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 bag drop off (duh!)|
|Sneaky picture of the registration area|
|Numbers for my helmet, Kratos, and myself|
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|
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)|
|Dirtbag as Batman shooting the moon|
|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|
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|
|Diesel turns 25|
Part II here