Friday, November 1, 2013

From Kona With Love: New York Triathlete’s Dream Comes Full Circle

Story By Max Almenas     Photos courtesy of Paul Dauber and Cervélo

Triathlete Paul Dauber is experiencing fatigue and constant hunger after completing the GoPro Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii October 12, arguably the most challenging one-day endurance event on the planet.

While the Kona event is virtually the same distance as other Ironman races, 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a full 26.2-mile marathon, the Hawaiian version comes packed with its own set of challenges including an emotionally-charged mass swim start with approximately 2,000 triathletes, intense trade winds across the Hawaiian lava desert in the bike segment, and blistering heat and humidity during the run.  

“I can eat all day and nothing happens,” said Dauber. “It’s hilarious. But I’m pleased with the whole thing and how it all turned out. Tired, but happy.”

Dauber, who qualified for Kona after a strong finish at Ironman Mont-Tremblant this summer, admits he went a little too hard on the bike segment, and had a little less “fuel” than he would have liked for the marathon segment.

This was not Dauber’s first trip to Kona. Nine years ago during his honeymoon, Dauber, still a newbie to the sport, had the New York City Triathlon and a half Ironman in Rhode Island checked off. But after witnessing the “great race” he was forever hooked.   

“I had no aspiration at that point until I saw the start line to think about the possibility of ever getting to Kona,” Dauber said. “It never really crossed my mind that someday I could actually have the opportunity to race Kona.”

Transitioning From Ironman Distance to Kona

Dauber, who turned 50 during Ironman Mont-Tremblant, came into the sport as a runner with ankle issues and a friend recommended he purchase a bike to minimize impact during workouts. Shortly after purchasing a road bike, he completed several triathlons and within a few years, five Ironman races.

Dauber believes the trick to finishing well in an Ironman is recognizing the race is not made up of three separate components but one entire experience requiring the greatest emphasis on the bike segment.

“If you’re going to run a marathon after the bike, you have to be so strong on the bike, that the run training doesn’t mater as much,” Dauber explained. “So I spent the bulk of my time training on the bike, getting lost somewhere near Bear Mountain, spending a lot of time on Route 9W, working on the hills and doing some interval training on the flats and going fast.”

“And of course, I was thrilled to buy a new Cervélo P5 at Strictly Bicycles and started riding from the time I knew I was going from Mont-Tremblant to Kona,” Dauber said. “So I spend a lot of time on the bike. That’s probably the most important thing because if you’re not strong off the bike, the rest of the Ironman doesn’t come through so well.”

Making Connections With Local Bike Shop

While Dauber trained for Ironman Mont-Tremblant, he was also transitioning from a home in Chappaqua New York to his new residence in Englewood, New Jersey. When he decided it was time for a new bike, he visited Strictly Bicycles.         

Before the Cervélo P5, Dauber trained on the Scott Plasma 3 Premium, a triathlon bike that set a new world record during the 2011 Ironman championship in Kona, packaged with 11-speed Shimano Durace components.

While he enjoyed the bike, it was a little long for him due to his short torso, and with 35-inch inseam and long legs, he needed a taller yet shorter frame.

“I was interested in going back to Cervélo. My first tri bike was a Cervélo P2 carbon, so I knew the fitting on the P5 was a little bit less aggressive than the old P3s,” Dauber explained. “When I came in [to Strictly Bicycles] to meet with Nelson, get fit, and work with Gato [de Leon, mechanic], it was a no-brainer for me.”

After purchasing the P5, Dauber realized he was more comfortable and could remain in the aero position longer. Now he is generating more power and cycling faster.

According to Cervélo, the P5 landed seven Ironman wins within the first six months of launch with outrageous records in the bike split. Other milestones include David Zabriskie’s win in the U.S. Time Trial Championship, Caroline ”Xena” Steffen’s first place finish in the 2012 Ironman European Championship, and Ryder Hesjedal’s win at the 2012 Giro d’Italia.


“And I’m proud to say that my bike split in Kona was in the range of 5:25, so I averaged close to 21-miles per hour over the whole course, which can be windy with both cross and head winds,” Dauber added. “The bike made a big difference for me, plus I like it, it looks cool, it makes me faster. I’m so glad I made the switch.”

If you're interested in the P5 or any of our triathlon/time trial bikes, email or call Max at 201-944-7074.

You can also listen to the full interview at our new podcast station: Strictly Bicycles Cyclecast


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