It's still the same. You step out of the plane on the tarmac at the Kona airport and that hot, humid air hits you. You first thought is, how can I ever do an Ironman in these conditions..
This time I am not racing, I am hear supporting my wonderful Wife Paolina. However, for me it's a bit of a trip down memory lane. I have not been to the big Island since 1993 when I raced here in Ironman Hawaii for the 2nd, and as it turned out last time. There have been a lot of changes in the event and in the sport, in the intervening 15 years and I hope to chronicle some of those in a story that I am writing for Triathlon Magazine Canada to be published in the December issue. Fifteen years does not seem like a long time, but in a young sport such as triathlon, that is half a life-time ago! We have come a long way since then.
It may surprise many these days, that the sport of triathlon was in a bit of a slump in the early 90's after the buzz and hype of the early years in the '80's had worn off. Races did not sell out a year ahead of time!
Stay tuned and I will try and go over some of the many other changes as we work our way through Race Week.
We arrived late on Saturday night and immediately went to bed. It had been a long day travelling from Toronto. Sunday proved to be a bit of a recovery day for both Paolina and I after the 20 hour trip here, so we laid low and went for an easy swim in the afternoon. Already Kailua is a-buzz for the race this year as athletes are flooding into town.
This morning we have been to the Morning swim and have met many old friends and some new ones. Paolina is amazed at the clarity of the water in Kailua Bay and that you can see all kinds of fish while you swim. At first this freaked her out a bit but after two swims, I think she likes it. She is now out for a ride on the Queen K Hwy with some friends of her's from her Team - the Timex Pro Triathlon team. I am in the Media Room doing some writing at catching up on emails.
Last night it was a real pleasure to have a few drinks with some old friends, while watching the sun set at the Kona Inn. Apparently, some of this group have been doing this every night of race week for 26 years! Lot's of tall tales around the table.
Below are a few pics of the first day and a bit.
Paolina Checking out The Swim Start
The view from Lava Java having breakfast
Team Timex Heading Out for Ride.
Breakfast At Lava Java