Kona Kings & Queens is a collaboration project with sports photographer James Mitchell to highlight some of the Pros racing in Kona. James supplies his awesome pictures (for more check his Instagram account), I add some data and commentary.
Last year a lot of speculation before Kona focused on the chances of Javier Gomez, Alistair’s short course rival. This year it’s almost harder to predict what Ali will be able to do in Kona. With Javier there was at least one valid IM-distance result in a decent field in Cairns, with Ali we only have a non-swim, cold weather Ironman Ireland that he was able to win. But it’s hard to draw any conclusions from that race for Kona other than that he’s been able patient enough with his pacing to cover the distance well. Maybe we can infer a bit more from his 70.3 racing: At least we can be pretty sure that he’ll be close to the front on the swim and also that he’s unlikely to be struggling at the start of the bike.
But with Ali’s previous problems in the heat, predicting the second half of the race will be tricky. Is he going to be able to balance riding strong with cooling down and eating enough? Maybe he will get excited and race too fast in the first two hours on the bike when almost everyone feels good? And what will happen once he’s on the run, especially on the hot section in the Energy Lab? Pretty much everything between a podium and a complete explosion is possible for Ali. A well-executed race should see him finish somewhere in the Top 10.
This is an excerpt from my “Kona 2019 Rating Report”. You can download your copy here.