Next October will mark 15 years. That is how long it has been since I last visited the Big Island of Hawaii. I am not sure if it’s the fact that my good friend, (he’s also a client) Mark, is competing in Kona this year for the first time or if it’s due to the overwhelming flood of Ironman updates and posts via Twitter and Facebook but I am feeling as though I would really like to be there. No, not be there to compete, but rather be there to spectate, which is something I have never experienced in Kona. I do know, based on the several times Mark dragged my sorry 46 year old butt around Chester County this past summer, that I am not quite ready to attempt to duke it out with the youngsters. Karen Smyers, you are my hero. Next year, though, might just be time to make the trip back.
Hearing the many updates and reports over this past week has, for sure, brought back some memories – most good and some, not so good. Here is an excerpt from Mark’s update from last weekend which I believe paints a very real picture of just what each and every athlete competing on Saturday will be facing. In Kona – it WILL be hot and it WILL be windy and it WILL be hard. It may be a matter of HOW hot, HOW windy and HOW hard but it’s NEVER easy.
“Re-Cap of yesterday:
Drove out to the Waikoloa and dropped the girls off at a great beach by the Marriott. I was humbled, immediately, by the winds. Rode towards Hawi (starting time 10:40) into a 35-47 iBike mph headwind all the way to Rt. 270 and then began the climb toward Hawi. I have to say that there were many times when I was very sketched out….and that doesn’t happen to me often. Riding up to Hawi was quite interesting…saw a women (pro from the looks of her) get completely blown off the road coming back from Hawi. There were a couple of scary moments on the way down and after seeing the girl get blown off the road I knew I had to ride towards the middle of the road so as to have room when I hit the exposed sections. Once back to the QK I had a tailwind and cruising 35-40 mph.
I am very glad that I did that ride…and survived! I was thinking that if this were my first IM I may have ridden straight to the airport for a flight out.”
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE RACING ON SATURDAY!!