Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kona Crazy


It's that time of year. Time to go crazy for Kona - Ironman Hawaii in Kona, Hawaii. I'll admit that I have a soft spot for Ironman Hawaii. Did my first Ironman there in 1989 - year of Dave Scott & Mark Allan's "Iron War" (read on). Raced it again in 1993 - didn't go well. Returned 15 years later when my wife Paolina Allan raced in 2008, and then again the following year.

Within the sport of triathlon, it's the biggest race of the year. It's the race that for the last week, and for sure next week, will have the Slowtwitch Forum humming along with some of it's biggest traffic of the year and every second thread will be something relating to Ironman Hawaii. It's the race that everyone wants to talk about. Every triathlete has a feeling about. Every triathlete wants to do. Why are we all crazy for Kona?

Clearly the World Triathlon Corporation(WTC) know this and it's the center-piece of a world-wide series of Ironman races and central to the Ironman brand. I talked a bit about this - the significance of Ironman, and where the brand is at and it's importance in the sport in a blog from last year - "What Now for Ironman".

This week before race week, has been rather interesting. Controversy has been swirling around one of the race favourites - two time winner, Craig Alexander, over speculation about, of all things, what bike he'll be riding on race-day! Seriously - it's important stuff, because, if you know anything about this sport , it's all about the bike. There has been one, lone, grainy picture circulating around the internet that's taken on a Zapruder-Film like aura to it of Alexander riding on some mysterious new bike along the famous Queen K Highway (aka Highway 19 - picture at top) out training earlier this week. No one seems to be exactly sure what this bike is. Race day will reveal all!

Next up was the revelation that, the details of Dave & Mark's Iron-War had been significantly distorted in a just published new book by Matt Fitzgerald, called, fittingly enough, "Iron War" I learned of this, in an eMail that Dave & Mark had sent out explaining in detail their disappointment with Fitzgerald's accounting and in particular his portrayal of them as being mentally unstable. A defamation law-suit had apparently been launched.

Speculation is that triathlon's prodigal son, 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, may drop in for a reconn and a look-see. Armstrong recently made his much talked about return to the sport of triathon at the recent Xterra USA Championship triathlon in Utah. Of course the one triathlon race course, that everyone wants to see him on is . . . . . . Ironman Hawaii! Not this year, but possibly next year.

I am sure that other big news will pop up as race week unfolds - it always does. Last year's bomb-shell was that on race morning. 2-time defending Champion and the undisputed absolute favourite for the woman's race, Chrissie Wellington had pulled out do to the Flu.

Stay tuned. I'll try and blog a few times this week to comment on various happenings and events at Ironman Hawaii - viewed from afar in the comfort of my own home in Aurora, Ontario! With so many people I know over in Kona, and following along their Twitter, Facebook and blog feeds, it feels like I'm there!

Why are we Crazy for Kona?

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