Fresh out of testing a few prototype deeper section wheelsets at the wind tunnel in Germany, Luisa Grappone, Cheif Aerodynamicist, & Ken Rodriguez-Clisham, newly minted US Brand Manager, headed to the island of Hawai'i to get feedback from some of the fastest endurance athletes in the world. During our time in Kona, we were able to connect with athletes (both professional and amateur) to learn about their needs, in order to make sure that when we take our first step in the sport we can do it right and serve riders to the best of our ability.
Luisa & Ken arrived at the island with several prototypes of our new wheels and a goal to share the HUNT story with everyone and gauge how we can make improvements from the current market offerings. The kind geniuses at CeramicSpeed let us use their amazing space on the famous Ali'i Drive as home base for the week where we were able to connect with athletes and have meetings with journalists.
On Wednesday before the Big Dance, we were introduced to a Brazilian Professional Triathlete, Frank Silvestrin, by our friends at CeramicSpeed. He'd been on a training ride that morning when his wheels failed on him. Although we wanted to put him on the new wheels, we decided we didn’t want the first real-life testing to be at the Kona Ironman World Champs. We sorted him out with a set of the 50 Carbon Aero Wide wheelset and with quick help from the team at CeramicSpeed we got him ready to rock.
Frank Silvestrin, is a rather new name to the professional field who made his Ironman debut as Professional at Ironman Brazil where he came in 3rd place rounding out the podium with legends in the sport, American Andy Potts & British William Clarke taking first and second, securing his ticket to Kona.
All morning we patiently watched Frank as he sailed through the swim coming out a few minutes behind the first group of elite men. Once he hit Queen K Highway he was sailing! The wind conditions weren’t terrible Saturday morning but enough so that Frank told us he was happy he didn’t have anything deeper than the 50CWA mounted. Frank flew through the 112-mile bike course with an impressive time of 4:41:52. We quickly ran out to Ali’i Drive to cheer him on as he hit the run course and catching him on mile 2 & 6 he was moving! With a smile on his face every time we saw him he was able to bust out a sub-3-hour marathon to round out a very stellar day placing 30th with a time of 8:37:06!
We were able to catch up with Frank after the race and although he’d raced one of the hardest races in his life he had a huge smile on his face and thanked us for being there for him and helping him achieve this massive event. We’re all still buzzing for not only having a set fo wheels be raced at Kona but to have such a genuine person like Frank represent the team at HUNT in such a great way. We look forward to coming out again next year with hopefully a bigger presence and more amazing people like Frank to support!