Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Honu Race Report- Part I: The Beginninging (TONS of pictures)

There is only one way to start traveling to a race. And that is at 3:30 in the morning. Even if the race is still days away. And yes, this post doesn't even get to race start. It was a big thing for me, we were there for a few days, so each post will cover parts of that. This is getting there and getting set up. The next one (or few) will be race stuff, there will be one on my swim and breakfast with Greg Bennett, and probably a wrap-up one too. Settle in, Dirtbag likes to write. And you can't forget about the Race Report Preview, featuring a Damn Funny List.
Super Awesome Wife and my flight to Big Island left at 5:00am Thursday, the best we could do with miles and pricing. So it was in the dark that we headed out for my Half Iron Adventure.

We landed in Kona and were soon met by Diesel and his wife, MamaSaid. It is thanks to the two of them that we were even able to make this trip and this is one of the first of many times I recognize and thank them for that (along with my fantastic sponsor, Background Profiles). Together we picked up their checked bag, Super Awesome Wife and I carried on everything, and headed to the rental car. It was too early to check in to the condo Diesel rented for the weekend so we headed into Kona for breakfast then to the Fairmont Orchard for registration and shopping. That's right! Shopping. Because no group of athletes are bigger gear whores than triathletes. And if its branded Ironman? We will buy All The Things!
First, though, to let them know I exist and am here to race.
Gear Bags
Gear bag drop off (duh!)

Sneaky picture of the registration area

Mah cap!

Numbers for my helmet, Kratos, and myself
Check-in was easy and run by an army of the nicest little old ladies you've ever seen. Every one of them with a smile and a good luck on their lips. Here is where we ran into the Grey and his wife, Second Favorite Wife.  She was not racing, she was there as an observer, like Super Awesome Wife.
Once the boring part was done, into the Expo we went. They had all kinds of cool stuff there and it wasn't easy to choose what to buy. I settled on a sleeveless bike top (because everything should be sleeveless), and a visor. The visor was a must-have anyway because I only left one thing back on Oahu- my running visor from last years Honolulu Tri. Darn, gotta buy a new one. And I was not running the half marathon without a hat. Diesel said I should get a full hat to prevent sunburn. I called him bald. This information may be important later.
Every registered athlete's name is inside the M-Dot. Which means my name is on the same shirt as Lance. Take that, Lance! No, I didn't buy it.


Front of fancy jersey

Back of front of fancy jersey
Because we hadn't gotten enough of checking into things yet, we bailed from the hotel and got into the condo. Really nice place, plenty of room, served us great. Diesel, MamaSaid, and I changed into bike gear so that we could ride our bikes back after picking them up.
Which is what we did next. Super Awesome Wife drove back to the hotel and we headed over to Tri Bike Transport's tent to pick up our trusty steeds. There are many ways to get your bike to another island, and the four of us (Diesel, the Grey, MamaSaid, and your favorite Dirtbag) went with TriBike. Mostly because they had a good price. More mostly because Diesel said he's used them before and they were good. And he got a free hat.
We did not get a free hat. "Money saving," they claimed. Whatever. I want free swag! Anyway, they were ok. Pick up went smooth-ish. The rear bottle holder on Kratos had broken off, but it didn't bother me too bad because it was cheapish and I wasn't using it any more anyway. Weight saving! We mounted up, took a photo op, and rode the four or so miles back to the condo. While we were there we also put anything we would need for the run into the red run bag (Get it? Red. Run. Blue. Bike.) and dropped those off too. You see, unlike any other race I've done, T1 would be in one place, while T2 would be in another. So this was the last time I saw my shoes, socks, and visor, until race day.

Run bag all set up

Broke da stuffs!

Tri Bike tent with Diesel in the funny hat helping MamaSaid

The Grey throws da shaka (a must in any picture in Hawaii)

Diesel's action figure (fully poseable)


The Grey

Dirtbag as Batman shooting the moon

Once we got back, bike fiddling commenced! Tweak, tighten, fix, fidget, tape, and sticker. I had to replace a bracket on my aerobars, so that got did too. Annoying, because I had to buy a whole new set of bars just for a tiny piece. A piece I probably could have ordered online if I had noticed in time. Might put the whole thing back together and return it and just buy the little thing I need. (Later I bought an aerobottle holder and bento box. Those are in the pictures too.)
Taped my aerobars because sweaty hands suck, and I don't race with gloves

Bento box with Cliff Bars

Aerobottle and bracket

I'm 1553, in case you missed that

Looks ready, boss
 The next day was Friday and we all had to do was drop the bikes off in T2. So we rode back, dropped off the bikes, and checked out some bike porn (including Lance's ride and one of the coolest paint jobs I've ever seen). After that is was eat some pasta, chill at the beach with Super Awesome Wife, knock off some fuzz, and celebrate Diesel's upcoming 25th birthday. Yeah, he made the trip possible, remember? In this blog, he turned 25.
All this riding around, first from the venue to the condo, then back the next day, might seem like a lot when you look ahead a day to the 56 mile race. But it's actually a great thing. Frankly, if you are so worn out after six miles that you can't ride again the next day, you might have picked the wrong distance to race. Couple that with the only way you can know how your bike feels is to ride it, added to who knows if anything goofy happened when it got shipped, compounded by its good to get out on the roads you'll be racing on before you're racing on them, and these little hops to and from were hugely beneficial.  
I want this guy's bike

Such a badass paint job

Kratos ready and waiting

Did I mention this is a huuuuge event?

Cool wheels, dude.

HIS bike. I shoulda stuck a Dirtnag Fitness sticker to it.

Smooth and Sexy
Super Awesome Wife hanging at the beach

Can't complain
Diesel turns 25
 After eating a delicious dinner cooked by Second Favorite Wife, and some cake for Diesel's birthday (actually the day of the race), we all went to bed early. Tomorrow was going to be a big day. The wind was blowing hard outside, but I didn't feel any nerves and fell right to sleep, after reading a chapter or two of 4x Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington's book, A Life Without Limits. I had a race plan, I was as trained as I could be, I felt ready.
Part II here


  1. Sounds fun. Yay Diesel, thanks for helping out the Dirtbag, we are so glad he got to do this!!

    Awesome bike belongs to Joel Dopson, he is 38, from North Pole, AK (He's SANTA!!!) and he is in the Air Force (hence the paint job).
    Swim: 51:45
    Bike: 2:58:32
    Run: 1:55:26
    Overall: 5:55:24

    Can't wait for the next update.

    1. So he's like 75% of the people in the race. I killed him out of the water, but that didn't really matter because he knows how to run and had a great ride.

  2. We're in suspense. We need more! Wait let me make some popcorn.

  3. *AHEM* Second favorite wife?? *AHEM*

    Summer - way to find the stats on Santa! Fantastic!

    Dirtbag, you did AMAZING!!!! I'm still blown away. Can't wait to read more.