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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Road to Kona - The Final Week

Saturday is race day! It is so close and we are excited to watch Infinit athlete Lionel Sanders race in his first ever Ironman World Championships. If you haven't heard yet, we have partnered up with Cycle Culture and John Max to host an Ironman Kona Official Viewing Party. More information can be found here. We hope you can drop in!

Over the past few weeks we have been bringing you some updates on Lionel's Road to Kona. Today we have a big update for you all (Update from Barrie Shepley).

Monday, October 5th Update:

NEAR PERFECT PREPARATION FOR SANDERS
Everyone knows how hard Lionel Sanders has worked for the last 12 moths for this weeks Kona Ironman.  Now with all the work completed, Lionel is wisely doing the important final prep work to be rested, hungry and ready to battle the top 55 men on Saturday.  Lionel has been in Kona for over 2 weeks already and did his big 160km rides and 30km runs in the first week.  He said he found the first few days hard in the heat but has really adjusted well in the last few days.  Lionel did the Ironman Swim Race on Saturday as preparation for the Oct 10th event.  He is happy he did, having made some sighting issues during the swim and feels more comfortable each day he swims in the 85 degree crystal clear ocean.

 


TEAM GARNEAU TAKING CARE OF LIONEL
Louis Garneau has been incredible all year taking care of Lionel.  Matt & Jamie at Cycle Culture in Windsor has been Lionel's home store and have been fantastic to him.  This week, Eon D'Ornellas, a long time bike pro and bike shop owner from Toronto is in Kona and making sure that Lionel's bike is humming (thanks LG & Eon).  The Garneau bike has been the talk of Kona - Partially because many have been driving their cars out onto the Queen K Highway to get video and watch how fast Lionel has been riding.  Check out the local video of him from earlier this week by Triathlete Magazine. 

HED WHEELS ARE FLYING
It was like Christmas when Lionel's new Hed Wheels got to him a few weeks ago and he believes that he has never ridden wheels so light, comfortable and most importantly fast.  He has tested them in some 40-50km winds last week and says they are the best wheels he has ever ridden on.  With the big German boys expected to lay down a massive attack on Saturday, Lionel's confident he will have the best wheels in the game to laydown his own wicked bike ride.

 

SKECHERS WITH A BIG PRESENCE IN KONA
Each six months, the world knows more and more about Skechers Performance Shoes.  Obviously the developed relationship with Meb a few years ago put Skechers on the map, and the recent relationship with the LA Marathon has pushed that even further.  This week, Skechers will be all over Kona and nobody will be more visible than Lionel Sanders.  We were out with Lionel doing some interval training this week and he looked amazing running up and out of the energy lab on his 20km run.  With Skechers in the Sports Expo, Skechers House and athletes like Lionel and German Nils Fromhold out on the Kona race course, Skechers will be well represented in Kona.
 

TEAM FRESHII LANDING MID-WEEK
Matthew Corrin, president and founder of Freshii will be arriving mid-week to experience his first Kona.  Lionel has met many people from the USA in the last week who have eaten at Freshii restaurants all over the country.  Barrie & Lionel think its about time that a Kona Freshii was established to make it the place to be for healthy, great food in Kona.
 

TEAM SANDERS DOCUMENTARY CONTINUING
Matt, Graham and Greg are all on their way to Kona for video interviews and capturing more footage of Lionel's ROAD TO KONA.  The year long documentary began last Novemember in Windsor and has followed Lionel through races, training, Tucson camps and here in Kona.  Lionel and Erin's families are in Kona for their first ever trips and are totally enjoying the Island paradise.


TUESDAY NIGHT SANDERS & FRIENDS PARTY IN KONA
A modest VIP supper is occurring on Tuesday night in Kona with Lionel, sponsors and family.  The goal is to celebrate the "journey" to Kona 2015.  Without the incredible support of family, friends, sponsors and team-mates, Lionel could never have gotten this far, this fast.  At 27 he is the youngest man in the top 10 in Kona.  Tue night is simply a casual night to celebrate the journey.

INFINIT NUTRITION WORKING VERY WELL
Infinit Nutrition President Darcy Haggath has done an incredible job with Lionel.  They sat down, figured out what his body needed in terms of calories, volume, rate and salts.  Lionel has been religiously following the format and looked incredible on both his bike and runs this week.  Right now he is looking to go through one bottle of Infinit every 6km of the run (that's roughly 7 bottles to hammer what he hopes to be an incredibly fast marathon).   Darcy and the team in Windsor are currently putting together a big SANDERS viewing party.  More details later.
 

LIONEL SANDERS VIEWING PARTIES GROWING
There are now over 5 official Lionel Sanders viewing parties for Saturday's race in Kona.  With parties in London, Windsor, Hamilton, Caledon, Brampton and Toronto, (new ones being added) there will be a lot of Lionel fans and friends cheering from affair.  Obviously over 30 family members and friends will also be in Kona cheering directly.

MORE RECENT MEDIA
A dozen media outlets have either done stories on Lionel this week (or are planning on it).  The Sun Media Newspapers across Canada will be doing a story out this Friday.  IRUN Magazine has made an entire week's focus on Lionel and Kona.  The stories just keep coming.  Below are a few recent stories you may not have read.

The Globe and Mail - Journey to Recovery
The Star

Wednesday, October 7th Update:

BREAKFAST WITH BOB 




TUESDAY'S WINDS WERE EPIC
The only key sadness was a few major sponsors were not in Kona yet for Tuesday night's Kona Party.  Matthew Corrin and Team Freshii were not on the Island yet, but their logo was well represented all day long.  Darcy and Infinit Nutrition and Dan/Scott and Nineteen Wetsuits are all back home, but we could feel their energy.  Thanks to Eric & Team Louis Garneau,  George + Nick and Team Skechers,  Chuck & Team Computrainer,  Marc Roy + Team Sportstats for their time at the Team Sanders Party.  Photographer guru Delly Carr was in attendance and promises some great shots on Saturday as he will be on the lead motorcycle getting shots of the men's race.  Lionel & Erin and their families appreciated the great support of everyone and totally enjoyed the night. The Paradise Brewing Company was located just 20m from the Kona Swim Start and Finishing Line of Saturday's race.
 

EPIC SANDERS CELEBRATION PARTY LAST NIGHT
A casual TEAM SANDERS party is planned tonight for the Paradise Brewing Company on Ali Drive, just steps from the swim start and Kona Ironman finishing line.  Lionel's parents, fiance, sponsors and key supporters will all be getting together for a nice early-week celebration of his journey to Kona.  World famous Delly Carr, who has shot pictures for over 30 years in Kona of the very top Ironman Champions, is an invited guest at the party tonight.  Delly and Barrie Shepley have traveled for years together on the ITU circuit and he has followed Lionel's progression over the last 2 years.
 

LAVA MAGAZINE PICKS SANDERS AS ONE OF THEIR TOP 10 FAVOURITES FOR KONA
Lava Magazine has Lionel Sanders up with some major talent in their top picks.  See what they have to say and the other key men they believe will be vying for the win on Saturday here. 

 
SANDERS TOP 5 IN TRIATHLETE'S READER'S POLL
Triathlete Magazine let their readers pick their favourites.  Lionel is the only rookie in their top 10 and polled 5th place overall.

 Check out the list here.

SLOW TWITCH ATHLETES TO WATCH
Slow twitch has done an in depth article on the top athletes and Lionel Sanders is on their list. Take a read.   

DOCUMENTARY DAY WITH LIONEL
Matt, Graham and Greg will be following Lionel & getting some in depth interviews from him today.  The ROAD TO KONA Team have been following Lionel since last Nov. They have been to Windsor, Mt Tremblant,  Texas, Tucson and now are in Kona following the last days till Saturday.  The 12 month documentary is a first of its kind, following a rookie Ironman pro at his first Kona. 

IRONMAN HALL OF FAME SUPPER
Barrie and Caron Shepley have the great honour of being Lori Bowden's guests at the Hall of Fame supper later today.  Lori is a 2x Hawaii Ironman Champion who also had 5 other Kona podiums and 9 other Ironman wins, including a sub 9hr Ironman Austria.  Lori was a member of C3 back in the early 90s and was a regular training partner with Caron Shepley.  Joining Lori at the Hall of Fame induction is also Canadian Heather Fuhr. Heather has won the Hawaii Ironman and had 11 other Ironman wins.  With 12 Ironman Championships, Heather has the most Ironman wins of any Canadian. 

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