Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hawaii Pt. 2: I'm Good for Coffee

That was a fun vacation. I’m fairly sure I had a smile on my face the preponderance of the time, and if I didn’t, it was short lived and replaced by a look of sheer panic and terror while riding my bike (more on that in a bit). This trip was livened with great friends and good times such as: swimming daily with turtles and other tropical, fun loving, under-the-sea creatures; Blustery & death defying rides up the coast; Breaking out of guest-hotel parking; Invading and drinking on a complete stranger’s patio after racing; Crashing (flash mobbing) a wedding; Hotel bar-hopping across Waikoloa; The Great Kona Coffee-Off of 2012; Paddle boarding while buzzing out of control as a result of the Great Kona Coffee-Off of 2012; Cramming entirely too many people into a 1 man lifeguard tower; and a bit of racing. 

Lance, looking human- out of his aerobars in the wind
As I mentioned in a tweet, it felt good to go for a ride this morning and not have the growing fear of crapping my pants of the high possibility of being blown across the highway into some lava rocks. When riding, there’s wind (eg. Ah this is sucky, now I have to push a little harder) & then there’s WIND (eg. Sweet Jesus, there’s a good chance I’m going to die if another semi comes in the opposite direction). I have no idea how Lance Armstrong managed to clock a 2:01 bike split in those conditions (well, I have some idea of how he did, actually). There’s never any benefit to 30mph crosswinds other than the fact everyone has to deal and some can cope better than others. It was somewhat fun (key word: somewhat) to battle the winds on race day, and at least it took the humidity away. Normally, I’d welcome a bit of wind, because there’s no cheating the course in crosswinds, and it takes a strong cyclist to push hard for 56 miles and not rely, purely, on momentum. However, I brought one of the worst wheel sets for the wind… A set of Zipp Firecrest 808’s, paired with the massive wind sail that is the frontend of my Shiv, made for some sketchy times. The Thursday before the race I was riding with some friends out to the Queen K from the Fairmont and got blown off the road into some Lava rocks. I was laughing as it happened because there was literally nothing I could do to avoid it. Not only leaning, but turning into it as well, I was still swept off the road like (yup) dust in the wind (thank you Kansas).

Enough wind talk, let’s get to the race.


Not too happy here.
Slightly bummed they moved the pros to their own wave before the age groupers (thank you, Lance), we started 3 minutes behind. This made for an odd swim. I was feeling pretty confident going into Honu about my swim fitness. I’d been feeling great in the pool and was ready for a good/hard day. As the race started I quickly found myself out in front. It was nice having Chris Berg’s feet to follow for the 1st 4-500 meters. He and one other guy eventually dropped everyone, but I had a nice 4-5-person group to work with behind them. I haven’t felt that good swimming, in a race, ever. Just as we were nearing the yellow turn buoys into the beach (1-200 yards remaining) we were stopped by a paddle boarder telling us we missed a buoy and had to go back, around 3-400meters, to this buoy that was floating out in the middle of the ocean. I floated statically in disbelief and looked at my watch. The time was somewhere around 23-24 minutes (which, if we were to have swum in and finished, would’ve put my group around 2 minutes back from the majority of the pro men (who swam a suspiciously fast time, as I’ve never seen anyone but John Flanagan swim faster than 24 minutes at Honu in the last 4 years). Ended up swimming back out and meeting a mass of AG’ers and swimming into shore in 30 minutes. I finally got to check my Garmin this morning and it said my swim was 1.57 miles… hmm, ya. I have a ton of respect for Chris who actually swam in and was on the beach, goggles off, and then told to go back out because he swam “too fast”. Chris ended up qualifying for Vegas despite that swim course blunder.
Remember how 1/2 Ironman races have a 1.2 mile swim..?


Chillin thru T1
My transition was relatively the same pace as one would move in line at the DVM. I couldn’t get my tri top on (putting a dry tri top on when you’re wet is no picnic), so I nonchalantly walked over to a volunteer and had her help me. Strolled out of T1, past the bike mount & took a solid 1-2 minutes to finally get into my shoes and move up the hill onto the highway. 

I picked up the pace and reached the front of the Age Groupers somewhere around the 4 mile turnaround out-and-back section. The bike segment was relatively boring as far as racing goes. I never felt like I was racing, knowing that I wouldn’t be doing the run. There was never that pressing feeling to push thru the times when I felt crappy. Not saying I wasn’t going hard, but there were plenty of times where I felt tired or lethargic and didn’t bother to push thru it. A dude in a grey suit passed me just before the climb to Hawi, taking on a pace that I wanted no part of, and another strong AG’er, Reilly Smith, passed me in the last 5-10 miles when I was feeling a serious lack of water/nutrition (lost my 2nd bottle during the bike mount). When I dismounted in T2 I was bummed because me legs had a lot of racing left in them, but I’ll save it for LAKE STEVENS. Official time was 2:22 for the bike segment.

I’m extremely proud to announce that I, no doubt, won the race to the beer tent. Yes, I was the first with a cold beer in my hand. Honu 57.1 champion, right here.

This injury will be sorted soon so I can get my run game straight again. Thanks to all who help and support me, especially my family, friends, and B+L Bikes! ..Also, a huge thanks to Mitch Hall for teaching me how to go faster. “Because “hope” is not a strategy”. You’re a Boss, Mitch (capital B).

Double Guns. "The Chacon"