Greetings from Kona! Today was our first full day on the island and we only had two specific tasks to take care of so it has been pretty low-key. Steve and I tried to sleep in to recover from being up almost 24 hours on our travel day, but we were only so successful. I awoke at 6:15 or so and tried to go back to sleep, but just couldn’t, considering that 6:15am here is 10:15 Denver time and I rarely sleep in that late. But, we hung out at our house and took it easy, had some breakfast and just chilled. It’s so beautiful here…it’s like our own tropical island paradise. We really are very far from town or even any other houses, so no chance we’ll see anyone (except the landscaper or pool care taker) if we don’t leave the property. But eventually, we did leave and headed to town to grab some lunch and pick up Coach Neal from the airport.
Once we picked up Neal we headed directly North for a preview of the bike course. I wanted to see the climb to Hawi again and get a little workout in as well as check my speed going up to the turnaround. The climb to Hawi is about an 18-mile, stair-stepping climb. So while it’s fairly rolling, it’s basically an elevation gain the whole way. The top seven miles or so are the hardest and I wanted to try that part again to get a feeling for how fast (or, actually slow) I’d be going. It was more mental training than anything else because I need to be able to relax, not worry about time cuts and just get to the top. While I was dying trying to get up the hill, Steve and Neal were at the top having cookies and coffee waiting for me. As soon as I hit the top I checked in with them and they were going to meet me down where we had started. I turned around and started cruising. It was a much faster descent than I had remembered and at some sections, I got up to 35mph. The only thing was that it was so windy that it was hard to keep my bike on the road. At some points, I just had to slow down so that I could control the bike and not blow off the road. I steered into the wind to try and keep somewhat straight. I’m sure I could have gotten my bike over 40mph except it just wouldn’t have been safe. I had a couple of close calls that freaked me out, so I just tried to stay on the road whether than set speed records. When I got back to where I had started, my “team” was there waiting for me.
This is the fourth Ironman trip for the three of us and we have our systems and routines set up. Most of the time it’s Neal and Steve out having a great time, while I’m slaving away, but they also take such great care of me and make sure that my only worry is racing. We decided as they picked me up at the end of my 18-mile ride that their job is to perform the “magic” for me at my races. Like for instance, when I get a flat, and I just happen to mention, “oh my bike has a flat,” then magically it’s fixed the next time I go to ride. Or when I’m done with a ride, my powertap disappears and Neal has already downloaded and analyzed the data before I even get a chance to think about it. It is great to be here with my “boys” and hope if for no other reason I can cross the finish line and make them proud. They definitely are here working as hard as I am.
So…at the end of the ride, Neal had analyzed my ride and I hit my speed and power goals during training that we set for the race and things look good. I’m feeling strong and ready to give it another go.
Tomorrow is a swim day, Thursday rest and Friday one last short workout before race day. It’s getting closer…