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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kona Day 2 - A History Lesson

Lava Rock!

Today was one of those days I thought would never end, nor did I really want it to end. 

We started with a bright an early 5am wake up for an early morning sunrise swim. Ben wanted to stay away from the ocean so we elected to swim at the Kona Aquatic Center (Ocean Pier swim tomorrow). A nice easy 1.5K of swimming with an awesome backdrop. Highlight of the swim was having a couple Euro's jump in the lane next to use in full skin suits with pull buoys between their legs....freakin' triathletes sometimes...
Original Finisher Trophy!

Then we took a quick drive down the famous Ali'i Drive (final 1/4 mile of the race) with a stop at Lava Java. For those not in on the triathlete world, Lava Java is the coffee shop of Seinfeld. We stuck around for our morning espresso's and breakfast. As soon as we were about to get up Tom Knoll got in line and we quickly pulled him into our group. What we got was a 30 minute history lesson on the original Ironman race, his story, and so much more  (Tom is quite the military serviceman). Did you know the original trophy's came from scrap medal on the Navy ship scrapyard? Tom shared all sorts of great stories with us. Unfortunately all the triathletes around and in line were too self involved talking about their 400 watt rides on the Queen K 4 days before the race to see what an Ironman legend was in front of them. Then TriBike Transport showed up and fronted the coffee bill for the next 2 hours which meant we stayed for another round of espresso and snag some great swag with a fun trivia session Talk about impeccable timing!

Original scoresheet and splits from 1978 inaugural race
We rallied back home to start our tribute to everyone back home, stay tuned... Soon after Lindsey and I made our most important purchase of the week, our Huffy MTB's for our TT up Palani on Sunday, forget that little world championship race Saturday, this is THE race to watch this week! We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon getting the essentials for the and booze. 

I can't imagine the pain and torture of the Energy Lab in the race
Ben wanted to get a run in the energy lab in so Alex and myself went out and ran the 4 mile out and back with him around 1:30 (about the time he will be running through on Saturday). For those of you that are unfamiliar about the "Energy Lab" it is nothing that the name implies. It's a 4 mile out and back that comes at about mile 16 of the course. It's hot, completely exposed to the lava fields, zero spectators, and it has a terrible slow rise back onto the Queen K highway for the final 10k home. It's where many Ironman dreams have died, lead changes, and many leaders of the race have blown up in the energy lab. Our run was hot but not terrible. Then again we only ran 4 miles with a brief and easy 1.5K swim in the morning. No 112 mile bike ride, or 16 mile run on exposed blacktop. Again as we drove out to the energy lab and back it was amazing to see how many athletes were saturating their energy BEFORE the race while riding all out on the Queen K. 

Muscle Milk house was pretty awesome!

Our big event for the evening was the Slowtwitch gathering. Basically what you do with this is take 400+ type A athletes and throw them into an oceanfront house, toss in a bunch of great raffle prizes, with a stunning sunset (see below picture) and set them loose! This is a great chance to meet triathletes from all around the world, mostly mainland USA athletes, share some good stories, and hear about all the races that you need to do. So Ironman Whistler is the new "must-do" race as it sounds from all reports that I heard. The big celebrity showing was Chrissie Wellington (Ironman female badass!) coming in for a nice surprise before the raffle drawings.

Our evening was capped off meeting some teammates (Sasha and Julia) who have also made the trek over the Pacific at a nice little oceanfront bar called Huggo's. Some great live music and drinks were a great way to end the evening. 

Tomorrow is another day closer to Saturday and is the biggest day of festivities before the race Saturday. The traditional "Underpants Run" will lead the day off followed by an ocean swim out to the Lava Java espresso bar, yes baristas will be pouring fresh Kona coffee to us in the bay! Most likely with another stop at Lava Java for a late breakfast. Athlete dinner is tomorrow night along with the WattieInk party. Porn and Brady I would love to attend on both of your behalf's. 

More to come from the Big Island of Kona tomorrow!
Unreal sunset view from the Slowtwitch Party!


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