Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kona diary Day 3: legends....

friends and family,

Day 3 here in Kona has been a bit of whirlwind. The winds are up, the swells in the ocean are up, the local surfers are happy; the triathletes are nervous!!

For those not too far off their rocker and into this sport like me (all of you clearly smarter!) today was unveiling of the new Specialized Tri specific bike. Essentially this little rocket is causing a stir in the sport because they signed Craig Alexander to promote the bike. I don't know all the details other than Craig was riding Orbea for the past 7 years, showed up at the half Ironman world championship in Vegas 3 weeks ago on a Cervelo causing major internet forum buzz, and is now front center on Team Specialized. Personally the marketing cynic in me believes Specialized paid him to show up at said Half Ironman on a Cervelo to create the buzz then held the secret until today about he joining them as day one of Super Bike launch....but that is just me. I hate marketing...anyway...

The upside of the Super-Bike Specialized launch was having the pro team in town to do the promotion. The best part of triathlon is our culture where pro's start the same course amateurs do, and sleep in same hotels and eat at same restaurants. It's not cycling elitism; its community. This morning at Lava Java, the local hangout in town for great coffee and food, Meredith and I shared breakfast with:

- Olympic gold and silver medalist Simon Whitfield
- World and Olympic champion Emma Snowsill
- 3 time world champion (duathlon, junior tri, elite pro) Tim Don
- 2 time world champion Javier Gomez
- Multiple world series race winner and 2012 Olympic favourite Paula Findlay
- Fastest Ironman record holder  at 7:45 Mario Vanhaucker (before it was lowered to 7:41 by Realart)
- 2 time Kona Ironman Champion Norman Stadler

That was the breakfast crowd! Fine company and yes, I was a little star struck truth be told. Mostly by Javier, he oozes class mate, he really does. He is to the right of this photo of Simon and Paula.

I also got to have a quick chat with one of my top 3 favourite Ironman athletes Norman Stadler. He retired this year after open heart surgery. He's a class guy in my opinion. A two time champion. He put Kuota bikes on the map and owns the Kona bike course record riding 180kms in 4:18. Yes, I typed that....4:18. Ridiculously FAST!

My day was book ended with an ocean swim out the Coffees of Hawaii floating espresso bar; a 45km ride into 40-50km/hr winds to Hapuna Beach and ending with a Team Canada dinner at the Kona Brewing company. Great evening to cap off a great day.

Thanks for reading.

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