Bart Rolet, our Näak ambassador, has participated in the Word Triathlon Championships in Kona 3 times. Each time, he finished the race in under 10h, and he finished in 3rd place out of the French Canadians who participated in 2015. Coach Bart gives us his advice on the mythical race that brings the World's best athletes together every year in October for the longest triathlon distance.
Näak: How would you describe Kona in 3 words?
Discover the Essence of Triathlon.
Näak: What's your story with Kona?
I participated in the Word Triathlon Championships in Kona 3 times. In fact, I liked the idea of going back every other year if I had the chance to do so. Until now, it has worked out pretty well, but I will have to skip my turn in 2017 because I am working on other projects.
My first time in Kona was the discovery: I took part in every activity, I took advantage of every moment, and I understood why it is a race like no other. Apart from the fact that it is a World Championship, it is a mythical event that is irreplaceable... You must live it to understand it.
Näak: How to approach Kona tactically?
The tactic depends on the weather conditions. As always, it is important to remain calm during the swimming portion of the race. The difference with the other IRONMAN races is that here, everyone is swimming fast. Hence, forget the idea of finding a small group. The "laundry machine" lasts 4300m (oh yes, it's the longest distance).
When cycling, you need to be patient. Personally, it's my favourite course. The Hawaiian coast, which you can spot halfway through the race, allows you to see who has cycled strategically.
The downhill portion in the wind is incredible and requires skill. My favourite part is the last hour of the cycling course. There is a mean wind hitting your face, which favours bigger athletes. It's an incredible feeling to be in good shape at that moment and to swallow the competitors one by one on the legendary Queen K Highway.
During the running section of the race, it is important to adapt your pace based on the heat and humidity. You have to listen to your body and think about your body temperature.
For me, the hardest part is on the Queen K Highway: you've done over half the course, but the false-dish in the middle of the lava fields seem never-ending.
My favourite part is the "Natural Energy Lab". From there, you start to picture the finish line: it is the return home. I often have a second boost of energy at that point.
Näak: It is very hot in Kona. What is you nutrition advice for the race?
Having a good nutrition plan is essential. But, it is even more important to know how to adapt it to the race itself and the conditions. You need to take your time at the hydration stations to allow your body temperature to cool down.
Näak: What advice do you have for athletes who are participating in Kona for the first time?
Remember where you came from; from the first time you saw Kona on your television or on the internet, from the work you've accomplished to get there, to all the people who have helped you, and the dream you are currently living (even though it may seem like a nightmare more than at dream at times when things are not going as planned).
Näak: Apart from triathlon, what do you appreciate the most about Kona?
The magical atmosphere that this place has.
Näak: What would you like to improve the next time you are participating in Kona?
I would like to go back in 2-3 years. My goal is to finish in under 9h30.
Coach Bart uses Näak's energy bars to fuel his trainings. Indeed, Näak provides the most efficient fuel quality, geared for endurance and ultra intensity sports. Click here to discover and shop his favorite Näak bar flavor.
You havent tried Näak bars yet? Made with cricket powder; the most eco-friendly protein on the planet. Näak bars were developed in collaboration with sport nutritionists and a chef from Montreal. Click here to find out more.