Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 review and 2012 and beyond... (Part 2 - Pilgrimage to Mecca)

Going to Kona was going to be a new experience for me.  Not only were we going to Hawaii, or the world championships, but I have never specated at an Ironman before.  I've always been racing and never stayed much past my own finish.  It was time to see what all this was about.  Was it worth it, was it worth the hours on the road and sometimes total boredum.  Was it worth sneaking around to get out of work to fit in those workouts.  Not racing the race gave me the chance to check out the whole course and not feel any pressure of the race.  I loved the swim course.  I love swimming in the ocean.  The bouyancy of the salt is amazing.  I was cleaning my goggles out with going under and hardly any vertical kicking.  I swam out to the Coffee's of Hawaii boat and had some espresso.  I was able to just basically float and drink and talk. 

For the bike course I rented a Kestrel Talon from a local shop.  It was actually a great bike.  Over the course of the time we were in Kona I managed to ride the whole course.  I didn't do it all in one day because there isn't a lot of ways to support yourself out there.  The QueenK is a long stretch of highway without much around.  I didn't want to risk it by myself and didn't know anyone else there that wasn't racing that would want to do it with.  On one of my longer 70 mile rides, I got a flat about 35 miles from home.  You can imagine I was a little nervous riding back.  So one day I rode out most of the way and back on my own.  Another day I met my wife in Hawi at the turn around.  As for the course, I didn't really find it all that amazing or difficult. There are winds but they are mostly in Hawi.  The rest of the course wasn't all that bad.  It's hot there, but not that hot on the bike course.  I felt the heat much more on the run than on the bike. 

The run course at Kona is really cool.  You run through town and then out on to the highway and into the Energy Lab and then back into town.  It's hot.  I'm not gonna lie.  It's about like Michigan feels in the summer.  The problem, is that Michigan cools down in September so when you get there it feels even hotter because your not used to it.  In town it's not so bad, out on the highway and into the Energy Lab is get's hot.  But like all races there are aid stations every mile so I'm sure that helps out a lot. 

Aside from spectating the race and checking out the course, we also met in person @felog and his wife.  The 4 of us did the Kona Underpants run.  That was quite an experience.  The outfits people wore were insane.  It was a blast.

Part 3 - The verdict

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