Carmen and I started the day like hundreds of other athletes with a morning swim at around 7.15am at the Ironman start area. The buzz around the waterfront was electric and you could sense the nerves and tension rising among the athletes. Oooh, scary man! The water was choppier today even though it was not windy. We managed a 30 min swim along the buoys before we got out of the water to warm ourselves under the morning sun. It was beautiful. No sooner than we were out of the water, Carmen’s antenna was raised. She was on the scent of yet another freebie. Off she went like a ferret to return a short while later instructing me to “put this on”. I politely asked what “this “ was and I was told that it was a sticker that I needed to put on my arm or leg and return to two guys from Germany that were dishing out free tee shirts and swim caps from a makeshift stall on the promenade. So, I dutifully did what I was told while Carmen did the same thing. Needless to say, we are going back there tomorrow! Once we were armed with our free tee shirts and by the way they are quite nice, we returned to our favorite spot the Gatorade tent to collect yet more bike bottles. We are now up to 7 bottles and on target to get up to 10! We then returned home for breakfast and armed with loads of goodies. Carmen was happy!
The rest of the morning was spent on a short tour in the car just south of where we are staying. We came across loads of coffee plantations something that Kona is famous for and then we stopped at a lovely coffee shop that had great scenic views of the coastline below. We were only going there to have a cup of coffee but once Carmen saw the size of the breakfasts, she could not resist and she got stuck into a huge plate of scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes and juicy sausage. Everything disappeared and she even drank the coffee too. Immediately overlooking the coffee shop was an enormous avocado tree fully loaded with fruit. God knows how the grower harvests the avocados since they were so high up. Once we were done with the second breakfast, we headed down to the coast and a landmark where Captain Cook died, allegedly killed by the Hawaiians back in the mid 1700’s. The coastline is dotted with many coves and in one of them, we found this really friendly guy called Kai that was de-scaling red snapper fish that he had caught the previous evening. I am sure it’s difficult to picture in your mind but this guy was sitting on a lava outcrop with waves lapping around him and on one side, he fed a moray eel that was swimming in and out of a shallow pool and on the other he fed a 30cm diameter turtle. Unreal but true. Carmen has taken the pictures!
With the tourist bit over, it was time for Carmen to have another short ride on the bike. She cycled into Kona town and I met her there after taking some video clips of her on the bike. We did the Expo thing again and stocked up on Powerbar freebies. We also bumped into Alex Bok who was looking good but a bit frazzled.
This evening we went to the race briefing which was pretty uneventful. The good points to note were 200 kayaks on the swim course, drink stations every 5 miles on the bike course and 6 bike mechanic vans on the bike course that will gladly repair a flat so long as you have the tubes. Now that is good organization. While walking into the race briefing area, we noticed a relatively new P3 (same colour as mine) complete with Zipp 808 rims, carbon handlebars and carbon water bottle cage for sale for USD 4000. Not bad eh!
Its bike check-in tomorrow and an early night…….