Prior to the race start, the favorite Chrissie Wellington pulled out due to illness. Big news - The ladies field is wide open...Brian and I positioned ourselves on the pier between NBC Sports And Eurosports Germany. In it with the big boys baby. I have seen it 10 times before and every time it is more spectacular. 1800 people line up between the pier and a floating island not more than 100 meters wide. Everyone is jockeying for position wanting to try an establish clear water when the gun goes off. As we stood anticipating the cannon, boom, it went off. The entire crew on the pier jump in unison. The race had begun. Glancing toward the other side of the bay, it was hard not to feel a bit of pride. To witness a spectacle of this nature is both inspiring and magical. These athletes are living their dream...To become an Ironman. The pictures tell it all.
There has been a change to the starting time for the pros this year. They will begin a half hour before the amateurs. The feeling is that this will create a better racing environment for the pro women. We just saw the top pro men setting up their bikes. Each going through their pre-race routines, occasionally checking out what the other was doing. The air is thick with energy. Who will be on today? Each hopes it is them. Race weather calls for hot weather and little wind. What that means it that it will be hotter than predicted and the wind will be fierce. Check back in an hour for swim results and photos.
It is 3:38 am. The Day is finally here - The 2010 Irorman World Championship. In less than 4 hours, the cannon will sound and 1,800 athletes will begin their journey to become an Ironman. It does not matter if this is their first time or their 20th, being a part of this day is simply a privilege. You realize it when you arrive here and you never forget it.
I awoke feeling like I was doing the race. The excitement I feel is like a 4 year old before they go downstairs on Christmas morning. The best part is that I can stay in my flip flops all day long, and the only time my heart rate will rise will be when I run to the press tent to get another hogie sandwich. I love this....today I get to watch others make their dreams come true. I feel very lucky to be able to look from outside the ropes and witness one of the greatest athletic events on the planet.
Our first photos and post will come shorty after the swim start, and will continue regularly throughout the day.
Hawaii has some of the best micro brews in the world. The team decided to take it upon ourselves to give them all a try. Just so everyone knows, I was back home and in bed first. The rest of the team came home a bit later than I.... Thank you to Lulu's Bar and Grill here in Kona for being a part of our Kona Beer Review. It was such a success that we might have to do it again next year.
Jamie - Slight bite with a hint of blackberry (Rating 7.7)
Casey - Full flavor with a hint of oak (Rating 6.0)
Brian - Smoky but succulent (Rating 7.34)
Kona Long Board
Jamie - Smooth with an elegant aftertaste (Rating 8.69)
Casey - Crisp and refreshing (Rating 8.99)
Brian - Strong flavor but not overbearing (Rating 7.96)
Kona Big Wave
Jamie - Fruity with a hint of tangerine (Rating 8.44)
Casey - Full flavored with a lasting aftertaste (Rating 7.98)
Brian - Big Wave has a Big taste (Rating 9.11)
Jamie - A hint of passionfruit, light and refreshing (Rating 7.44)
Casey - Yuck (Rating 5.45)
Brian - Yucky Yucky (Rating 2.17)
Jamie - Dark and smooth. Rich aftertaste (Rating 6.66)
Casey - Makes me ..........(Rating 9.99)
Brian - I ready to go home (5.55)
Alii Drive - the place where dreams are made. When you mention the words Alii Drive to a triathlete, it is like mentioning Wrigley Field to a baseball player. This street has seen more emotion than any other street in the world. It is where the journey of Ironman ends. The finish line is located on this famous street. It is where athletes become truly become an Ironman. It is the place where everything becomes different. It is the mecca for the the Ironman triathlete. But today, we have decided to transform Alii drive into the Ironman Hopscotch. Last night, under the cover of dark, we drew a hopscotch course near where these triathletes will become Iron men and women. The next morning we grabbed a cup of coffee and began to film. The Ironman Hopscotch was born. Hundreds of people, unprompted, took part in this first annual event. Each finishing with a smile on their face. They had become an Ironhopper. Like those that will cross the finish line tomorrow at the 2010 Ironman World Championships, these participants are forever changed.
Wow - one day to go. Athletes are doing their final prep. Throughout the day the triathletes will be checking in their bikes at the pier. They will remain there overnight. It is estimated that the total value of the 1800 bikes is a mere 6 million dollars. Ironman triathletes do not hesitate on spending $80 on each tire for their bike. That is more than some spend on their car. The machines these athletes ride weigh less than 20 pounds. Here is a bike on sale at the expo. It retails for $8,499.
The swim course is an elongated rectangle, more than 1 mile long and 100 yards wide. It starts on the east side of the Kailua Pier, goes south 1.2 miles and returns to the pier. Athletes must swim in a clockwise direction, keep all marker buoys on their right and swim around the turnaround buoy. The start line is in the water, approximately 60 yards from shore. The swim finish line will be accentuated by one or more colorful “targets.” Lane lines will mark the channel to the swim exit. Even with these race day targets, it is highly recommended that for training and even during the race, athletes use the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel as their reference. The water temperature is expected to be 79 degrees Fahrenheit. There is usually no surf, but athletes may encounter small swells parallel to the course. Wind chop does not usually occur early in the morning. Currents vary, but are usually weak when moving across the course.
The bike course begins as athletes exit the transition area, located at Kailua Pier. Athletes will travel up Palani Road to Kuakini Highway, then left on to Kuakini Highway (toward the Old Airport Park). Athletes will next make a right turn onto Makala Boulevard, traveling toward the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. They will then turn right on the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to Palani Road, and make a right turn onto Palani Road. (Please note: The Palani Road descent is a NO PASS ZONE. Penalties will be issued to aggressive cyclists.) Athletes make a left turn onto Kuakini Highway to Kahakai Estates Subdivision and return back along Kuakini to Palani Road. They will turn right up Palani and then left onto the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and travel north to Hawi. Along the route, the terrain is rolling with several quarter to one mile hills that reach a maximum grade of about 6 percent (six foot rise for each 100 feet of distance). The bike turnaround is located in Hawi, and is one of the official checkpoints on the course. After the turnaround, athletes will be headed back toward town along the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, all the way to Makala Boulevard. Athletes turn right on Makala Boulevard to Kuakini Highway and turn left on Kuakini Highway to Palani Road. Finally, they will turn right onto Palani Road and continue to the transition area. The first aid station is located 15.2 miles out, and additional aid stations will be located approximately every seven miles after that along the bike course.
The run - To begin the marathon, the athletes will exit transition and travel up Palani Road, then right onto Kuakini Highway to Hualalai Road. Athletes turn right on Hualalai Road then left onto Ali’i Drive, continuing south on Ali’i Drive to St. Peters Church near Kahalu’u Beach. This is the run turnaround, and one of the checkpoints on the run course. After completing the turnaround, athletes head north on Ali’i Drive to Hualalai Road. Athletes turn right on Hualalai Road to Kuakini Highway and then turn left. Proceeding north on Kuakini Highway to Palani Road, they will turn right on Palani Road to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. Athletes travel left on to the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway to Natural Energy Road at the Natural Energy Lab of Hawai’i Authority (NELHA); travel in and out of Natural Energy Road and back onto the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway toward town. Athletes turn right on Palani Road, left on Kuakini Highway, right on Hualalai and right on Ali’i Drive to the finish line! Aid stations will be located approximately one mile apart along the course.
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Kona Beer Review up soon,,,,,,,,
Now more on the serious side...This year's race, in my opinion, will be one of the greatest. I have told people that this race is going to be the closest in history. There is no true favorite. Yes - Craig "Crowey" Alexander is the favorite due to his victory last year, but he won by less than three minutes. There are a least 5 men who could win this year's race and 5 more that could truly surprise everyone.
Last year's runner up, Chris Lieto, known for his incredible cycling power, and not for his run has been training at altitude with top American marathon runner, Ryan Hall. Chris spent more than 4 weeks training at Mammoth Lake at an altitude of 8,000 feet. He is more prepared than ever. He looks forward to the run to show the world that he is not only the best cyclist in Ironman, but also one of the best runners. Last year Chris averaged 24.5 miles per hour on the bike for 112 miles. My moped I rented this week in Hawaii barely goes 30 mph. I am going to have a hard time keeping up with Chris on Saturday.
Knowing Chris and understanding his passion for this sport and the effort he put into this year's training, I believe that this is his year. Chris is capable of breaking the bike course record of 4 hours and 18 minutes. He rode it in 4 hours and 25 min last year. If Chris is able to get off the bike with a 10 minute lead, the race is his. Below, you will find a photo of Chris Lieto and Craig Alexander at the Press Conference.
Here are my Men's Race Predictions
1. Chris Lieto
2. Craig Alexander
3. Eneko LLanos
4. Rasmus Henning
5. Terenzo Bozzone