The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Big Island, Kona Adventure

We took a one week holiday in Kona.  From January 23 to January 31. It was awesome.
Day 1. Early morning. First run from our condo along Alii Drive. Following in the footsteps of many an Ironman.
A pretty neat gate along Alii Drive.
The sign says it all. Swim start in the background.
The swim start area is surprisingly understated in size. Hard to imagine 2000 competitors packed into that tight space.
We managed to participate in a local race. The Pea Man. 1/2 mile ocean swim + 5K run.
My splits: 17:30 (swim) 0:34 (T1) 26:22 (Run) = 44:25 (final official, 12/53 OA).
The water was a little rough that morning, and I'm fairly sure the distances were all "ball-park".
Swimming at the pier is very distracting. There are 1000s of fish around you the whole time.
It was hard for me to swim and not stop to admire the fish.
Picasso Triggerfish was my favourite.
We had a lovely encounter with a giant sea turtle.
Irony? My Timex Ironman watch (less than a year old), built Ironman tough fails on the Ironman swim course and fills up with water.
Delicious Brews. Longboard lager was my go-to comfort drink. We enjoyed a nice meal here too one night.
Biking the Ironman bike route. We spent two days cycling. Day one was from Kawaihae to Hawi and back, and then to Waikoloa Road and back. Total of 90kms. This was the most scenic part of the bike ride. The ocean scenery was spectacular - whales constantly jumping about. Also, this is the hilliest part (not nasty hilly, just constant up and down), and also the windiest - but definitely nasty windy. Cross-winds particularly. We nearly got blown over a few times.
The turnaround at Hawi.
Day 2 of cycling was from Kona along the Queen K to Waikoloa Road and back (80 Km).
This is the Lava fields part of the ride.
You've got chunky lava at the start, and then, the nice smooth ropey lava near the end.
And this is pretty much what it looks like from the Airport to the Turnaround.
Taking a cliff bar in the lava.
We went around the Island to Hilo one day. Not much going on there. Total change of scenery though. From desert to Rainforest. This tree was pretty neat.
Getting "artsy" with the camera.
Into the rainforest area, near Akaka Falls. Photos can't do justice to how tropical this all looked.
Again, photos don't do justice to how large the plant life was. Huge bamboo chutes in the background.
Akaka Falls. Twice the height of Niagara Falls.
A visit to the Volcano. Pretty neat. We were unable to see any lava flows as the current breakout is happening on private property with no public access. But from the national park, it is awesome how the ground was steaming and venting all around us.
The crater.
An awesome trip up Mauna Kea. We didn't risk going to the very top, but we were still high above the clouds.
A spectacular vantage point for the sunset.
Watching the sunset into the clouds. Really nice experience.
A shot of the moon from the top of Mauna Kea. Well, actually, this is a photo of the moon as seen through the telescope setup at the visitor's centre.
Original Ironman results. 12 Finishers. Best time - 11:46. 4 finishers over 17 hours :-) And 2 in a dead tie (identical swim/bike/run splits -- the original drafters, lol).
No, it's not Sean Connery.
A Hawaiian sunset as shot from our "Lanai". The back-deck of our condo.