Thursday, 8 October 2009

Kona Pics

Figured I should finally get around to writing about Kona itself and my experience so far, and post some pics for people to enjoy. I feel in some ways that being here for the race and spending so much of my time and energy living Ironman that I haven't been a proper tourist so to speak. I've certainly left my camera at home more often than not! But I've still managed to see and do some things, as evidenced below. Here's a mishmash of sights seen, both triathlon and non-triathlon related.

Every day from sunrise to sunset, athletes can be seen swimming at Dig Me Beach, aka the start of the swim course at the pier. I've been there a few times myself, usually around 7am when it's the busiest. Last week it was pretty quiet; come Monday it was crowded and busy with a bag check-in, free swag and tons of glistening muscled bodies in Speedos everywhere. Speedos are nearly outnumbered by speedsuits by now, but not quite! On race morning I'm sure speedsuits will be the order of the day.

Lots of athletes gather at the beach, many leaving their $5,000 bikes unsecured in the racks nearby.

A view of the practice course, curving around the orange markers parallel to shore.

This week the floating Coffees of Kona espresso bar appeared, handing free coffee out to anyone who swam the 700m to the boat.

I tried out my new speedsuit (which is indeed speedy!) but all the coffee in the world can't take away that awful warm saltwater taste.

Afterwards, this iconic cafe is the main attraction for many people (the guy riding on the bike is one of hundreds who will pass by during the day).

Earlier in the week, we went snorkelling at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, aka the Place of Refuge and found this little guy getting a few swim lessons of his own. At 10 weeks old, he wasn't too fond of the water!

The big dog tried to show him how, but he just wouldn't get off that rock.

Cruise ships come to Kona every few days, full of (ahem) more average-sized Americans or Australians who stand out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of 1800 fit and ripped Ironman athletes. This one was about to pull away for another night of cruising the ocean.

Like a giant floating city of its own.

The finish line isn't set up yet, but this sign stands here year round. It's right next to the swim start, but seeing as the actual sign is about 4 feet above my head, we had to photoshop this pic a bit to fit it in.

That's King Kamehameha, the first Hawaiian king, on the sign, by the way.

Jim and I finding some shade and breeze from the relentless 31 degree heat made worse by the strong sun here. One of the coolest things about Kona is how much "indoor" stuff is outside, like the airport gate waiting areas and baggage belts, and hotel check-in desks. All are covered in case of rain, but temps of 20-35 degrees year round mean outdoors is always comfortable if you're out of the sun.

Having been sunburned already, we weren't taking any more chances!

I registered today and got all my kit and wristband. Every age group gets its own colour, meaning I'm checking out the wrists of every female athlete I see, sizing up my competition. Ironically, I'm neither representing Canada nor Great Britain; instead I'm one of only threes Dutch women here, the other being last year's 2nd place pro Yvonne van Vlerken and handcyclist Monique van der Vorst.

Blue is my favourite colour, so I'm hoping this lovely blue wristband is a good omen?

And finally, my bike is primed and ready, just need to attach the number plate and put the bottles on. Aero helmet is a go after I discovered that my brains were frying under my regular helmet too. My position is so aggressive that every fast-looking guy I passed going the other way on the road the other day had a long good look at me... so apparently I must look like I'm good at least!

The mean machine ready to eat up those miles.


Anonymous said...

Hi Maryka,
As Thanksgiving approaches our familial crowd will gather here and I will make sure they'll be 'duimen' for you during the race. love, Aunt T.
btw - you sure have your dad's smile in the photo with the blue bracelet; never noticed it before.

Bryan Payne said...

When are you updating your blog. I want to read about your race.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being with EN. you are such an inspiration and you will be missed! m