After the success of last year's promotion, we once again decided to run our #TakeParcoursToKona offer in 2018. And we're pleased to say that we have our winner - Ben Hall.
Ben raced last month at the Ironman African Championships in South Africa, coming home in a super-fast 9:35:50. This earned him 4th place in the M25-29 AG, punching his ticket to Kona in October. He chose to run the Grimpeur wheelset, which helped deliver a 5:16 bike split, setting him up perfectly for his signature run leg.
Over to Ben to give us the story of the race in his own words:
"Ironman South Africa had been on my “to-do” list for a long time. The race gets consistently great feedback as having: a tough and honest course, superb organisation, as well as unmatched support. Plus, being so early in the season, it provides great motivation to keep in shape during the British winter.
The race itself began almost anti-climactically. The new rolling-start system for Ironman swims, where they let 10 people into the water every 10 seconds, completely eliminates the traditional “washing machine” melee. While my swim was slower than planned, I hadn’t wasted any energy battling other athletes, and I exited T1 feeling fairly fresh.
The bike was a rolling 2 lap course, renowned for poor road surfaces and the blustery winds that whip around the Eastern Cape. As a consequence, I had opted for the Parcours Grimpeur wheelset. The Parcours wind tunnel testing data showed the Grimpeur comparing excellently to the slightly deeper Passista across a range of yaw angles. As a consequence I opted for the shallower 40mm wheelset, so that I would get the best possible handling in the cross-winds, while still reaping the same aero benefits of a slightly deeper wheel set.
Suffice to say, they did not disappoint. I came off the bike feeling relaxed and composed, having made up a good number of places during the final 40 kilometres of headwind into T2.
As I started running, it was soon clear that a lot the other athletes had been working too hard on the bike. I was consistently moving up through the rankings, and a 3.04 marathon split eventually took me into fourth place in my age group. With 5 Kona slots in the age-group, I had stamped my ticket to the Big Island.
The bike conditions in Kona are broadly similar to those in South Africa (rolling roads and blustery winds!), so I’m looking forward to using the same bike set-up to equally good effect in October."
And we will, of course, be catching up with Ben later in the summer to find out how his preparations are going for the big race in Hawaii.