Season Opener: Lavaman Triathlon
Wow, it was finally here, the first race of the season. I always love the first race. Nerves, lots of bathroom stops, seeing people you only see at the races, friends, and competitors, all wrapped up in the beautiful Hawaii morning.
Once in transition, I was filling my front water bottle with water and Heed I happened to glance at the bottle and staring up at me from the bottle was a little gecko. We have plenty of geckos in the house and that’s great as they bring good luck and more importantly eat bugs. But when he/she stared up at me from my race bottle, I dropped the water I was using to fill it and dumped it on the competitor racked next to me. Not a great start! So, while I was trying to figure out how to get that little sucker out of there, he is refusing to leave even as I dump the water out, shake it all around, and even attempt to drown him. He likes to swim backstroke! I know that I would never drink one sip with him in there as I could only imagine that he would come up through my straw and down my throat, not to mention that I am sure he left me surprises in my bottle. Dave, from Wisconsin, # 727 had his biked racked next to mine, and laughingly said, “I have a plan”. I love people with smart plans! He took my straw out of the bottle, and used it to suck him to the end of the straw, he let him go and we watched him escape into transition area. Dave saved my race!
Lavaman was going to be a special race for me. This winter my mom passed away and her wishes were to be buried in the ocean at “A-Bay”. My dad, siblings, and spouses all converged on Kona at the end of February and buried my mom’s ashes in the blue, whale filled ocean. The exact spot is in A-Bay the site of the swim for Lavaman. It was such a special place for me to be and re-connect with my mom. I cried, smiled, laughed, and eagerly jumped in for the swim portion because I knew she would be there watching me like she has done in the past. It was pretty powerful morning for me. Mom led me to my fastest swim that morning, three minutes faster than 2008!
I love the bike, especially in Hawaii. The course begins at the Waikoloa and we ride to Kukio through a tunnel under the highway and then head home. It is a great bike ride mostly flat to rolling hills, lots of sunshine and a nice head wind heading back. I had a good ride and after starting in the last swim wave, I was able to see many people out on the course.
The run is through the grounds of the Waikoloa, around the hotel, on to single track lava trails, coral, and finally a beach finish. It is one of the prettiest yet challenging runs all in one 10k event.
The post race party is awesome. Kona Brewery beer, lunch provide by the Hilton. The best post race party ever! Fresh fruit, cookies, turkey wraps, beans, hamburgers, chicken…did I mention beer? Oh, and a great band. All in all a perfect ending to this season opener. I highly recommend the race. Oh, and winners receive fresh Kunitake Kona Coffee and hand made rice bowls. Pretty cool awards.
See you at the race…. Laura