Friday, October 5, 2007

Things I didn't know about IronMan Hawaii

For next year's lottery winners or even qualifiers, here are some things I didn't know until I arrived:
* Feel free to wear your ironman or marathon t-shirt, but you're not going to impress anyone with it. The cool kids wear pro-only prototype technical gear or special edition sponsor wear (there's a beautiful Cervelo Kona shirt).
* The Australians congregate at the Kona Islander. Bring some meat to the communal barbecue, and enjoy the company.
* The Germans congregate at the Royal Kona. The Germans in speedos stereotype is shockingly accurate so far, so wear your sunglasses if you go.
* Big Island Running in Alii Sunset Plaza is a real running store, where the owner actually knows his stuff. He has an incredible collection of signed ironman posters, and some good stories
* There's a McDonalds on Kuakini east of Palani. Just in case.
* Bring more tires and tubes than you think you need. The lava rock is ridiculously sharp, and the last thing you want is to be sitting on the side of the road shouting "another flat tieyuh!!!". If you brought too many, take a drive to Hawi. There will be somebody along the way walking their bike because they ran out. Be a Kona angel.
* Kona is crawling with homeless folks - some of whom ride some very nice bicycles. Nuff said?
* Unless you're Norman or Belinda, there's somebody here who is going to make you look and feel tremendously out of shape. Deal with it.
* Just like in final four towns, some stores downtown get turned into event stores. The difference is that, in addition to t-shirts, these stores sell high end bike and tri gear. Some so new it doesn't have boxes or labels. Unlike final four stores, these are just extensions of local bike, tri and running stores, so not fly-by-night operations.
* There are random tourists here who have no idea what's going on. They can be good for a reality check when everyone else is talking about 'easy' ironmans compared to 'competitive' ones.
* Lava Java has a plate-sized cinammon roll just the smell of which can make you gain five pounds.

I'm sure I'll have more later.