Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Kona day 6 - Wednesday 30th September

Got a bit more sleep last night and rolled into the usual AM routine, stretch, breakfast (I'm processing all this fruit really well) and factor 50 application.

Trouble in paradise
I shot an email to the Sheraton, the hotel for week 2, to check all was good for Friday. It transpires that the Sheraton have no knowledge of a booking, despite Expedia confirming the booking back in July - as well as taking the full £1.5K payement. So a frantic hour emailing and phoning all concerned  - basically just chasing my tail. 

Faye is currently on the case back home, despite looking after 2 sick kids & being sick herself, whilst I'm here in paradise contemplating my next ride. It's official - I have an awesome support crew!

As it stands, Faye & the kids turn up in two days and we have NO accommodation!

Cleared my head and hit the road for 50 more miles of the Kona Ironman course, first the south section and then a re-ride of part of the north (up to the scenic look out point). On the return leg, I stopped to help a girl who had punctured, had blown a second inner tube and had run out of co2. Got it sorted for her pretty quick. Maybe I will be blessed with good Karma next time I'm on the Queen K.

It was interesting that all the age groupers who cycled past asked if we were okay but the few pros we saw that past by, completely blanked us. (Don't worry Lionel Sanders, we are all good here!)

The girl I helped out, was local and asked where I was staying, would you believe the Kona Seaside hotel is owned by her family..... Small world eh!

The wind direction was all over the place today but on the whole it was favourable and helped produce a near 23mph average for the 50+ miles at about 5% over IM power.

Here's the strava file...

I'm getting used to this view.

Here's a small vid taken heading south on the Queen K towards the airport.

I was a little nervous about today's run. It was essential for my confidence that I didn't explode again so I drank a little more on the bike (still not enough) and carried half litre bottle of chilled flat Coke for the run. I skipped up Palani hill pretty well and ran north up the Queen K, using the Honokohao Harbour as the turn around point. The Coke helped (as did a bit of cloud cover and a breeze) but there is no escaping, 33° and 80% humidity is always going to be tough. I was pleased to stick it out and absolutely loved standing under the fresh water shower at dig me beach!

I even dressed like a local triathlete for the run. Shoes, shorts, cap and of course a slightly under tanned sweaty body.

Here's the strava file...

After a dip in the pool, I lunched at Splashers (chowder & salad - creature of habit). I love it when you leave a restaurant, I don't think I will ever grow tired of hearing "hey brother, go well".

I'm so local bro

Back at the hotel, I chilled out in front of the TV to watch 'Mobsteel'. It's a Detroit body shop outfit who customise old American classics. I'm even starting to speak like them - sweeeeet.

Kona day 5 - Tuesday 29th September

Had a bit of trouble sleeping last night, but the beauty of a time difference and the fact that no one else was hammering the wifi meant it was easy to FaceTime Faye back home. Even managed a spot of online shopping (darker pair of shades required).

The plan for today was for total rest, in preparation for tomorrow's Brick session. Just couldn't manage it, so after the usual routine of stretch and breakfast, I took a cycle along the south section of the run course to check out the Sheraton, from there it was a straight ride back with a detour to 'bike works' for a new run cap (in Baxter neon). 

Collars and cuffs?

Today's impromptu bike ride

I had rigged up Stu's GoPro to the bike for this ride, but it shifted when I went over every bump - fail. 

Good Pro spotting on Alii drive today, although all the GoPro saw was sky!

If you are quick you can spot a palm tree!

I toyed with the idea of a swim out to the Coffees of Hawaii espresso boat but the wind was up and the sun was in - for once it didn't seem so appealing. There was a cruise liner out at sea, shuttling tourists too and fro, so I gathered it would all be a bit busy for the Dolphins in any case. Felt a bit annoyed that so many 'tourists' were invading my island today.

Now that's a big boat

I ate lunch at the Fishhopper, just past the finish line on Ali'i - (Chowder soup and a Cobb salad)- not going to bore you with a picture (although obviously I did take one), then stopped by at Kona Farm Direct to stick another stamp on my loyalty card (like that Faye?). Crowie walked past, kind of went in the direction of the coffee shop (and to where he obviously usually sits, I.e. Where I was now sitting and then walked straight past / I guess he wasn't too impressed with the 'tourist' invasion either.
(No Craig, I'm not one of them!)

BTW, this is how they handle tips at the KFD coffee bar - very tech!
Apple need to raise their game in Kona

I had a dip in the pool to cool off, bit of a sun (well cloud) bathe and then just pottered in the apartment.


had to change a split front tyre - wouldn't have bothered back home, but don't want to kick my self if this bad boy goes pop and I get stranded on the Queen K tomorrow.

Sorry Grant - your TT tyre is totally TT'd.

after last nights lack of sleep, I tried to stay awake this evening but lost the battle and dozed off! I felt pretty groggy but dragged myself up to 'sack n save' to re-stock on essentials.... water, fruit & beef jerky!

Supermarkets abroad are great...... Que the obligatory food array montage:-

Jerky anyone?

Oh the irony (they must mean the iron ladies)

That's just fishy!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Kona day 4 - Monday 28th September

Woke early this morning, lots of Twitter/Facebook activity planning training and beers. Spoke to Faye & the kids, Eve not well (was it the water @ the Hever Triathlon?). 

Got a surprise as I stepped out on the balcony. This little fella hitched a ride on my back - pretty cool. 

Sorry about those tan lines...

Body feels awesome after yesterday's brick and I think I'm getting used to the climate (probably a bit soon to say). 

Breakfast @ Splashers, Teri (my regular waitress) brought me an extra water - after recognising I was a bit dehydrated yesterday.

Swam the IM course again (no swim skin today). Met up with the Dolphins after about 5 mins of swimming. Swam with a Danish triathlete who had also qualified at Frankfurt (she said it was her toughest ever ironman - bodes well), this will be her 7th Kona ££££. Was a few minutes slower today - nice swim though.

Bertina Schmidt - from Denmark

Showered and touched base with home, then popped up to the cafe belonging to

Nice seared Ahi (Hawaiian tuna) salad, juice (of some description) and a homemade granola bar. 

The juice tasted better than it looks

Walked back down Palani for a coffee in the 'Kona Farm Direct', which is located under 'Splashers'. Good call, was a great coffee, no wonder Crowie was sitting here yesterday.

Spent the afternoon chillin by the pool catching up on podcasts, then planned some training routes on the hotels iMac as the wifi was ifi.

Met up with fellow Brit triathletes at Huggo's on the rocks. We know how to party, 1 beer, some race talk and an early night. Met Grant's 2nd favourite triathlete (future champion..... maybe this year) Joe Skipper. Refreshingly down to earth guy, can't wait to see how he goes on the 10th.

One of these has real shot of winning Kona, the other is just happy to be here.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Kona day 3 - Sunday 27th September

Up, stretch and out for breakfast - healthy option this morning (relatively.... Granola, yoghurt & fruit). 

Then it was a 'factor 50 dressing' before setting off for the Brick session.

Bike - 56 miles on the queen K (IM+ pace)
Really loved this ride, smooth Tarmac and a bike lane as wide as the car lanes. Ticked off most of the Queen K, which basically cuts through the lava fields. Not too windy apart from the middle couple of miles (stayed on aero bars though). Lots of triathletes out today, was only overtaken by one - Meredith Kessler, who with her buddy, shot past me  - very impressive.  
The Queen K

Obligatory bike with lava field backdrop picture

Put out a NP of 245w (IM target is 220w). And this gave a half iron split of 2:28 mins (22.8 mph ave). Sounds fast but this is the easy half of the race.

Felt that I held power well and was really pleased with the ride..... Now the run.

Run - 8 miles @ IM pace

If I kicked the Queen K's ass, then Alii drive kicked me back!

I just didn't drink enough on the bike and 3 miles into the run I had nothing. It was 34° and the humidity was pretty low. I had to beg a drink off some locals who were in their garage. At mile 4, I stood under a beach shower and at mile 5, I had to stop to buy a Coke and litre of cold water. I sat pathetically in the shade for 5 mins showering with the water. I was then able to Run the last 3 miles back absolutely fine, sipping the Coke. Got back to the hotel and dived in the pool!

So I guess you could say the acclimatisation is coming on!

Piss wise, let's just say - golden syrup. Mmmm, nice image.

Lunch - back to Splashers (love this place) more fish chowder and a shrimp salad and FLUIDS.
View from lunch

Chowder (again)

(Must stop posting pictures of food - I'm pretty much showing you the entire menu)

Snorkelling with Stu's GoPro.

It was a bit overcast but still it's pretty cool the fish you can see just by the pier.

Looks like the photographer needs some more chowder!

Kona day 2 - Sat 26th September 2015

Sorry, it's a long one...

Up and sent a few emails over a dodgy wifi. Got news of 2 race finishers! Grant with a v-fast 30k Swedish XC race and Eve with her 2nd year at Hever (looking pro in Faye's Tri suit).

Took a shower (sized for Ronnie Corbet) and built the bike up, before heading down to the pier to watch the locals fish. They were just reeling them in, and filling nets that they wore over their shoulders.

Breakfast @ Splashers (overlooking dig-me-beach, (part of the hotel package). Stu & Elliot - you would not be disappointed by the pancakes here!

A few triathletes are out jogging and there are several swimming the course, which is my plan once Mt Pancake goes down.

There are about a dozen US vets here (can tell by their caps), all appear to be on a Hawaiian cruise, they are all fighting fit and having a right laugh.

Walked a couple of miles in pursuit of the local bike store 'bike works' , could have chatted and window shopped for ages. Got some co2 cartridges and then checked in with Faye.

Donned the swimskin, then headed off to dig-me-beach, and had a solo swim of the Ironman course. The sea is about 27° which is bordering on too warm. You swim over coral for the first 3/4 of a mile then it gets deeper and sandier, it's also really salty. The chop made buoy sighting quite hard.  I was 1.2 miles out (at IM turn around point), I heard a blow behind my head and I saw about 6 dolphins break surface right in front of me. Another half dozen went straight under my feet, then I could see them everywhere and I was all alone right in the middle of it. They got so close I could almost touch them.

I wish I had the camera - this picture was taken in the same spot last year.

As I swam back I saw them all again and could hear the high pitched squeaking all around me.

It sounds silly but it was pretty magical. I wasn't on a trip or in a zoo. It was such a shame that I had no one to share the experience with. When I got back to hotel reception I told the girl on the front desk and she seemed genuinely surprised. Really hope it wasn't a fluke as I can't wait for the kids to see them! 

Lunch was back at Splashers. Bowl of seafood chowder and a Mediterranean wrap, washed down with a chocolate milkshake. Back to hotel for siesta.

Stocked up with the essentials @ 'sack n save' - water, milk, beef jerky! Then back to Bubba Gumps to fuel up for tomorrow's bike/run! The waitress gave me a 'forest gump' quiz, they really go in for building a rapport (I guess tips rule) - I've only seen the movie once but I aced it!

I only had my t-shirt off for an hour when I wore the swim skin in the swim.... Gonna have to take a bit more care.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Kona day 1 25th September - Aloha

It's 23:52 Friday night (10:52 Sat morning your time). Long flight on a 777 to LA (with 3 films) and after an hours Disney style queuing at immigration, had to sprint across the airport (1st bit of training), to board the flight to Hawaii on the shorter, smaller but comfier A321.

Somehow managed to blag a free meal on the plane, but the films were not. So dozed on/off for 5 hours.

Kona airport is fantastic, open air, no customs, just off the plane, pick up bags and jump in cab, $30 later and I'm at joyfully named 'Kona Seaside Hotel'. Great room which has air con - a far cry from Frankfurt / big relief!

Unpacked and hit the eerily quiet Alii drive in the hunt of food.

And there was Bubba Gumps restaurant! and there was the shrimp, raspberry, strawberry, pecan and feta salad - interesting combo, but that, and a longboard beer hit the spot.

I used the free wifi to speak to Elliot & Faye (just to brag about the breaking waves 20 feet away) and wished Grant luck for his Swedish 30K trail race - in an hours time.

Couldn't resist dipping my feet in the sea at a deserted 'dig me beach' on the walk home. Blimey that's the warmest sea I've been in.

I promise future posts will be a bit less 'selfie'!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Kona - update & How to follow me

As I write this, its less than a week until I fly to the big island and I'm feeling pretty fit and healthy having just completed my 2 week rest, 8 week build phase of my preparation for the race. I have a week of peak (simulation) training in the UK and another in Kona, before I taper (rest/holiday) in the last week before race day on Saturday October 10th.

Faye, Elliot & Eve join me on the 2nd October, I have hired a big Jeep, so I can pick them up from the airport and we can get around the island during our stay.

It's not all flip-flops and ice cream for my support crew. If you know me well enough, you won't be surprised that I have arranged some events for them too.

Elliot & Eve will be doing the IRONKIDS KEIKI DIP N DASH on Oct 6th and we are all doing the Kona 5K/10K on the 4th (5K for daddy & daughter).

So how to follow all of the shenanigans.........

I plan to get pretty busy blogging and vlogging (how hard can it be? kids are out there earning a living doing it).

I will use this blog for text and photo's and videos, here is an example, I'm keen to see if it works.

This blog will also also be viewable at core