The Fastest Bikes in Kona
For the second year in a row, the Trek Speed Concept has been the first bike back into transition on the Men's side, underneath cycling powerhouse Chris Lieto. His teammate Julie Dibens had a fantastic ride aboard a nearly identical rig, blazing into T2 ahead of her competition and clocking the second-fastest bike split amont the women. (The fastest bike split belonged to Karin Thuerig, who set it aboard a custom BMC TT01.) A veteran of Xterra and 70.3 races, Dibens decided to make Kona her debut Iron-distance race. She put together a solid performance, leading with a sizable margin into T2, and running for 3rd place overall. Dibens and Lieto are on teammates on the Trek/K-Swiss triathlon team, and have been in contact throughout the year, sharing race stories and swapping advice.
Lieto is a veteran of the Ironman distance, and has refined his bike setup to an art. In recent years, he has been running a Bontrager aero bottle between his aerobars, attached via custom stem setups. He's also run a standard bottle cage beneath his saddle, pointed rearward, held in place by zip ties. Both of these bits were on his rig this year, and even made it onto teammate Julie Dibens' setup as well. Both are riding Trek's high-end 9-series Speed Concept, each with their own one-of-a-kind custom paint scheme.
Devil in the Details
From there, their rigs differ just a bit. Most notably, Lieto always races with his Spiuk Kronos aero helmet, a lid with little in the way of venting, but persumably very aerodynamic. Dibens, on the other hand, raced with a regular vented helmet from Lazer. While she usually wears an aero helmet from Giro, she opted for the cooler helmet, presumably hoping to stave off fatigue due to heat. She came to Kona on a training camp in July, and likely found she'd be happier with the cooler helmet than the aero one. And apparently it worked out just fine, as she still had the best ride of the day.
Further, the riders differed a little bit on their bottle setups. Lieto likes to run aero bottles on his frame, leaving any standard bottles off. We're not sure if he's using the bottle as a storage unit, but that seems likely. Dibens, on the other hand, stocked two standard bottles on her frame, and used the Speed Concept's Draft Box behind the seat tube for storage duties. Even on nearly-identical setups, these two champions have chosen highly personal differences which reflect their individual race preferences.