Friday, October 7, 2016
Hawaii Travels Diary - Day 7 - Only 24 hours now...
A little less than 24 hours from now, the professional men's field will have started their world championship journey. Soon after them, the professional women. Then, after a nice big gap, the age group men and age group women will have separate wave starts. Hopefully this all adds up to a nice, clean race for everyone involved. So, more importantly, what's my race day plan??
I'm glad you asked. Well, our first step will be to park the car inland of the Kuakini Hwy. Because once the race gets going, there's no getting any vehicle across a lane of travel that the race itself is using. I'm a little curious as to how many spectators will be attempting to go watch their athletes on the bike course. There's really only 1 or 2 places to go out on the bike, so I'm curious if it will be crowded. Fewer people here will have cars available to them vs. a "regular" Ironman so maybe it won't be too crowded.
So park the car and then go watch everyone flail through the ocean for roughly an hour. Then, once everyone has gotten onto their two wheeled machine you actually see them 3 times at the "hot corner." Once at mile .01, again at maybe mile 1, then again at maybe mile 8 or 9. Then after that point they're off on the Queen K for the rest of their journey. It's at this point that Christine's mom and I will head off to our bike vantage point. It'll take us about an hour, but we'll see the bike course at roughly mile 40 and mile 79 at which point we'll cheer loudly and make a bunch of noise and then hop back in the car to hustle back into town and try and beat Christine off the bike. The chances of seeing complete meltdowns out on the bike at those two points would be classified as "high." That is exciting...as it will be payback time for everyone that has been busting around Ali'i like they're gonna win the world championship in the days leading up to the race...
But some will manage to get off their bikes with a fast (ish) marathon ready to roll in their legs. We'll be watching up and down Ali'i drive, as the condo is right on the road and is close to the hub of the race, which is uber convenient. I believe I should be able to ride out on the Queen K on my bike to peruse the racer's faces and gauge who is going to finish strong and who is going to just finish. Sadly, I will not have a megaphone. In previous races where I spent the day spectating, having a megaphone really made everything significantly better. At the end of the day, each athlete here has spent multiple thousands of dollars for the priveledge of being here, most likely using up points, using others' points, gofundme'ing their race, asking their parents for money, dipping into their savings, etc...so no one is allowed to complain tomorrow. NO ONE! Although I will be complaining, a lot. But also cheering. I will cheer as good as I know how (which is not that good). I'm pretty excited to watch this spectacle.
It's difficult to describe the "feel" of this race, but it is certainly unlike any other IM event I have seen. Admittedly, I've not been to a world championship level race before, but I don't see how anything can quite match this. The manufacturer side of things is huge, as so many take this week to debut new products or services. There are more family members and spectators here, because it's an Ironman and it's in Hawaii (vs. a 70.3 WC in other places). And each athlete here (or almost each athlete here) is part of a specific and select group of athletes. You take the people at every Ironman event who are the most "special" (I mean that in a multitude of ways) and you put them all in one race and you've got a LOT of "special" people. I think you can guess what type of vibe I'm talking about on this one... If you can't, read my previous blogs.
Less than 24hours now! (I had to take a break to go run some 4:30/mi pace along Ali'i Drive ;)