Ironman Kona Predictions 12049 700×394

Kona Bike Predictions From Best Bike Split

BY Ryan Cooper

The 112 mile Kona bike is known as one of the toughest courses in the world. The heat, humidity, and legendary wind pushes every athlete to their limit. Using Best Bike Split, we were able to create some initial predictions for several athletes that will be racing at the front on race day. Here are some of our predictions.

At the IRONMAN World Championships, the bike has become the marquis portion of the race. With more and more athletes pushing the boundaries of what their capabilities, epic battles are being waged on the Queen K Highway. Using Best Bike Split, we predicted the bike times for several men and women who will be at the front of the race on the bike.


Weather plays a major role in the race and this year, the current forecast will be fairly typical. Riders will face cross wind on the Queen K, which will turn to a headwind on the start of the climb, but that will return to a crosswind as they they descend Hawi. A slight tailwind will push athletes for the last 20 miles. This means times will be slightly faster than last year. However, for age group athletes, they may be quite a bit faster than last year.


With more men at the front, it will take a big effort for any rider to get away. Instead of a single athlete making a break, it will take a group of athletes working together to pull off. If stronger riders are willing to work together, it could come down to a select group off the bike. Any move to get away will likely have to be made during the section at the turnaround at Hawi where a group could make the break in the crosswind, then keep the gap with the tailwind on the way back. If they do manage to get away, no one will be able to catch them before entering T2.

For the women, there are not as many tactics that play out during the ride. With a smaller group of select women, they tend to be more spread out during the bike and ride their own races rather than match the efforts of other like the men.


Sebastian Kienle – 4:21

The reigning IRONMAN Champion will once again put down the fastest time of the day, within 1 to 2 minutes of his time last year. How well he swims will be a critical factor if he wants to repeat. He may try to prove a bit of a point and outbike the others on principle.

Jan Frodeno – 4:22

Another race favorite, Frodeno has gained speed since last year. Much of this comes from improved aerodynamics as he has a much more dialed in position on the bike. This will allow him to go faster while putting out the same effort as last year, leaving his legs fresher for the run.

Joe Skipper – 4:23

A newcomer to Kona, Skipper set a new course recorded at IRONMAN Texas earlier this year. He held 310 watts at Texas, but Kona is a harder course, so he would be wise to keep the power at around 300 watts in order to run strong off the bike.

Lionel Sanders – 4:26

This number assumes that Sanders wants to leave some in the tank for the run. He likely has the highest power output of any rider on the course, but he has not spent as much time fine tuning his aerodynamic position as of some of the other riders. The question with Sanders is if he is willing to ride a bit slower in order to have a better run.

Ben Hoffman – 4:31

On similar power to last year, Hoffman will be able to go slightly faster than he did last year.


Daniela Ryf – 4:52

Last year’s second place finisher, Ryf is expected to have another great bike ride. Even if she holds back her Intensity Factor® (IF®), Ryf should go slightly faster than last year and have more energy for the run.

Caroline Steffen – 5:01

Caroline will be close to her 2014 time on similar power to last year. She will certainly be at the front of the race coming off the bike.

Rachel Joyce – 4:58

After modeling several 2015 races, Joyce will likely go slightly slower than she did last year. Third place last year, Joyce will still be up at the front on the bike.

Meredith Kessler – 5:00

A typical strong cyclist, Kessler will be slightly faster than previous years.

Check out more of TrainingPeaks’ coverage from the 2015 IRONMAN World Championships.

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About Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is the Chief Scientist at TrainingPeaks and Co-founder of Best Bike Split. He has worked and consulted with multiple World, Olympic, and IRONMAN champions, as well as teams including UnitedHealth Care, Dimension Data, Cannondale Drapac, Orica Scott, BMC, Trek, and Sky. His main mission is spreading the metrics-based training approach of TrainingPeaks and the predictive race day analytics provided by Best Bike Split. Learn more at and