In October, it’s finally that time again, time for the most important race of the year: the Ironman World Championship on Hawaii. After years without Kona, the World Championship will finally take place on the holy Hawaiian grounds again. Sebastian Kienle is currently preparing for what will likely be his last time racing in Kona. While he counts down to this memorable day, he looks back at some old editions. This time, the Ironman World Championship of 2012.
“My first world championship in Kona”, Kienle explains. “My coach Lubos and I flew straight from Vegas, where I won my first 70.3 world title. I was on cloud number nine. We had an amazing time during preparation. At that time, nobody arrived on the island this early – a month – before the race. Everybody told me the harsh conditions would wear me down. Well, it made me fly… Everything was new and exciting. And yes, we were working really hard.”
It’s only when you race on Kona that you really experience how tough the conditions can be, though. “And during the race I learned everything you need to know about this beast. I probably had the legs of my life on the bike. Was leading the race by five minutes with Marino van Hoenacker when I realized I had a slow puncture on the front. I had removed the valve extension and taped the valve hole… There was still too much pressure in the tube to get the tire off, and I was not able to let the air out”, Kienle says about this “rookie” mistake. “So I had to wait for ‘neutral’ support, which was supposed to be behind the leader.”
They weren’t, though, “they were with the Crowie Alexander’s group… “, Kienle continues. “I was so angry – mainly about myself – that I caught the group again and hit T2. When I turned left into energy lab, I saw Marino sitting there with a big bottle of Coke. He was about to quit the race while he was still in the lead. I think that’s everything you need to know about this race and how hard it can be, how it can destroy your mind. On the marathon, I remember a draft duel with Frederik van Lierde. There were such strong winds from the right side that I was running in the ditch to try to stay with Freddi, who was running as far left as possible… I ended up in 4th place. Pete Jacobs won and Andreas Realert got second”, Kienle concludes.
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