We didn't get much sleep during our first night in Kona so by 5am, with only 6 hours of sleep, we decided to get up and start the day.
Around 6am, the ocean was in clear view from our balcony and Karel and I smiled as this was our view for the next 2 weeks.
Karel put together our bikes and then we made a trip to the grocery store (first SafeWay, then Walmart). The food is much more expensive here on the island compared to the states but with cooking our meals at our condo, we save a lot of money (versus a hotel room and eating out every meal, every day).
After grocery shopping, it was time for breakfast so we ate a light breakfast around 9am and then headed to the pier for a swim.
The Ironman World Championship offers many iconic images that we often see on TV, DVDs, You Tube videos or in pictures. Words can't describe how cool it is to "be there" and experience it all first hand. Whether you are an athlete, volunteer or spectator, the atmosphere in Kona during the week before the Ironman World Championship is indescribable.
And crazy to think that it's not even race week and there are triathletes everywhere!
We went for a very EZ 45 minute, ~1.3 mile swim in the ocean. With big orange buoys set-up, it made for easy sighting. If you have never swam in Kona, the views on the bottom of the ocean floor are amazing - it's like swimming in a fish tank!
After our swim workout, we did a little shopping and walking around on Ali'i drive and then walked back to our condo.
After lunch, we did a little work on the computer and rested for about 30 minutes and then got ready for our first ride on the Queen K Hwy.
It was a long time in the making, but we finally got to met Jana - a super fast and strong Czech athlete who lives in MA.
Karel and Jana felt at home, talking Czech to one another. It's not that often that either can hang out with another triathlete and speak their native language.
We rode for a total of 24 miles and around 75 minutes. We had a fun tailwind going out and side/head wind coming home. We included a few pick-ups to help wake up the legs.
Nothing but ocean and lava views for miles and miles and miles.
The IM Kona bike course is a true test for mental toughness.
After the ride, Karel and I went back to our condo, had a Clif bar recovery drink and cleaned up. We weren't quite ready for dinner so we walked around on Ali'i drive and then had dinner around 6:30pm.
Early in the day, I made a quinoa, jasmine rice and sauteed (in olive oil) onion, chopped ginger and chickpea dish. I combined with chopped savoy cabbage for a delish dinner.
Karel made a rice/chicken dish and also had some of my chickpea dish.
By 8:30pm, we were ready for bed and excited for another day of exploring and enjoying Kona.