Last week, Joe Skipper signed on with Recon Instruments, dyed his hair pink, and finished second at Ironman New Zealand. I spoke with Joe on a successful week, his peanut butter love, and what's up with all the pink, and his Recon Jet as he starts prepping for Challenge Roth.
Slowtwitch: Congratulations on your podium at Ironman New Zealand. Tell us about it.
Joe Skipper: I had a good race, especially considering my build up leading into it. On December 30th I broke and ruptured my collarbone so the preparation wasn't ideal. I got out of the water in a group around 53 minutes, a good 5 minutes off the chase group so had a lot of work to do. I just rode my own pace and then once onto the run I knew the guys in front of me would fade as they were all chasing the win. Unfortunately for me Cameron Brown was just too strong on the day.
Slowtwitch: Tell us about the pre-race haircut for Ironman NZ. Will we see something similar for Challenge Roth?
Skipper: It was just a spur of the moment thing really. My aunt came up with the idea and I thought it would be a bit of a laugh! I reckon I'll definitely do something for Roth!
Slowtwitch: I see you also signed on with Recon Instruments. How did that partnership get started?
Skipper: I met Recon in Kona and tried them out there and really liked them. I use the Jet for my bike training and a lot of my running. It's great on the bike, especially when you're doing time trials, as you don't have to worry about moving your head to see your power data, cadence, and speed, etc.
Slowtwitch: What are the benefits and limitations of the Jet? So far? What works beyond belief, you're over the moon, what features or upgrades are you tapping your foot and waiting for?
Skipper: The benefits are that it's great when you are riding and you want to see your power data, speed, etc. without breaking aero position. The limitations I would say are probably the weight when you are running.
Slowtwitch:) Do you use the Jet more for running or cycling? What features do you find yourself using the most? What screens and metrics do you look at most often?
Skipper: I use the Jet more for cycling. I connect it to my power meter and HRM and use the custom dashboards to see my watts, heart rate, time, etc.
Slowtwitch: What do you rely on besides the Jet that the Jet would or could do? For example, do you use a bicycle head unit for cadence or power even though the Jet could be used for that?
Skipper: I use a watch in triathlons as I can use it for the swim, bike, and run. It would be great if Recon could do something for swimming in the future, like some goggles where you can see laps, time, etc. I know that's where the initial idea came from, the pool.
Slowtwitch: You have had quite a few podiums the past two years, yet you considered giving up on triathlon in 2013?
Skipper: Yeah, I've had quite a few podiums the last couple years which is great, but if I am honest I hate always being the bridesmaid. It was actually 2015, I would have probably carried on but I took it less seriously as I love the training and competing but it was just due to a lack of finances. If it hadn't been for my mum and dad helping me out then there's no way I would have been where I am now.
Slowtwitch: If you had quit triathlon, what would you be doing today?
Skipper: I honestly have no idea. I hear a dustbin man is a good job, as you're always outside in the sun.
Slowtwitch: You have one of the fastest Ironman bike splits and the course record for Ironman Texas, can you tell us about your bike and gear?
Skipper: I ride a Boardman TTE, Rotor In-power power meter, Rotor cranks with 56-42 chain rings, Alto Cycling wheels, and an Endura Tri Skinsuit. I know everyone always talks about this, but I'm always looking for the fastest gear. I believe in all the products I'm using. For me the passion is in going as fast as possible and winning the biggest races, not making a quick few quid, but sacrificing speed.
Slowtwitch: You had a solid performance at Kona in 2015. What is your strategy this year to improve upon your 13th place finish?
Skipper: Get faster in the swim, bike, and run, and then simply just go balls deep on race day. I loved that race this year, it's just hard and really does bring out the best in you. If it's not as hot as last year then that will already be a good few minutes I'll save just like that.
Slowtwitch: Ok, now for the tough questions. Smooth or chunky peanut butter?
Skipper: Absolutely has to be chunky!
Slowtwitch: And is there a story behind the pink kit and gear?
Skipper: My first sponsor Mail Big File said they would pay for my expenses to go to races if I wore a pink kit, as that's their company colour. This was back in 2012, and I said, “yeah definitely”, so they have been with me ever since and I've just embraced the pink. I quite like it as it sticks out and it's good for spectators as they know who the guy in the pink is. The pink hair was definitely a winner though as the amount of support I got on Saturday was incredible!
Slowtwitch: If people want to follow your training and racing, where is the best place?
Skipper: If people want to follow me you can follow me on the following: Strava, Recon Engage, Facebook: either joe skipper or my athlete page joe skipper triathlete, and my website.