Rudy Project North America, exclusive distributors of Italian-made sunglasses and aero/TT helmets, celebrated the beginning of triathlon season with athletes Ben Kanute (USA) and Mel Hauschildt (AUS) who both took the top podium step at IRONMAN 70.3 Texas this weekend. Both professional triathletes won hard fought battles during an unseasonably cold day, sporting Rudy Project’s award-winning aero helmets and performance sunglasses.
Kanute set the pace early, taking a 30+ second lead on the rest of the field coming out of the swim, and held the lead on the bike in his Wing57 aero helmet, complete with an eye catching Multilaser Orange shield. He was briefly overtaken by Andrew Starykowicz on the run, but came back after Mile 4 to grow a 33 second lead into a margin of 1 minute and 56 seconds at the finish, maintaining his trademark driving pace on the run. The American took the tape with a triumphant smile, wearing his fire red Tralyx XL frame with a Multilaser Blue lens, ideal for maintaining clarity and contrast during the race’s cloudy and damp conditions. “It’s been a great start to the season,” said Kanute in a post-race Instagram post. “I look forward to keeping the momentum rolling!”
On the women’s side, Mel Hauschildt of Australia came out of the water sixth and roared forward into a headwind on the bike to position herself second going into T2. Hauschildt was eye-searingly bright on the course, her neon kit replete with a fluo yellow Boost 01 road aero helmet that allowed her to tuck into her aero bars and blast the competition. Hauschildt set her sights on lead runner Kimberly Morrison and overtook her on Mile 7, finishing with a women’s best 1:18:07 run split.
Her run was all the more impressive given the low temperatures; Hauschildt confessed the cold made T2 challenging: “My fingers wouldn’t work... The first 3km I tucked in behind [Heather Wurtele] trying to thaw out. I didn’t know if I had rocks in my shoes or it was just my numb feet.” Her face said it all as she lifted the tape over her head at the finish line, grinning around her bright green, special edition Tralyx frames. “Thank you, Galveston, for a race I’ll never forget.” Rudy Project would also like to congratulate pro Jodie Robertson, who came in fifth with a total time of 04:14:58 at IRONMAN 70.3 Texas, wearing her Wing57 and Tralyx combo.
In warmer climes, pro triathlete Heather Jackson kicked off her season with a solid fourth place finish at IRONMAN Oceanside 70.3. Wearing her gold Tralyx and trademark grin, Jackson came down the run course smiling and high-fiving fans to finish with a time of 04:23:53. “I love racing this course,” said Jackson on social media afterward. “More motivated than ever for the next one!”
Jackson is coming into the 2018 season after a fourth place finish at Kona, despite beating her 2016 third place time by more than nine minutes – an accomplishment that even she admits is bittersweet. While there was a tinge of disappointment, Jackson is more motivated than ever this season to pursue becoming Ironman world champion. “I’m much more focused and motivated coming into this year,” she says. “It’s not like the motivation wasn’t there the last couple of years, but this year feels different. We’re way ahead of where we were at this point last year.” For Oceanside, Heather raced hard against what was probably one of the most competitive 70.3 start lists of the season – and her sights are set on the big prize at the end of the season. Even before the race, Heather remarked, “Every race is a good check to see where your fitness is at, but we never lose sight of the big goal. This is just the first of many checkpoints leading up to Kona… Regardless of what happens this weekend, we both know the work we still have to do to get to where we want to be in October.”