Friday, September 20, 2019

Kona Profiles #5: Gentry Yost, Still Hustlin!

The Ironman World Championships ("Kona") will be here before we know it, taking place Oct. 12th. As you know, it's incredibly competitive to qualify and a major accomplishment to do so. As we've done the last 3 years now, we'll be catching up with our local Cinderellas... getting to know them better as a tri community and cheering them on as they get ready for the ball!

Laura and Gentry Yost live in Pocatello, but Utah and Idaho triathletes are increasingly getting to know each other and we want to give credit where credit is due! First up was Laura, and now it's Gentry's turn.

Name:     Gentry Yost

Age Group:    M4044 when qualified, now M4549

Qualified:     Ironman Arizona - Nov. 2018

Qualifying AG Place & Time:   3rd   9:29:05

Splits:     Swim 1:08  Bike 4:41  Run 3:32

Check out Gentry's Kona Profile from last year for more background info.

Why did you choose Ironman Arizona as your Kona qualifying race last year, and what were your thoughts on the venue & race in general?

For quite a while Laura and I had been wanting to race Arizona. We were wondering if we were getting any faster than when we did our first Ironmans there in 2011. We had signed up for it before we knew that we had qualified for Kona last year. It was an experiment to do it right after Kona, but it worked out well with Wes at BAM helping us keep our fitness just right.

I felt very strong in AZ and had my best race to date. Went about 1 hour and 45 minutes faster than 2011. Being my first Ironman site, AZ will always have a special place in my heart, it's a great place to do a first Ironman, and a great place to come back to and push yourself at. We are signed up there again after Kona this year.

IM Arizona has a reputation as being an "easy Ironman"... agree/disagree, and what advice would you have for any locals racing there this year?

If there is such a thing as an "easy" ironman, than I agree that AZ is it. But it can be quite challenging if you are going to push yourself to your limit. If you are going for a good AG placing (Kona qualification), you can count of some very fast competition.

The lack of hills can actually make the bike hard for those of us who train with lots of elevation change. I would recommend people training for it, find some very flat sections to train on where they can practice staying in aero for hours on end. Every time you come out of aero on a course like AZ, you are losing time to competitors.

IM Arizona M4044 - click on to see more clearly

How many spots were awarded for your age group at Arizona, and how aware of your position were you throughout the day? Did you have to dig extra deep to hold your KQ spot or was there enough cushion to be relatively comfortable? When did you know you for sure had it in the bag?

I started the race thinking my AG had 4 slots. I was running solidly in 3rd and was getting splits from Jorge throughout the run. I was there to see if I could put together my best IM run, so I never slowed.

Knowing that I was running with a Kona qualification "in the bag" was pretty fun. I was looking forward to not having to go through the "praying" for a roll down like I'd had to rely on in Boulder earlier in the year.

What races have you done this year and how has your training gone?

Local Bengal Tri sprint, East Canyon Olympic, Coeur d'Alene 70.3, and the Brineman Half. Training is good, but difficult currently. Feeling like I am making improvements in my fitness in all three disciplines, but we will see in Kona.

I've had a couple set backs on the run training with a knee injury skiing this winter and a broken toe trailing run in May, but those are behind me now, and things are progressing again.

Qualifying last November makes for a long wait for Kona... have you enjoyed having the extra time to think and get excited about it or do you prefer a shorter time frame like you had last year with Boulder (qualifying in June)?

Beggars can't be choosers!!! Just ecstatic that I qualified again!!! It has been cool knowing all year that I am going back for sure. It is also fun for Laura and I to know that we are both doing it again.

Do you feel more pressure for the KQ attempt Ironman or the actual IM World Champs race?

Pressure to qualify is more intense than pressure to do well in Kona for me. There is so much invested in the qualifying attempt and the let down if you are unsuccessful is difficult to handle, but that's what makes the qualifying so gratifying. I will never take a qualification for granted!!!! There are too many fit men my age!!!

You went sub-10 hours at Kona last year... what are your goals for this year?

I would like to see if I can swim a little faster, and I have to run faster. Last year's run experience was eye opening, it was so hard out there in the heat by myself in the Energy Lab. I'd like to think I'll be mentally tougher this year and improve my run split.

I know I can't count on a tail wind all day, like last year, on the bike. I'm planning on a slower bike split this year, but still hoping to break 10 hrs. It would be nice to break the top 100 in my age group, something I didn't do last year.

Kona 2018 - click on to see more clearly

What, if anything, do you plan to do differently this go around at Kona vs. last year (pre-race, race day, etc)?

I'll continue to rely on Wes for taper and pre race fine tuning. Lots of ramen noodles race morning and then focus on calories and electrolyte management throughout the day. Not much changes planned from last year, but I plan on being mentally tougher out on the run course.

Will you be gunning for Kona again in 2020, and where do you hope to qualify? What are your thoughts on the new St. George race/course?

IM distance triathlons continue to be what Laura and I enjoy doing right now and Kona is the pinnacle, so yeah I will keep trying to qualify. We are signed up for AZ again as that worked well for us last year. If I qualify again there, that would be great, but we will also be doing Ironman St George, so it can be attempt number two if needed.

I have a couple friends, here in Pocatello, who have done the full and I love hearing about that race. I know the course will be different, but it will be challenging none the less and should be a good test of fitness.

We're getting a friendly competition going for St. George with teams based on geography... will you be repping an Idaho team, and who else would be on that squad with you?  (people of all abilities, not just elites - anyone wanting to rep the North!)

I'm always up for a competition. The Idaho contingent is getting stronger and stronger with the addition of Ali and Jorge!!

EDITOR'S NOTE: For our fun St. George team competition, anyone and everyone is welcome to participate. It will work like a cross country meet, so the elite elite athletes will "score" for their teams, whereas us mortals will participate for fun and increased camaraderie/inspiration leading up to race day. 

The teams are expected to break down something like this:

  • "The North" (Idaho and/or separate Northern UT team?)
  • Davis County
  • SLC West (of I-15)
  • SLC East
  • Wasatch Back
  • Utah County
  • "The South" (St. George/So. UT)
  • Possibly others as well




Below are links to all the races in the 2019 Championship Series:

Below are links to all Challenger Races:

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