As I sit to write this post I am drinking a Big Wave Golden Ale from Kona brewing company, and it might just be the beer that saves my life.
I went back and forth for quite some time about shipping my Cervelo p2 out here to HI. In the end, it was not fiscally responsible, considering that I am spending two whole weeks on an island where everything costs about double the price back on the main land. However, my good friend Balazs had his last long ride coming up today and was really hoping for some company. In light of this fact, and at his urgings I decided to rent a bike from the local bike shop–Bike Works. Jeff the manager, Collin, and basically everyone in the shop were more than accommodating in the rental process. They set me up with “Luis” a specialized transition, along with shoes, pedals,basically everything I needed. That was the easy part.
In my time here thus far I have been swimming and running exclusively. I have decided that the swimming here in Kona is not really work at all, but rather play time in the water and social hour among friends before and after. The running is much like Houston with heat and humidity, but much better scenery.
Today we embarked on the bike course for the Ironman World Championships. We began our trek from the Waikoloa Beach area with the intentions to ride to Hawi and back, about 60 miles. My friends at the bike shop described this as the “meat” of the bike course. They were not exaggerating. What I determined is that the heat, and the hills are not quite as bad as expected; But the wind, oh the wind. The wind is what makes this the Ironman World Championships as far as I am concerned. I still have yet to do mile repeats in the energy lab, that’s coming, stay tuned. However, I am convinced that I have never worked as hard over the course of 60 miles on the bike as I did today. I was able to hang with Balazs for the first 15 or so miles on the way to Hawi and then the real hills and wind began. He left me! I couldn’t believe it at first, I was angry. Then after some minutes passed I found the gear and cadence I was looking for, settled in, and began to do what I do on every long, grueling ride. I went inside myself and really began to enjoy the sport they way I have since my childhood. I enjoyed the ocean view, the rolling hills of lava, and the occasional palm tree. I reveled in the fact that I was completely alone in one of most beautiful places on earth. It was truly amazing and before long, there was a very nice surprise. I saw a car on the side of the road and prepared myself to be accosted or cursed at in a similar fashion to what you might expect on the roads of Houston, TX. Quite the opposite occurred: in the car were three of my very good friends, Eric, Nancy, and Manja. They had been driving to Hawi to meet another friend of ours, Hagen who is racing in Kona as an age group triathlete. It was their waving and cheering from the car that gave me the final push to make the climb into the wind up the hill to Hawi. This was the halfway point on today’s journey and there were so many lessons throughout the ride but one stands out more than the rest: Live in the minute, enjoy the moment, be here now. There are so many ways to say such a simple thing, and I know you can relate.
So thank you, thank you, thank you: Luis (my oft resented steed), Eric, Nancy, Balazs, Hagen, Manja, the folks at Bike Works, guy at the coffee shop in beautiful Hawi who filled my water bottles and the Big Island. Thank you for reminding me of lessons here that I can take back to the mainland and for giving me an experience I will never forget.