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Friday, October 11, 2013

Kona Day 4 - Spectating Bike Check-In

As I am writing this we are about 10 hours from the start of the 2013 Ironman World Championships. This race is a dream come true for many, years of hard work will soon be rewarded with a race of a lifetime.

This morning was another typical 5am wake up call in the house, its really hard to sleep in when you are in Hawaii. We made an early morning swim down at the pier. Today we were able to get in early enough for a stop at the "Coffess of Hawaii" coffee boat. Thank god for coffee, I probably swam my fastest 500 meter OWS ever today. The coffee fueled JB and myself enough to get in a solid 2k swim in the ocean. This was my first real ocean swim and I felt all the terrors that go with it. At one point I stopped us, looked at John, and admitted my fear of a shark coming out of the ocean floor and eating my leg. Thankfully JB being himself assured me a swift punch to the shark's face would stun him enough for me to get away. In all seriousness swimming in the ocean gave me a feeling of complete vulnerability. It's an eerie feeling that is hard to describe, but it's there and its real. We finished our ocean swim and cleaned up on the pier. Crazy to see all the legends of the sport right in front of you. Today's spotting was Siri Lindley who was right next to use (might actually coach the top 5 women tomorrow).

We headed off for a quick trip to the expo. If you are ever in Hawaii hit the expo on the last day, you will get everything and anything tossed at you for the modest price of $0.00. My only expenditure was to World Bicycle Relief with my donation that took them over $95,000 for their Kona campaign (donation goal: $100k!). The expo really is a go all out experience. Most retailers are finding any way that they can to have all the athletes wear their gear for the big dance. For example, Zipp was offering all athletes to wear their visor, the reward? One athletes photo with the visor on race day would be selected and they would receive a free Zipp 404 combo. Many other retailers had similar offers, and some would take your old gear (hoping to take out competitors) in exchange for their gear with a massive discount, see B70's speed suit option. While at the Zoot tent this happened....
Simply Awesome!

After a quick lunch at the house and to make sure Ben and Carrie were in good hands for their final preparations, Lindsey and I took ourselves down to the bike check-in for some bike nerd fun. This also gave us a chance to test out our sweet rides for tomorrow and of course our Palani Hill Huffy MTB TT. In the span of 10 minutes my handlebars dropped, brakes failed, shifters broke, and chain popped off. This made the trip to the Argon tent quite the adventure. Within 5 minutes my bike was working almost good enough to race tomorrow, thanks much to the Argon 18 crew! We took ourselves to a small little bar that sits right by bike check-in, grabbed second floor seats with a perfect view for all 1800 athletes to check in their bikes.
What we didn't expect was....the friendly gathering spot we created. We met a couple that came from Cairns, Australia to watch some club friends race. When your with Aussies, buckle up for a good conversation with great accents! Our deck view gave us the chance to see everyone check their bike in, this was now a spectator sport for us with drinks in hand (the perks of not racing!). We had multiple pro sightings: Potts, Faris, Fettell, Carfrae, Steffen, Cave, Tollakson, Crowie, TO, and multiple others. We also had a birds eye view for our friends to check in. Soon we had company with Marky V, his girlfriend, and WattieInk extraordinaire Karin Langer. Drinks were pilling up as fast as bikes were checking into transition. Soon enough hometown friends joined in as well. Awesome views, good friends, drinks, and drooling over bikes meant life was good.

After bike check-in we walked across the alley for dinner at the steakhouse next door, though I do not believe any of us ate steak we all had a great dinner. We were treated to another great Hawaiian sunset, though it was mostly blocked by the tree and finish line setup. We also had a projection of previous Ironman Hawaii highlights shown across the street against the wall of the King Kam hotel.

The island is quite tonight, the energy is in a momentarily dull, and everything in Kona is going to come alive in about 8 hours. Looking forward to watching my friends compete in a race they have been dreaming about forever, and to watch the sports elites perform on the highest platform, Goodnight!


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