Straight from the engineering lab to the Queen K, these five trends are making Kona’s fastest athletes look more and more like they’re racing Olympic distance.
1. Cool heads prevail
Kona is the last refuge of standard road helmets in the pro triathlon field. Still, countless wind tunnel tests have inarguably shown that aero helmets make a cyclist faster (most tests show a time savings of 3 to 5 minutes in an Ironman), and successful races in Kona—by athletes big and small—have demonstrated controlling core temp is still possible while riding with an aero helmet.
Every one of the top 15 male finishers in 2011 raced in an aero helmet. Many of the women, however, still favor road helmets. Of the favorites in 2012—Carfrae, Joyce, Cave and Steffen—only Carfrae, the weakest rider of the bunch, opted for the aero helmet last year.