2013 IRONMAN World Championships Power Analysis


Held in Kona, Hawaii every October, the IRONMAN World Championships are one of the hardest single day events in the world. Here is a look at the power numbers put out by some of the top male and female athletes during the 112 mile bike ride in 2013.


Luke McKenzie – 2nd Place – 8:15:19

712 Max Watts / 281 Avg. Watts / 4411 Calories / 25.6 Ave. Speed

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  • Since he was one of the top men out of the water, Luke didn’t have to chase early. He kept his power even, with a Variability Index of 1.05, so he never spiked the power for too long. No doubt this contributed to Luke’s great run off the bike. 
  • Amazingly, Luke put out this effort at an Intensity Factor of .82, meaning he held 82% of his max 1 hour power for over four hours. As big as these numbers are, he still wasn’t close to his max effort. 
  • From his Quarq, we see that Luke had a power balance of 52.5%/47.5% from right to left leg.
  • The short 1 mile climb up Kawaihae, at mile 77, is often a key section of the bike. Luke hammered out 350 watts for 3:20 to keep the pressure on at the front. 

Meredith Kessler – 7th Place – 9:10:19

263 Peak 5 Min. Watts / 3.6 w/kg Avg. / 3780 Calories / 440 Max Watts

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  • Great pacing by Meredith set her up for a great result. She put out 223 watts for the first half, then maintained 204 watts for the second half. 
  • Meredith limited her time in the red zone and stayed steady all day. Other than some early small spikes, Meredith kept her power in check. Her Variability Indes, or VI, was only 1.03, showing that she never pushed over her limit. 
  • We’ve noticed a lower cadence in many female Ironman power files. At Ironman Melbourne Meredith averaged 74 rpm. Since then she has upped her cadence to 84 rpm for Kona. 

Kyle Buckingham – 1st Place Amateur – 8:37:26

273 Avg. Watts / 24 mph Avg. Speed / 4570 Calories / 90 Avg. Cadence

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  • Climbing to Hawi, Buckingham upped his watts to 283, or 3.95 w/kg for the 18:51 effort. 
  • Not letting up on the descent from Hawi, Buckingham still cranked out 265 watts- another aspect of his file that is similar to the pros.
  • The average age grouper should hold an Intensity Factor of .60 to .70, which equates to a 6 or 7 on the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale. Buckingham was able to push an IF of .80, the top end even for the pro men.