Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Settling into race week

I am now starting to settle into race week. A bit less running around the island, more relaxing with Orlanda, getting in my "short but sweet" workouts, and getting on the ART table with the man, Dan Selstad. Dan has to be one of the most popular guys on the island, as his table rotates between myself and Orlanda with Michellie, Kate Major, Roch Frey, Greg Welch, and whoever else is big in the sport. (I have some funny pictures to post later about the shenanigans going on at Dan's table).

I actually tried to buy a new cord for the camera today, but Radio Shack was all out of the USB cord I needed. Sorry about that, but I promise to share all the cool photos when I get back!

So here's how it's been going so far...

Monday - After a morning swim, Orlanda and I had breakfast and then got things together for a trip up to the Energy Lab to see the run course. The run course does an out and back to the Energy Lab from Kailua, with about 3 miles of running in the Lab area. The good news about the lab is when you make the turnaround, you're headed for town to the finish! The bad news is, you're still about 8 or 9 miles away from it, and you have to run on the HOT AS HELL blacktop of the Queen K to get there!

It's pretty desolate in the lab, but it has a nice beach and it was surprisingly cool. That's been a common theme since getting here, the weather hasn't been that bad at all. I expected much worse. Of course, there is plenty of time for it to get hotter and it probably feels a lot different come hours 5, 6, 7 and 8.

From the lab, we headed north on the Queen K to Kawihae, (sp?). From there I got on the bike and rode up to Hawi and the turnaround. Unfortunately, I had some bike issues, as the front tire blew right away, and my CO2 valve exploded. Long story short, I made it to Hawi, but it was dicey, and the winds weren't horrible, but definitely gave me a little taste of how bad they could be.

Up near Hawi, the landscape really changes, almost to an African safari look, along the ocean. Everything is very dry and grassy, with some sporadic trees, unlike closer to the Kailua, where it's all lava rock in the landscape. And believe it or not, on the Queen K there are warning signs for "Donkey Crossings". I'm not making that up! Apparently there are wild donkeys roaming around the island, and come across the lava fields, onto the highway sometimes!

On the way back, Orlanda and I hit a beach at Hapuna, which was pretty cool. Probably the nicest beach I've seen on Kona.

It was chill night of Orlanda and I grilling steak and veggies on the grill at the condo.

Tuesday - Orlanda and I got up and enjoyed the morning, with me back on the table with Dan. She got in a jog in the sweltering morning heat, and then we went to breakfast at Pancho and Lefty's. This place has a sign up on the front that says, "Sorry, but we're OPEN".

After heading back home and hanging out, getting some things done, we headed out for a short afternoon snorkeling excursion with a company called Sea Quest. It was really awesome! There were only 4 of us, as another couple joined, and our guide Mary. Mary was very cool, and we got to chat quite a bit, learning about how she ended up here after graduating from Clemson.

She took us on the boat and went about 5 miles off shore to these fishing boats, telling us she had heard on the radios that there was a large pod of Spotted dolphins. We got to them and there were literally HUNDREDS OF DOLPHINS everywhere! Apparently these dolphins will starve themselves if put in captivity, so they are only seen in the wild. Amazingly smart animals. They were headed north, but just bobbing up and down, not doing anything crazy. Mary suddenly said, I hope they start jumping out of the water, because that's really cool!" Almost immediately, the dolphins changed directions to the south, and you just see HUNDREDS of these dolphins jumping out of the water and headed straight for us! Imagine a stampede of dolphins jumping over your head out of the water! It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. And of course, I was enamored with what was happening, I forgot to take any pictures of it! DAMN IT!

Later we checked out some cool areas for snorkeling, and saw a large Manta Ray. Mary showed us a bunch of cool stuff, and told Orlanda about the best bars she watches the race from and parties all day for the race. She used to drive the boats for the turnaround boat of the swim, and even drive a lot of the photographers and NBC film crews in boats for the swim. She says it was really cool, but more fun to watch than work the race.

The evening was nice with dinner with my boy Ryan and his family, at their condo. We then followed that up with a few beers at the K-Swiss party at the Hardrock Cafe, (yes, K-Swiss is entering triathlon), and then over to Huggo's with the Zoot crew.

Fun day!

Wednesday - TODAY!

This morning things definitely seem to be a lot busier at Dig Me beach! The pier is crowded with a bunch of crazed triathletes, (some of the Euro's even dropping their drawers to change in the open!), and a bunch of cruise ship tourists pulling in. It's a busy place for sure.

I found out this morning that the IronmanLive crew, Babbit, Huddle, Heather, etc, will be broadcasting from one of the upper decks at the King K hotel, right in front of the pier! The backdrop will be the actual swim venue and pier, so that should bring a cool element to the viewing. Check it out Saturday!

So today I went swimming and jogging with my boy Ryan again, then on the table with Dan. Afterwards, Orlanda and I went and got my front wheel from the bike shop, (Thanks Bike Works crew!), and ran some errands. Orlanda is pooped and sleeping on the couch as I write this, and I'm waiting on Mac to call me up to go ride for about 60-90 mins. It's definitely hotter today, so we'll see how things go on the ride.

I have to pick up my race packet, and find out the details of the Underpants Run. Orlanda had to go to Ross', so she could buy some underwear for it. She wasn't too keen about wearing a thong for the run....come to think of it, I wasn't too keen on her doing that either!




jameson said...

good luck... and have fun.

WhitneyDe said...

Good luck Jim! I hope Saturday is a FANTASTIC day for you.