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Kona One Last Time
CBD Cycles - 26/10/2012
Everything steps up a notch come Monday before the race.

The early morning swim is like getting to the MCG to watch Collingwood play on a Saturday afternoon. I'm showing my age, that's when football used to be played.

This year for some reason the swim training sessions resemble the post Christmas sale at Myers and DJ's...everyone scrambling about with a lack of the organisation of past years. Swimmers out on the right and coming back on the left seems to have been a reasonable system plus it avoided the potential to collide with another swimmer. Enter free for all.

There has even been traffic gridlocks in Kona ...sucking the carbon dioxide makes be misty eyed thinking I'm heading to work along Beach Road following an early morning bike session.

The merchandising and product promotion extends all along the downtown section of Kona up to Lava Java coffee and beyond ...bikes, running gear, nutrition, t shirts .....some are bizarre ..ice packs that you put in your compression leggings. It lasts 30 minutes in the Kona heat ..then what ??? Will there be a van on the course to replace the ice pack at mile 3, 6, 9 and beyond ? There is even advertising billboard's on the ocean floor ....just in case you missed the plethora on display in the streets.

Monday night we went to the over 60's dinner...with a lot of self denial but Ann thought I should do the right thing and attend. It was spot the old guy attending as we approached the King Kam... new runners, hitched pants over the belly button, a finishers T from a long forgotten tri'. When we reached the venue my fears were realised.....the room was full of OLD people. !!! It's like getting a haircut or a prostrate check ..it seems like a good idea until you get to the door. Anyway we went in and found a spot with a "youthful" table.

The compare/ organiser was a Kona vet....at 82 he was in remarkable shape and peeled off the stories and anecdotes of his athletic life. My attention was drawn to his date...a gorgeous 18 year old blond. What the !!! He later explained to the audience of 80 or so that it was his grand daughter. He is one of seven 80-84 athletes competing this year.

After a pep talk from the Ironman CEO and Mike Riley, the mic was handed around the room for a compulsory comment from participants. We had the lot...reformed alcoholic, medical issues, injuries and ailments overcome to get to Kona....it was like an AA meeting. Interesting that this year 10% of the field is over 60 and there are over 1,000 first timers participating.

Day two in and I have several swim caps and enough power nutrition to last until Melbourne Ironman in March 2013 plus enough new T's to last a month without repeat wearing.

A compulsory distraction is the Underpants Fun Run on Thursday am. One time there were a few hundred participants....this am it was 700 plus...all lined up in an assortment of undies covering an array of bods form the holy shermoly to the what were they thinking. It casually jogs through the little town for around 1.5 km and attracts a crowd as big as race day. A voyeurs picnic.

The event was started in reaction to the horror of locals when the European and Aussie athletes started walking around town in their speedos. Each participant must take the oath pre race that they will not wear speedos into shops or restaurants while in Kona.

For some reason our niece and her boyfriend we're bemused that we were prepared to scuttle our standards and run around town in our undies......at our age. !!!

Two days out and it's hot ...uncomfortably hot and humid. The crowd at the expo has diminished, possibly as a consequence of the lack of freebies and things are not as hectic. We drove over to Hawaii to show some a first timer the course and were staggered that there were wrist banders pounding out Kms so close to the race.

There has been a bit of a buzz around town that Lance A may be here to watch the race and reflect on what might have been when he raced against me .......have not spotted him and he will never know the answer to that one.

The carbo night is done, the bikes in the compound and I am tucking into a kilo of pasta mid afternoon, more Powerade and trying to work out how to respond to messages on something called Facebook. A little meal will follow early evening to top the tank up for tomorrow. Then it's the obligatory photo at the finish line and a lingering gaze out to the buoys lining the course before bed and tomorrows mayhem.

Let the fun begin.

Kona One Last Time

David McCormack