If there's one take away I had from this weekend, it's that my needs are simple. If I have my bike, my goggles, an internet connection, and a power source (ok, and my phone, obviously!), I'm satisfied! Turns out, the backyard tent accommodations were perfect for the Kona spectating and training weekend. We did have access to a refrigerator and a toilet and an outdoor shower, so that helped. I would consider staying there again if we ever just pop over for a training weekend and are trying to not really spend any money.
Here are just some tidbits from the weekend:
~At one point we went to a party with some old friends of mine. They'd rented a mansion on the water on Alii Dr. It was all marble and granite with a pool right near the ocean. So ya, pretty much the same as the way we did Kona.
~Riding your bike from the airport with a big heavy backpack is all good until Heather Jackson goes flying by, making you feel like you're going backwards. A few minutes later Jesse Thomas rode by and because I am a #crazyassfan I tried for a brief second to chase him down but to no avail. I did, however, have a #fangirl moment with his awesome wife on race day when I turned around a found her right behind me! Of course I took a selfie.
~We rode the south loop to Captain Cook and Kealakekua Bay. I haven't had my garmin 920 for very long but that 40 mile ride earned me a new badge for *Most Ascent*! There's some legit climbing on the Big Island and as I was riding (everywhere but the Queen K) I was thinking that they could make that bike course 100x harder if they used any other road. Of course, there's not a big enough shoulder on any other road to support a bunch of riders so a course change will never happen.
~In the past it felt like Kona residents were sort of half/half on supporting the event in their little town (i.e. some love it while others hate it). Seemed like this trip I ran into more residents who fell on the side of get these athletes out of our town already. At one point Carly and I were riding, in a shoulder, single file, and a woman driving a truck going the opposite direction honked at us. We smiled and waved while she flicked us off. Well! Ok then... Aloha to you as well!
~Watching the race was fun. In the past I've often felt envious of the athletes racing but this weekend I didn't. Likely b/c I know my fitness is shit at the moment so I wouldn't have been able to do it well at all. So there were exactly zero thoughts of I wish I was out there racing too... That made for a more fun spectator day than I've had in the past!
~I found it 100x easier to cheer for athletes who managed to smile and acknowledge us. I know how hard Ironman marathons are but the number of athletes running who looked absolutely miserable was interesting. Several times I suggested that they smile and enjoy it best they can b/c there are 10,000 athletes who would have happily traded places with them there on Alii Dr.
~I have respect for the pros who don't perform well but hang in there and jog it in anyway (vs dropping out). I watched Leanda Cave at mile 25.5... jogging and talking with a gal who was at mile 1. Obviously that wasn't the day Leanda had trained and hoped for but the fact that she used her time on course to chat up some amateurs starting their marathons sent my respect level through the roof. #LeandaFan I can say the same about Meredith Kessler and Natasha Badmann. Michelle Vesterby was probably the only athlete who was near the front who seemed like she was enjoying herself. I take that back- Heather Jackson seemed to be enjoying herself as well. The rest of 'em, not so much. I sort of thought that Mary Beth Ellis would maybe smile like for a half a second but she didn't (at least not in the 3 times we saw her and cheered for her on that run). I mean, come on, she announced her retirement so this is the last time she'll be running down Alii Dr in this race... she wasn't in the top 10 so why not maybe ease up a bit and look around and soak it all in since this is your last chance to do so with so many people whooping it up and cheering for you!?
~Clif bar did an awesome job with their marketing and promotions during the weekend. Their reps were everywhere and they were giving out free products at every turn. It was an impressive effort.
~I felt proud to be associated with Coeur Sports over the weekend. They hosted a really nice brunch at Daylight Mind the day after the race and it was a great chance for a bunch of the team members (and their friends/family) to be together and share stories. Thumbs up!
As we were riding back to the airport I had the thought that I'm *really* glad we made the effort and went over there. For so many reasons... Until next year...