Feels appropriate to put down a few words at this juncture. Can’t put my finger on why and can’t really put my finger on what it is I want to say or indeed that it’ll be any different to anything several thousand other people have blogged about this place probably far more eloquently than I can. I’m not special in anyway. Regular kinda guy. Started running, crossed over to Tri and then heard of Kona and wanted a slice of the action. Worked hard (see previous blogs for details) and got here. Big deal. Describes a sizeable chunk of the field every single year. Not not normal.
The first thing that hit me was this is the Tuesday before the race on Saturday and there are more people running up and down Alii Drive than there were the day before Frankfurt in July by a factor of several. The number of people here – racing or not – is nuts. The second thing that hits you is WTF are 90% of them doing running at 6mm pace. Way to dick measure that…I’ve seen the run splits here and they don’t compute with a field of age groupers whose easy or even steady running is anywhere near that number…especially in race week.
Then as I alluded to in my prologue there’s a lot of ‘names’ in town. And as it seems to be the law that you swim at Dig Me, run on Alii and ride the Queen K you’re pretty likely to see a few. Gary saw Crowie and several others this morning before I arrived at Dig Me at 630. Then on the 4mile drive back to the condo I saw Marinda Carefrae out biking and wondered who it was just behind her…wasshisname…mmm….oh yeah that Frederick van Lierde chap. Just got over the novelty of that when I see a convertible car with a guy stood up holding a big video camera. He’s filming someone running. You know. Big lad. Did okay in a little race in China once. Ummm…oh yeah that’s it Jan Frodeno. That was all in about 300 yards. The number of other ‘celebrity’ spots is off the charts. As expected but still pretty surreal. There are even idiots going around trying to get photos taken with some of them. Tossers.
The other thing that’s strange is everyone wants to talk about the course. Or should that be curse? Never heard anything like it. Okay I know this place is special as it’s the home of IM and the world championships but it’s just tarmac like every other bloody course isn’t it? (I reserve the right to edit this bit anytime from Sunday onwards!) So you put your head down, arse up and pedal at or around the right intensity and wait for T2 to arrive…unless you’re upfront rolling the dice a little maybe. Then you put you trainers on batten down the hatches and wait for it to not be a lot of fun anymore. One foot in front of the other at about the right intensity….unless you rolled the dice upfront earlier. Yeah it’s hot and maybe a bit windy but it’s still a test of patience, endurance and situation management as far as I can tell just like any other race. I’ll happily eat my words if I’m wrong but if I blow up that’s more than likely to do with the eyes being bigger than the engine than the course.
Couple of things stuck out today – Wednesday. One the coffee boat is just that. A boat that does coffee. Nothing more and nothing less. A few people are saying what did you expect? Well with the amount of people who talk about it and ask if you’ve been to the boat (yes David Rowe I’m talking about you) I probably expected something more than a boat that gives out coffee. It was pretty underwhelming. To think Gary and I were bummed (don’t worry UK readers that’s me using Americanish) that it we’d literally missed the boat on Tuesday. No dancing girls, no pumping music, no Mark and Dave handing out choco-mocco-chinos. Just a boat that’s just a little annoyingly high to hold onto comfortably and a small slug of (if coffee snob Rob Hill is to be believed) not that great coffee. I’m sure that won’t stop Johnbo talkng up his sponsors on the podcast ;o)
The other thing was a ride. I was hoping for better than yesterday’s solo, three puncture and subsequent lift home off a couple of randoms ride. So there was a lot of room for improvement. Gary and I finally got to meet our coach Scott ‘The Animal’ DeFilippis for the first time. Gary after around 4years of a coaching relationship culminating in Kona (although he qualified over a year ago and was 200yards from doing so back in 2012) and I’d fortunately purchased the speedy boarders pass and consequently Scott’s only had to endure my ‘humorous’ banter for a year. Scott also has another athlete here who is likely to finish well over an hour before Gary and I – the Animal must have something. We were off to the Queen K (obviously) to do some training and chew some fat. Sweet. So here’s how mad this place is. After a few miles (on a boring highway – regardless of what anyone tells you) Gary and I picked up the pace a notch or two – although we were still definitely still in our recovery zone. We then went past Tom Lowe (in fact we never even saw him Scott pointed it out), we then dropped Scott (he’s claiming he slowed to speak to Tom Lowe – for the purposes of my memory bank and this blog it’s much better that he didn’t) and then a mile or so later we went past Pete Jacobs like he’d shed his chain. It won’t surprise you to know we were giggling like a couple of school girls both at our awesomeness and the fact that two of the world’s greatest triathletes (that’s Tom and Pete not Gary and I) were training several notches down from a couple of UK knobbers despite their notches being a lot more impressive than ours will ever be. That sums up how mad this place is compared to anywhere else I’ve been. This place has been to the Ironman distillery for over 35 years and it shows.
In other news Mark ‘The Curly Freight Train’ Pietrofesa took out the IMTALKwetsuit aquathon and was really peeved to see a camera there to record the moment. I’m not sure either Petro or Bevan even saw the camera really – couple of shrinking violets them two. I love the fact this place is so mad Eneko Lanos saw it in progress and maybe thought it was for real.
Eneko Llanos @enekollanos
I’ve seen people running on Alii Drive with their wetsuit on, definitely this is getting out of control…
So there you go another WTFTP blog from a guy (or gal) in Kona. It’s different to anything else you’ve experienced but the same as everyone else has. Pretty much captured that in this piece which kind of means it was in fact inappropriate to put down a few words at this juncture. At least it didn’t descend into a blow by blow account of the registration process. Be thankful for small mercies.