Kona baby – T minus 5 days.
There are 2 noticeable changes this year. Firstly, how damned expensive everything is, getting here wasn’t cheap but eating, shopping and just in general with our exchange rate its a bit bonkers, so we are on dust and dripping when we get home :-).
Secondly, the amount of people already on the island, 2012 it didn’t get this busy until the Wednesday of race week but the place is already rammed. Ali’i drive is packed, the pier is packed, the restaurants are packed, it makes for a few sensible choices around food and times to get into town but thankfully we are all here for one thing and seem to be moving in the same direction which helps the karma for the island and the upcoming weekend.
We have been here for 2 1/2 days now and only really coming to terms with the change in time zones as its been pretty tiring travelling this far with the little ones. Thankfully they have flipped their clocks today so we had a bit more sleep last night.
Ali’i Drive is the famous road along the coast running south from the pier, its probably quite quiet 11 months of the year but in the build to the worlds championships it comes alive with athletes strutting their stuff, filling both sides of the road morning, noon and evening. If you need inspiration to get out and train you really shouldn’t be here but it really does inspire with all types of athletes from all over the world adding their finishing touches to their training in race week, and believe me, some blowing their chances on race day by doing waaaaay too much !
The thing that IRONMAN are good with is merchandise, and being the 40th anniversary they really have gone overboard this year, there are 3 expos, they have different themes. The floral theme celebrates with colour and beautiful images, the retro throws back to the origins of the sport and the final one, tribal brings the Hawaiian images to the fore. All 3 will get a serious visit over the next few days but I am under strict orders to have Kelly with me 🙂
This morning was the first time I’ve ridden the bike since we arrived, packing up the bike took some doing and most grateful for help by one of TTT‘s bike fitters Gavin, it went back together slowly and carefully but instructions were spot on, cheers mate.
The road out on the Queen K highway is pretty desolate, lots of open views, lava everywhere from previous eruptions, long rolling hills and plenty of wind to keep you honest, on the way out today I was hitting 25-30mph with not much effort on some parts knowing full well that the turn to home would yield the head wind I was now using to push me towards Hawi. With the volcano on one side and the sea on the other the views are spectacular but on race day it will be head down and work hard.
For someone like me who loves the sport, I’ve immersed myself in the history for years, the athletes past and present, the stories of endurance and suffering from age groupers to pros and just the inspiring stories from years past. Whats different about ironman is that you can walk around town and bump into these legends and current pros and its a normal thing and pretty cool. They are very approachable and mostly here to either race, commentate on the race or are coaching pro athletes. Its also a chance for brands to showcase their athletes with signings and giveaways. This year is obviously a bit special being the 40th anniversary.
So far, Bob Babbitt, Dave Scott, Lionel Sanders and Ken Glah have all sought me out to get my view on the race 🙂 Well, actually, they have been spotted running away from me while screaming ‘stalker !!!’
And finally, there is always talk of what the race weather will bring, above you can see what this morning had in store, lovely sunshine and 85-90 deg around 10am. Right now, its 3pm and this is the weather, not sure which I would prefer ………. but whatever happens come Saturday, we will be ready.