The Ironman Vibe: Bring it On!

Wow, I’ve done a lot of races, but this race is unreal. It isn’t a race. It’s a happening. Part of the awesome experience is our base camp. We are staying at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Our room overlooks the famous pier and we can just see the finish line through the branches of a giant Banyan Tree. We have watched the race operations team transform the pier from the regular version on Monday, into the world’s most amazing transition area, today.

The buildup during race week has been intense, with all kinds of logistics to take care of. The whole experience is a process. Earlier in the week, it was a bit unsettling, but now that the race is less than 15 hours away, things are looking good. Bike and gear check-in is happening right outside our balcony. They are jamming tunes over the finish line sound system. Right now, it is AC/DC. The vibe is electric.

We have soaked up this experience. From our Tuesday breakfast at the Island Lava Java, to the Parade of Nations, to our time spent touring the Ironman Village this morning, this has been a lot of fun. The village is the best race expo that I have ever seen. It has the high-end of the high-end in terms of bicycle components, running shoes, wetsuits, and other triathlon gear. I’ve tested the latest running shoe technology, handled the next generation carbon wheels, borrowed pedal cleat lubricant, tightened my wheel hub bearings, and checked out some awesome pro bikes on display. I even tested out an Endless Pool this morning. Our four-year old joined me for a swim after I gave it a solo try.

The sponsors and vendors are using the hype of Ironman week to launch new stuff. Even Ironman’s parent company, the World Triathlon Corporation, has made several major announcements this week, including the launch of 5150, the new Olympic Distance series and a change in venue (Florida to Las Vegas) for the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

On Wednesday, I participated in the Ironman XC Breakfast & Strategy Session. We were joined by several Ironman dignitaries. We got some advice from Australian pro, Chris McDonald, USA pro, Linsey Corbin, coach Troy Jacobson; and 8-time champion, “Queen of Kona,” Paula Newby-Fraser. We also had the pleasure of meeting two of the original competitors from the 1978 Ironman. Tom Knoll was 6th place and Dave Orlowski was 3rd place. They had an original trophy and also the original race results.

We participated in the very cool Aloha Reception  at the historic Hulihee Palace. We took our shoes off to tour the building, which had some of the most amazing woodworking and craft furniture that we have ever seen.

Yesterday started out with a bang. The Underpants Run came right out onto the pier and we had a great view of the antics in this annual fun run.

I got away from some of the hype by previewing the courses. I swam, ran, and rode on sections of the course each of the past three days. Yesterday, Debbie and I drove the Queen K highway, which is a big part of the bike course,  all the way to the Hawi turnaround. We purposely took a different route back that sent us over Kohala Mountain. The road went from nearly sea level to a crest of more than 3,500 feet in less than 10 miles. It was a great drive. We returned via Waimea. We know that we have to come back here for some great trail running in those hills…but not this week!

Last night, the opening E Komo Mai Banquet kicked off things with awesome traditional Hawaiian entertainment, complete with fire eaters and hula dancers. The meal was followed by the mandatory athlete meeting.

So back to today. It has been about setting up the gear, staying hydrated, stretching, and mentally planning for tomorrow and the main event. I just checked in my bike, which elevated my heart rate and anxiety level ever so slightly. Bring it on.

2 Responses to “The Ironman Vibe: Bring it On!”

  1. 1 waghormley 10 October 2010 at 12:29 am

    CONGRATULATIONS, Scott!!!!!!

    Glad to see that Bib# 1958 finish so well!!!!!

    Enjoy Hawaii and have a safe trip home — C U soon!

    Best from the Ghormley household to you and yours!

    Bill, Ann, Biz, Dave & Courtney

  2. 2 endlesspools 28 October 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Kids LOVE the Endless Pool. We’re glad you had a chance to try it out.

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