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Young: Bacon boom at Ironman World Championship

Posted October 08, 2014

Photo ofYoung: Bacon boom at Ironman World Championshipby Tender Belly
By Bob Young Who says you can't, literally pig out, and go fast? Ben Hoffman, a professional triathlete who trains in Tucson and Boulder and is entered in this weekend's Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, has the usual array of sponsors. A bike company, Specialized. Check. An endurance apparel company, Zoot. Check The maker of those tasty white-chocolate-macadamia-nut bricks from heaven, Clif Bar. Check. A pork producer. Che. . . Wait, what? Yep, Hoffman is sponsored by Tender-Belly, a Denver company that bills itself as "a purveyor of all-natural heritage breed pork products." Hey, whatever it takes to swim 2.4 miles in the ocean, race a bike 112 miles and then run a marathon through the crucible of Kona's lava fields. But bacon? Ham? Pork chops? That will give you a tender belly alright. Look, there is no denying that few things on earth are better than a slice of bacon -- other than several slices of bacon. But these pro triathletes, even those who aren't vegans or vegetarians, are pretty picky about what they eat. Or so we thought. "A huge part of my job is fueling during training, as well as during recovery periods – and the bacon and pork products Tender Belly produces is good, clean eating," Hoffman said in a news release from Tender-Belly. Turns out that while Hoffman is clearly not a vegetarian, the piggies evidently are. The company said "the animals are fed a 100-percent vegetarian diet with no rendered animal byproducts, antibiotics or hormones and live with plenty of space to roam." So that's nice. Maybe Hoffman is onto something with this bacon boom. He has won four full Ironman-distance races since 2010 and finished 15th at Kona last year, his best finish at the World Championship. So, he's sizzling.
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