After the island has been quiet and nice the first week and a half during the last week prior to the race it started getting real busy. Most athletes seemed to come in between Saturday and Tuesday before the race!
Swimming at the Pier can’t really be recommended in the morning anymore. Of course it is nice and almost a must to swim out to the Coffees of Hawaii platform to get your shot of coffee on the ocean or dive for one of the Blue Seventy swim goggles the drop into the ocean – if you can dive for them they are yours! The other days try to get into the water some time after 9:30 – most athletes are gone by then and it is much more relaxed to swim and it also appears that more and more beautiful fish show up during the later hours of the morning!
If you don’t take the time snorkeling – you are missing out on an unforgettable experience.
Overall it is a great atmosphere when the tension in the air is picking up – athletes are trying to show off a little and for a couple of days a year there is triathlon in the air. Just make sure you don’t get pushed to much by the atmosphere. I have the feeling some people were pushing way too hard the last 2 days before the race!
Of course – as everywhere – there were some people trying a little ( or a lot) too hard. When you start riding your bike to the public pool (which by the way is free admission year round. How cool is that!!!) to start a run from the pool, come back and ride off after stretching out a little at the pool – without swimming at all – your are trying way tooooo hard!
Same accounts for when you’re riding up and down Alii Drive for the 6th time of the day and sit next to the Lava Java (still one of THE hotspots during race week) for the 10th time this day!!! WAY TOOOO HARD!
During mid-week the race expo opened and there was some great stuff to see! You could test run natural running shoes by ECCO, test ride FELT, CERVELO and other bikes or get inspired by the latest in triathlon gear and nutrition. If you time it right you even find a lot of pros at the booths giving autographs.
Don’t hope for too much free swag though – the guys there at the expo are experienced and know how the game works 🙂
One of the coolest things is the different ‘aid stations’ along Alii Drive set up during race week. GU, Cliff, PowerBar and many others set up little stations where you can refresh yourself during your run / ride session down Alii Drive. So no need to cary a water bottle when running. There is plenty to drink. Which you will need by the way. Sun on Hawaii is completely different story to many other places in the world. It’s less the heat than the intensity of the sun. Don’t let vanity get in your way and make sure you use sun screen all the time. You’ll get tanned enough anyways to show off – at least in Europe around that time of year 🙂
Thursday before the race we took a boat trip with Hannes Hawaii Tours – super cool guys – you gotta hang with them when on the island. The boat trip takes you out on the ocean – following Alii Drive and after about 45 minutes it ankers on the ocean- Plenty of time for you to snorkel (equipment is offered on board), take the water slide off the boat into the ocean or jump off the 15feet platform off the boat! If you’re an athlete racing on the weekend though – try to catch one of the trips Hannes is offering Monday and Tuesday. The sun and the ocean suck your energy and I wouldn’t recommend it 2 days before the race!
So far for now! Race Day report and our summary with suggestions of what to do on the island, how to prep yourself for IM Hawaii, etc will follow!