Early Monday morning I set off on my journey to the Big Island. LA to Maui was my first leg. My flight was not without excitement, the wind was up on the island and we aborted our landing at 300ft! YIKES!
I had a 7 hour lay over in Maui and it was hot. I headed to the commuter terminal to check in with Mokulele Airlines and hopefully dump my bags.
All too soon it was time for me to get on the Cessna. Heart pounding we boarded the 9 seater. What a surprise! This flight was smooth and just amazing, it was like a private jet the views were astounding. The landing 45 minutes later was perfect. Thank you Mokulele for a great experience.
Finally I was in Kona, a short taxi ride and into the condo and to bed.
BREAKFAST WITH BOB
Tuesday morning I headed over to Huggos on the Rocks, that turned out to be about a 5 minute walk from my condo. I knew Bob Babbitt would be recording there daily and I hoped to be able to watch the show and meet the guests.
Bob remembered me from our meeting in Phuket last year and was so gracious. I met up with Dennis Charles and Heidi Sowerby from the MaccaX team and we made up the studio audience. I am not going to list out every interview I saw but they were pretty much all great.
Highlights for me were of course Terenzo ☺ Macca, Chrissie Wellington, Dave Scott, Mark Allen,, Jesse Thomas, super coaches Siri Lindley and Cliff English, and John Maclean. Not one interview disappointed.
The most amusing highlight was when team member Elizabeth Smith arrived midway through Luke McKenzie’s interview and walked across the set. Immortalized forever on Youtube.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Bob Babbitt, all the staff from Active Network and Paul Huddle for being just so accommodating and welcoming the MaccaX team to the show. And let’s not forget ukulele playing Ponchoman who on the spot made up a great song for team member Heather who was at the dentist!
Check out all the shows here.
EXPO and CLIF BAR BBQ
The Kona expo was bigger and better than I expected. The merchandise on sale was varied and you could pretty much buy anything you needed for training, racing, gifts, mementos and souvenirs. Sponsored pro athletes were on hand for signings and pictures none more so than Chris McCormack. Chris has recently been signed to Roka wetsuits, and during race week the other Roka athletes Mark Allen and Javier Gomez were at the Roka stand.
These are three of the best world class triathletes you’d ever hope to meet and to have them in one place was quite an honour. It will come as no surprise that Javier Gomez wants to come and race the Kona Ironman in the future. When I spoke to him on race day he said he was very inspired by what he saw and once done with the Olympics he will start to think about stepping up to the full distance. Watch out!
Jan Frodeno asked Javier if he was going to be racing at Challenge Bahrain – “NO!” was the answer, “Thank God!” was Jan’s response!
As part of the MaccaX team we got to hang out with Chris McCormack and Scott Fairchild.
I cannot say enough good things about them, they looked after us, gave us a ride when we needed it and took us to places we would otherwise not have been able to see. One of these was the Clif Bar BBQ – athletes and journalists mingling over cold beers and burgers.
This was one of the highlights of the week for me. I got to chat to the Bozzones and to meet our newest member of the coaching staff, Sergio Borges. I really felt like I’d entered the inner sanctum of triathlon.
Whilst there, Macca recorded a podcast with Tawnee Prazak from Endurance Planetdown on the rocks which you can listen to here.
Another highlight for me was being able to catch up with the boys from the IM Talk podcast.
Coach John Newsom was in Kona to race after his Project 2014 where he spent the year planning and training to qualify and race Kona.
The race did not turn out according to plan and you can hear all about it in the podcast. I am also interviewed on this episode along with Sergio Borges.
PTR – (PARTY THEN RACE)
Bob Babbitt hosts this party on the Friday before the race each year. It is a party for those not racing, a chance to let your hair down, get away from the stress of anxious athletes. We were lucky enough to get invited thanks again to Chris McCormack. The party was great fun and we got some swag including a cap and an awesome medal. It was held at Huggos which became my second home. A couple of free drinks upon entry and some great food.
As you can see, the party was fun…
I am not going to list the race results or dissect the race itself. That’s been done and is available all over the internet.
I bumped into Sergio Borges and he was so knowledgeable about the best places to be that I ended up spending the entire day with him! It was so good to be able to cheer on athletes that I now know and have met. Tim Reed, Tim Van Berkel, Caroline Steffen, Crowie, Liz Blatchford and many others.
This race is tough, the weather gods turned it up a notch, providing heat and one of the windiest days in the last 15 years. There were reports of people being blown clean off their bikes!
I didn’t make it down to the finish line at midnight I was just exhausted!
Next time I will pace myself better and fit in a nap. The whole day was a fantastic experience, made better by Sergio Borges my spectating buddy!
BREAKFAST WITH BOB and THE AFTER PARTY
Sunday morning was the Champions edition of Breakfast with Bob. The top three and more all came down to have their interview with Bob Babbitt and Paul Huddle. It was such an experience to meet the athletes that just won the World Championship – I can’t think of another sport where this would be possible!
Sunday night is party night, the year is done, the training is put to one side and the pros let their hair down and party like they never have before. It was also Justin Granger’s birthday and the drinks were going down way too easily! Again thanks to Macca, Bob Babbitt and Huggo’s owner Eric for giving us VIP tickets – Elizabeth and I had an absolute blast.
Thank you Kona, it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this experience. I know one thing, I will be coming back every year if I can. I loved it.
For the full unabridged version check out my blog.