out decent wattage. By the time she finished the bike her body had used up a lot of energy just to stay warm, and she couldn’t produce a run that would have moved her much closer to the money slots. She finished 10th and was philosophical about not qualifying for Kona – after all she had come a long way since the start of the year.

Kona 2015 – Qualifying and Chances

Instead of the extended recovery that Cait would have had to take had she qualified for Kona, she was considering fall Ironman races that would suit her schedule. But when looking at the start lists for August Ironman races, it seemed possible that she could qualify by filling her “open” 70.3 points slot. 70.3 Indonesia seemed like a good choice, it was a new race for Ironman (it used to be organized as “MetaMan Bintan”) and offered good points. Cait put herself on the startlist and jumped on a plane to Indonesia. Coming off the bike she still needed to make up a few spots, but her running speed quickly moved her into second place. When she finished behind Gina Crawford, she had a safe Kona slot after all!


Just one year after being a solid Top 10 contender, most people won’t think of Cait when discussing who could be the top US woman this year. She’s probably fine flying under the radar for this year and is doing her standard preparation with an extended stay at the race venue. Anyone who can run sub-3 after a decent bike will be moving through the field. But while she’s competitive enough to want to do well, just being able to race Ironman Hawaii is a big bonus for Cait after the year she has been through.

(Photo: Cait winning Ironman France, Credit: FinisherPix,
Cait and her Trading Card by Nils Nilssen, Credit: Nils Nilssen)

Kona 2015 Profile: Tine Deckers (BEL)

October 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Profile 


Career Highlights

  • 4-time Winner IM France (2009, 10, 12, 14)

2015 Season

  • DNF IM South Africa
  • 4th 70.3 Mallorca, 70.3 Barcelona
  • 4th IM Brasil 9:08:29
  • 7th IM Germany 9:28:20
  • 12th 70.3 Champs


Tine managed to qualify after a pretty late start to the season: Her first points are from 70.3 Mallorca in May! She raced well in Brasil to finish 4th in a close race. She was well placed in T2 at IM Germany, but was overtaken by a few athletes on the run and had to settle for 7th. At first this did not look enough, but when a few other athletes missed scoring good points, she received a July slot. “My Kona qualification was my main goal for 2015. The spring and summer races presented an uphill battle I was really pleased to conquer.”

Even though her 12th place at the 70.3 Champs in Zell am See was “a nice surprise”, she has been mainly focused on Kona, choosing to prepare in Lanzarote instead of altitude training. What’s her goal for Kona? “I know that others have a stronger claim to a place in the Top 10, but I am hoping to be the surprise outsider. But a place in the Top 15 would be pretty good, too.”

She’ll need a perfect day in order to finish in the Top 10: Not loosing too much time in the swim, ride with a decent group on the bike and then especially a strong marathon. She has run around three hours in France, and she’ll need about a 3:05 in Kona this year.

(Photo: Tine enjoying the sun in Lanzarote. Supplied by Tine)

This is an excerpt from my free “Kona Rating Report” – 150+ pages with tons of information about the Kona Pro races!

Kona 2015 Profile: Frederik Van Lierde (BEL)

October 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Profile 


Career Highlights

  • Kona Champion 2013
  • 3-time winner IM France (2011-13)

2015 Season

  • 1st IM South Africa 8:16:35
  • 5th IM Germany 8:07:09


The 2013 champion isn’t the flashiest racer but he hardly ever shows any weakness. Last year in Kona 15 bad minutes cost him a podium place when he was cramping after the Energy Lab: “Afterwards we found out I had a little abdominal muscle rupture that was probably caused by too high rpm going down Hawi with a tail wind. That section was crucial on the bike course 2014.”

This year he has already competed in two Regional Championships. I consider his IM South Africa win in 8:16:35 (including a 2:49 marathon when he already had a big lead in T2) one of the most underrated performances: When taking the slow course and conditions into account it is the second best 2015 performance (behind Frodo’s win in Frankfurt). In Frankfurt he was “one of the big three” in the male field, and some may consider his 5th place a “disappointment” (in the same way as his second place in Frankfurt last year). “I wanted to perform at my best possible level, but the heat was something I’ve never experienced before”, he says.

I expect the ‘South Africa Frederik’ to show up in Kona: “In February and March I put in new things, and it worked for South Africa. The hard work and the different approach during winter definitely payed off! Leading up to Frankfurt I did the traditional high altitude training camp (like the last six years) and I felt less aggressive than I was before South Africa. For Kona, I’ll do my preparation in the same way as I did for South Africa. I’m chasing a second victory in Kona. I think it’s realistic and I have still a few years to go. But I really need ‘the perfect day’ to make it happen again.”

If he wants to contend for the win in Kona, he has to limit the time he looses to the very strong bike riders and still be able to follow that with a superb run. It would require the next step forward in his development, but his dominating win in South Africa showed he is working towards these capabilities.

(Photo: Frederik Wins in South Africa, Credit: JacVanEvents)

This is an excerpt from my free “Kona Rating Report” – 150+ pages with tons of information about the Kona Pro races!

Kona 2015 Profile: Luke McKenzie (AUS)

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Profile 


Career Highlights

  • Multiple IM Winner (Brasil, Cairns)
  • 2nd Kona 2013

2015 Season

  • 4th 70.3 Pucon, 70.3 Subic Bay
  • 1st IM Cairns 8:18:01
  • 2nd 70.3 Sunshine Coast


After his second place in Kona 2013 Luke struggled in the next season, still finishing fifteenth in Kona. A dominating win in Cairns shows that he has rediscovered his old form: “Winning Ironman Cairns was the highlight this year as a validation of consistent hard work.” Though at times the life of the “McGerdes Family” (Luke, his fiancee Beth Gerdes and their young daughter Wynne) seems a total whirlwind, they have managed to build an environment around preparing and racing triathlons: “The run work that I’ve been putting in with Beth consistently throughout this year is really starting to pay off. We love to see each other out on the course and it’s always a little lift to see the other one passing by. Beth actually stopped her race and shouted at me as I crested the final hill in Sunshine Coast 70.3 with Terenzo and it gave me the little push I needed to close in that final kilometer.”

Going into the year he identified his swim as one of the areas he needed to improve: “I’ve been working hard on it and have consistently swum better this year than last year. Moving to Australia allowed me to train with a local elite swim squad which I feel is invaluable. I feel really good about the swim heading into Kona.” A better swim will also allow him a slightly easier first two hours on the bike: “My main limiter in Kona are the tactics that go on at the beginning of the bike. I’m hoping for a race where I can race my own race.”

If his swim goes well he then be able to ride with Frodo from the start or with Sebi when the bike group breaks up. If he can follow that up with another sub-3h marathon he’ll be in a great position to fight for a podium finish. That seems to be what Luke has in mind as well: “I’d love to be back on the podium, the ultimate dream is obviously to win it. I think anything is possible.”

(Photo: Luke, Beth and Wynne after 70.3 Sunshine Coast. Supplied by Beth Gerdes)

This is an excerpt from my free “Kona Rating Report” – 150+ pages with tons of information about the Kona Pro races!

Kona 2015 Profile: Beth Gerdes (USA)

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Profile 


Career Highlights

  • Ironman Winner (Switzerland)

2015 Season

  • 5th IM Malaysia 10:15:19
  • 4th IM Western Australia 9:04:38
  • 5th IM Melbourne 9:05:08
  • DNF IM Cairns
  • 1st IM Switzerland 9:21:05
  • 2nd 70.3 Philippines
  • 6th 70.3 Sunshine Coast

The last few years have been a total whirlwind for Beth: Starting a new relationship with an Australian Pro triathlete training in California who “happened” to live next door, wondering why she was vomiting at IM Wisconsin 2013, supporting her new boyfriend who finished 2nd in Kona, finding out she was pregnant, having her baby daughter Wynne at the end of May ’14 and getting back into Ironman racing in September. And that was just the start of her crazy busy 2015 racing season!

Roughly four months after giving birth to Wynne, Beth raced IM Malaysia, finishing 5th. In December she raced IM Western Australia, finishing fourth with a sub-3h marathon. In March she finished 5th at IM Melbourne, posting her first sub-5h IM bike leg. Even with a few more points from 70.3 racing, she didn’t have enough points to qualify. She lined up with Luke at IM Cairns only to DNF early on the bike when her bike kit didn’t include a valve extender and she couldn’t put air in her tires after fixing a flat. (She couldn’t be too mad at her bike mechanic – Luke had a great day and won the men’s race.) It was mid-June, Beth still need more points to qualify and time was running out. After a bit of back and forth, she settled on racing IM Switzerland, probably needing a second place finish for a Kona slot. She came off the bike in third place, quickly overtook Mareen Hufe (who “only” needed third to qualify) but was still more than ten minutes behind Mary Beth Ellis at the half-marathon mark. That quickly changed when MBE struggled and Beth ran a phenomenal 3:01 marathon (within a minute of the run course record). Beth took the lead at 36k and went on for her first Ironman win – and finally a safe position for a Kona slot. Of course this was the highlight of her season so far: “Winning Ironman Switzerland was my first Ironman win, so of course it was special. It was also unexpected, which made it even more of a personal highlight.”


Still, she didn’t take things easy to focus on Kona: In addition to racing two more 70.3s she and Luke bought a house in Noosa to use as a training base. “I am still in the groove and excited for Kona. I keep seeing progress with my training and racing, so that keeps me motivated. But I am absolutely ready for a break after Hawaii. I think Kona will be my last Ironman for the year, but I guess you never know.” Ask any question about Kona and you can tell how much she is looking forward to the race: “I’m excited to race the Top 40 women in the world in Ironman. Kona is the only time you can do that and truly see where you rank in the world-wide scheme of things. I think the pro race experience will be completely different from the age group race. Sitting on the sidelines the past two years, I have a good idea about how the race can unfold, and I’m excited to be a part of it. So even though much of the race and course is known to me, it will feel completely new and I’m not sure how it will unfold on the day.”

For a good Kona result, Beth needs to limit the time she looses to the rest of the field on the swim. “I need to get into a solid swim pack that swims around 1 hour. If I come out of the water with this group of girls, I can set myself up for a really good day. I love non-wetsuit swims without surf/beach entry, so Kona is a great course for me and I believe I can make it happen. I’m swimming 25-30k of long course meters per week with an elite squad which is giving me some uncharted swim fitness. I also thrive on the Kona atmosphere. Whether I’m racing or not, the Big Island during Ironman week is my happiest place on earth.” With her run strength she’ll be able to plow through most of the Kona field. If she manages to come off the bike not much more than 20 minutes behind the leaders, I’m sure we’ll see her run into the Top 10.

(Photo: Beth getting some extra motivation by daughter Wynne on the run at 70.3 Sunshine Coast. Supplied by Beth.)

This is an excerpt from my free “Kona Rating Report” – 150+ pages with tons of information about the Kona Pro races!

Next Page »

Logo SmarterSoftware

  • 2015 Kona Rating Report

    For the 2015 Ironman World Championships in Kona I'm releasing a 150+-page Rating Report.
    It contains tons of information:

    • Detailed results from last year.
    • Information about the Kona course, top Kona finishers and the current course records.
    • The Kona 2015 start list and my predicted finishing times for the Pro athletes.
    • Based on the predicted times for each of the legs, I show how the race may unfold and what to watch for when the race is going on.
    • My predictions include odds for the winners and TOP3.
    • A detailed discussion of the Pros including their input and a lot of photos they have supplied.

    The Kona Rating Report is the ideal information to have when following the Ironman Kona coverage!

    Get Kona Report
  • Interested in my Rating Reports?

    Thousands of people have downloaded my Kona Rating Reports and the Season Rating Reports. If you want to be notified when a new report is available, please leave your name and email!
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!
  • IM Predictions & Podcast

    At IM-Predicitions.com you can submit your picks for Ironman-distance races and maybe even win a nice prize!

    To help you make your picks, my friend Luke Dragstra and I have a podcast called IM-Predictions discussing the pro field in upcoming Ironman-distance races.

  • Let me know what you think …

    I look forward to your feedback. You can leave a comment or send me an email to thorsten@trirating.com.
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

    open all | close all
  • Categories

  • Meta

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.