Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Aloha Kona!

My journey to Kona started Sunday in Toronto when I took off at 12:40pm. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a VERY LONG travel day. I managed to get 2 movies in over the 5.25 hour flight to Los Angeles. I watched the new Spiderman (liked it) and Rock of Ages (brutal).

Once I started seeing mountains I knew we were close. I landed in LA at 2:55 California time. Now LAX has 8 terminals. I landed and was dropped off at Terminal 2. My next flight was at Terminal 6. I had to catch a shuttle to Terminal 6, no big deal. I then had to go through security again at Terminal 6, no big deal. Our 5:04 departure was about to become a very big deal. Our airplane (United) had a mechanical - it must have been pretty significant as they took it to the "shop". Unfortunately there was no other plane readily available. In fact we had to wait for the plane that took off a couple hours earlier to go to Hawaii, unload, then come back to pick us up. Now from LA to Kona is over 5 hours so do the math. Our 5pm flight did not leave til 11:00pm that night or 5am Ontario time! We did eventually make it to Kona but by that time the car rental agencies were closed so we made the 30 mile cab ride to the hotel and got into the room at 3:15am Hawaii time or 9:15am Ontario time - a whopping 20 hour travel day, Booyah!!

I can't complain, obviously, cause this was my view the next morning from the balcony of the Hilton. Palm trees, fairways and the Pacific. Since my coworker and I did not have our car yet we had to cab back to the Kona airport ($70 each way). We retrieved a car and stopped by Kona to check out the scene. On the way we saw several pros out riding: and some in town.

Hilary Biscay was in town.

Here's Alii drive as it curves to the finish line.

Kailua Bay and Dig Me Beach - the site of the swim start.

Saw 4-time IM Champ Chrissie Wellington - crazy skinny!

Julie Dibens. Not racing this year to surgery on her foot. If she gets it fixed she will probably win next year.

Former 2-time IM Champ Normann Stadler

 Caroline Steffen - a strong possibility of winning this year.
I'm staying about 30 miles down the Queen K highway in Waikoloa. It's like an oasis in the middle of lava fields but right on the Pacific.
The entrance to the Hilton. This was this morning (I am working in case you wonder! I've had dinner and meetings with customers) at 7am when I went for my run.

It is beautiful in Waikoloa with trendy shops and beautiful landscaping and massive shoulders on which to ride and run. The roads are in awesome condition cause they don't have winter weather chewing them. I was here in March and the one thing I've noticed now in October is how windy it is and it is much more humid.

I ran out of Waikoloa and onto the Queen K. Despite being surrounded by lava fields some beautiful vegetation still manages to grow.
Close up of the flowers from that tree.

Around lunch I popped into BikeWorks, the local bike shop in Waikoloa. As luck would have it they had a bike available to rent. For 30/day I got the bike, helmet, spare tubes and stuff. This bike was brand new too. I took it out on the Queen Q over lunch for an hour. By this time it was HOT and WINDY!

The amazing thing about the Hawaii Ironman bike course is how it can be mentally draining. It's hot, windy, with lots of long rolling hills, lava fields on either side, and it pretty much a long straight out and back.

Not to worry about me, though, cause I made it back safely and only a little dehydrated! I had an hour to kill so I retreated to the hotel lagoon for a little dip - does the body good! Anyway, off to dinner with customers. I will try to get to Kona tomorrow at some point - apparently every booth is now up! Free swag - wha, wha!!


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