The Triathlon Optimum Percentage Strategy (TOPS)
offers the optimal balance between swim, bike and run that minimizes breakdown at any point in the race while increasing likelihood of the best possible performance.
First, we’ll admit many effective training and racing variables exist already to make any one of top pros at Kona the winner. What variables?
The greatest triathletes in the world that come to Kona with visions of victory have dedicated unprecedented hours to training, intense guidance of top coaches, bring with them the highest tech swim, bike and run racing gear, a drilled-down nutrition plan, have spent time training at altitude, racing their peers, analyzing competitors’ performances at other races, and done everything they can to find an edge to
THE PATH TO IDENTIFYING TOPS, A TRIATHLETES’ WINNING EDGE
execute at just the right time.
They are laser focused on numbers, numbers, numbers. Distance, sets, repeats, bricks, session length, timing. And, finally, they are in supremely outstanding shape. I’d say that at least five male and five female athletes arrive in Kona with a strong chance to win.
So what new strategy can make the difference on race day? That’s where TOPS comes in.
“THEY ARE LASER FOCUSED ON NUMBERS, NUMBERS, NUMBERS.
DISTANCE, SETS, REPEATS, BRICKS, SESSION LENGTH, TIMING.”
“MANY OF THE BLAZINGLY IMPRESSIVE CYCLISTS GOT ON TO THE RUN COURSE WITH LESS THAN STELLAR FORM.”
When I began following triathlon, and Kona in particular, 20 years ago, it seemed that winning the bike leg – crushing it, actually – was a strategy pursued by many of the first athletes out of the water. Thomas Hellriegel and Jurgen Zack were examples of triathletes renowned for their prowess on the bike. They sure made an impression on TV audiences and cyclists who decided chasing them in hot pursuit was the appropriate. It was if there was an award for arriving fastest into T2.
Guess what? Many of the blazingly impressive cyclists got on to the run course with less than stellar form. Sure they would be in the lead, but the strategy for them at that time was: hold off the other guys as long as possible.
Peter Reid racing in Kona 2005