26. Sebastian Kienle won the men’s 70.3 world title in September and will be racing Ironman Hawaii.
27. Kienle, widely regarded by his peers as the strongest cyclist in the sport, made an aggressive move around mile 60 of the bike last year that was derailed by a flat tire.
28. Eneko Llanos, Andreas Raelert, Frederik Van Lierde and Dirk Bockel have all finished in the top three in Hawaii but never won the race.
29. Caroline Steffen and Yvonne Van Vlerken are the only two women in the 2013 field to hold the distinction of finishing in the top three without ever winning.
30. Flu limited Rachel Joyce in 2012 and she finished 11th, but she was fourth the year before.
31. It took Chris McCormack six tries to finally win his first Ironman world title in 2007, 10 years after he won the ITU world championship.
32. Australians have won the past six men’s titles.
33. The Ironman bike split record is held by American Andrew Starykowicz, who will be making his Kona debut this year. He rode 4:04 at Ironman Florida in 2012. That’s 27.5 mph.
34. Tim DeBoom was the last American to win an Ironman world title. He did it in 2001 and 2002.
35. Inside Triathlon conducted a test to measure the aerodynamic benefit gained by a person riding the legal distance behind another athlete, which is 10 meters for the professionals. This test found that an athlete traveling at the average speed held by the top men can save 12 watts while staying within the rules.
36. While the pro rulebook says they must keep 10 meters between riders (front wheel to front wheel), the athletes have reached an agreement with Ironman’s head referee Jimmy Riccitello to keep a bigger gap between each other. About 100 miles of the Kona bike course is on the Queen K Highway, which has reflectors every 40 feet. The referees and athletes use these landmarks to judge the distance instead of having to guess. Add this 40-foot distance to the length of the bikes, and the agreed upon draft zone enforced in Kona is about 13.5 meters, well beyond the 10-meter figure that is on the books.
37. A 500-foot climb starting at mile 53 of the bike brings the athletes to the highest point on the course at the turn-around in the small town of Hawi.
38. Rolling hills cover practically the entire course. The total vertical gain and loss adds up to about 3,000 feet.
39. The men tend to form a large lead pack early in the bike, sometimes exceeding 20 people.
40. Clustering into a pack early in the race is less common for the women, but it happened in 2012. Caroline Steffen, Meredith Kessler, Mary Beth Ellis, Amy Marsh and Leanda Cave rode closely for the first miles of the bike.
41. Steffen, Cave and Ellis all received four-minute penalties (Ellis served hers in transition) during the bike in 2012.
42. Athletes given a penalty on the bike must stop in the next penalty tent on the course and stand still to serve their sentence. If a cyclist is penalized in the final miles, they serve their time in a penalty tent by transition.
43. 2004 was the windiest year in the past decade, and super-cyclist Normann Stadler rode 10 minutes faster than Torbjørn Sindballe’s second-best bike split on that day. Stadler gapped three-time champion and eventual 2004 runner-up Peter Reid by 24 minutes.
44. Two-time Kona champion Chris McCormack announced on Twitter that he will not start the 2013 race, saying, “Epstein Barr virus, diagnosis mononucleosis. 4-6 weeks recovery. Kona is gone for 2013. Absolutely devastated. Thanks for the concerns.”
45. Semi-aero helmets that create less drag than standard road options but allow more ventilation than full-blown aero helmets are gaining popularity, with athletes such as Andreas Raelert and Leanda Cave opting to race in the Giro Air Attack in 2012.
46. Of the serious contenders, only Caroline Steffen still raced in a traditional road helmet last year.
47. Brett Sutton is considered by many to be the most successful triathlon coach of all time, having guided athletes including Chrissie Wellington, Siri Lindley, Nicola Spirig and others to world titles or Olympic gold medals. His athletes racing Ironman Hawaii in 2013 are Jodie Swallow, Caroline Steffen, Mary Beth Ellis, David Dellow and James Cunnama.
48. Dehydration and electrolyte depletion are not associated with muscle cramping, according to many studies on distance runners and a 2005 study conducted on Ironman triathletes.
49. Eight-time Ironman world champ Paula Newby-Fraser was leading the race in 1995 until she collapsed on Hualalai Road, just 500 meters from the finish.
50. The very first Ironman champion Gordon Haller is returning to race this year.