|Mike with his cherished morning cookie and coffee|
Sometimes, the simplest things in life can be so memorable. The Kona Coffee Growers set up a coffee bar every year during Ironman week and give out free coffee and a cookie to anyone just for the asking. It is a great marketing stunt. People line up all around for a little three ounce paper cup. It only comes in regular and they will gladly add a little sugar and milk on request. No Latté, no soy milk, no tall or grande, no expresso, just coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but in Kona, this has become my morning ritual…coffee and a cookie. Now there is a catch. The coffee bar is ½ mile out in the middle of Kona Bay and the only way to get there is to swim. But this is Ironman week, so the only traffic jam in Kona at 7:15 AM is in the middle of Kona Bay. The athletes swim out to the Coffee bar (an outrigger sail boat) and back in a no organized fashion what-so-ever creating the ultimate dodge ball game. Even treading water waiting in line for coffee is fun. And the views of the fish and the ocean floor on the way out are spectacular.
|Bishop in Lava field on Queen K Highway|
Training today was focused on the Lava fields. Bishop and I rode about 30 miles on the Queen K Highway trying to practice capturing the strength from the stored up energy of the Island. It is amazing what you think about when riding through lava fields with the temperature in the three digit range.
Tuesday was also registration day and I picked up the most expensive piece of jewelry I will ever own – the Kona Athlete wrist bracelet. Now it might look like a cheap plastic band to the untrained eye, but to the more informed, it is worn by 1,800 athletes who have spent thousands of dollars on equipment and endured thousands of hours of training to earn the right to buy one. If anyone is still wondering the true value, the Ironman organization auctions off three entries on e-Bay each year for charity and they sell for $36,000 to $38,000 a piece.
|Michael, Mike Scott Rigsby, and Bishop|
At 5 PM, we walked with the USA contingent…870 strong … in the Parade of Nations down Ali’i Drive. Athletes from all over the world including three from Israel walked to the cheers of hundreds of admiring fans. As we studied the signs, stores and shops, we all knew we would be running down this same street on Saturday night to the cheers of thousands.
|Dinner with Laura and Kevin|
Laura Sophia (Current World Champion – 55-59) and Kevin Moats (Many times World Champion) joined us for a Pesto Salmon and BBQ Chicken dinner after the Parade of Nations at our house. We ate fruit grown in our back yard for dessert.
|Fox Ferrel in Kona|
Wednesday was more of the same in paradise. My morning coffee and cookie “run.” A four mile run down Ali’i Drive followed by a 20 mile bike ride past the volcano fields north of the airport. Kelly and Fox Ferrel (18 time Ironman – 5 time Kona finisher) hosted a shrimp and chicken dinner for us that include Kona Coffee Ice Cream for dessert. What an appropriate end to a really great day.
Tomorrow will be my last blog before the race and one not to miss. And as a final reminder, please help me help Getting2Tri train athletes with physical disabilities. Their camps change people’s lives by inspiring participants to regain their confidence through sports. In turn, this confidence develops hopes, dreams, new physical skills, camaraderie and a greater sense of optimism about the future. They help people with physical disabilities find their Kona.
|Getting2Tri Run Clinic|