We arrived at the Hawaii airport on Thursday morning before the race. I got off the plane and immediately began my weather assessment. Overcast.....good. Not too hot......great. Only light winds.....excellent. But if there's one thing about Hawaii that I know....the winds in Kona or by the airport can be decidedly different than what they are up by the race course and into Hawi (the turnaround for the bike course).
We waited for Ryan's (my step-son) flight to arrive from Tucson and then picked up the rental car and went to dump the luggage at the hotel. Then I figured I may as well go pick up my bike, rather than wait until Friday. We made the drive up to 'race central' in about 45 minutes and I quickly got registered and found Tri-Bike Transport to pick up my bike. They put my pedals back on the bike and I grabbed a pump to fill my tires. Uhhhhh.....evidently the valve extender on the rear tire wasn't sealing properly and I couldn't get any air in. I wasn't really prepared to fix it myself (didn't have all the supplies, lesson learned) so I dropped the bike off at the on-site bike shop. Yeah, me and about a hundred of my closest friends. It would be a few hours before they could get to it, so I told them I'd just pick it up in the morning and we headed off to find dinner and hit the grocery store.
On Friday, we trekked back up to pick up my bike and then headed to the beach so I could check it out and do my pre-race brick workout. Helllllooooo wind. I swam out about 10 minutes and turned around to come back in. Or tried to come back in. Maybe a clue to the strength of the current/wind was the guy on a surfboard I saw chasing down one of the run-away buoys. Or how about the two Team In Training swimmers who were being rescued by the lifeguards. But I didn't panic too much.....yet. After all it was much later than I'd be swimming on race day. I finished up my brick and then as instructed got *out* of the sun. We made the drive to Hawi so I could refresh the bike course in my mind. Can I panic now? Evidently I could. I freaked out a little and sent coach a panicked email. She did her best to calm my nerves and let me know that I was ready for this. On the way back we dropped my bike off at T1 and I hit the athlete's meeting. "Winds 10 early, to 25 later in the morning, gusting to 35." "Hardest run course on the 70.3 circuit." Oh joy. More panicking. Deep breaths, early dinner, and early to bed.
Race morning we were up *way* before the crack of dawn. We made the drive up to the race, parked the car, and grabbed the shuttle to T1 (transitions were in different locations for this race). As soon as we climbed off the bus, the wind hit us. Not good. I went thru my set up, making sure everything I needed was in my bike bag or on my bike. I sprayed my back with sunscreen, got body marked, and suited up to head down for a warm up swim. The warm up went well. The water felt good, my swim stroke felt good. Ready to go. But evidently I didn't give the wind enough consideration. I mean....this doesn't look *too* bad.....right? RIGHT?!?! Wrong.