With our Trimarni athletes in town (both first time IM Kona athletes), we planned their first workout on the big island with a ride to Hawi.
Justine and Leigh Ann both wanted to experience the winds in Hawi, which we really appreciated as they want to be as physically and mentally prepared for the many elements that they will encounter on race day.
We drove to the Mauna Lani shops to park the car, before making our way out on the Queen K before turning off, on to Kawaihae.
Before heading out on the ride, Karel gave our athletes a bit of a refresher for how to ride in the winds.
No, you do not lean your bike against the wind. You let your bike go with the wind direction and then you counteract the wind by shifting your weight toward the wind while counter-steering to keep your bike riding straight without feeling like you are getting blown off the road with your bike.
Thinking that we would get some strong winds when we hit Hawi, we actually had some nasty winds right when we started the bike. Even with drafting off Karel, the winds were blowing.
We recollected ourselves before turning toward Hawi and then enjoyed a mile of flying downhill (without wind) before making the turn off to start the "official" climb to Hawi.
After a few miles of very calm conditions, Karel went off on his own while Justine and Leigh Ann took mental notes of the 18 mile climb up to Hawi.
We enjoyed about 8 miles or so of very calm conditions with no white caps to spot in the ocean (indicating calm winds), until the wind started to pick up.
Here are a few pics of our climb up to Hawi before my hands needed to stay on my handlebars while navigating the windy conditions.
With around 7 miles to go, the rain started to fall and it was very refreshing to cool down our body temp. Perhaps in any other Ironman, athletes may dread rain on the bike course but in Hawi, it is very welcomed as it helps reduce core body temp before the hottest part of the course is reached in the mile before turning back on to the Queen K.
The ride back down from Hawi was fast but it did include a few strong gusts of wind. I wasn't the windiest conditions that I have ever experienced but it's always a bit of a shock to the mind/body to ride through the Hawi winds, while descending down a hill.
Karel and I were extremely impressed with Justine and Leigh Ann who learned a lot about this section of the IM Kona course, but also how they performed during their first ride in Kona. Well done ladies! All those variable cadence workouts are now paying off!
Karel made himself a delicious mashed potato, chicken and salad meal for the middle of the afternoon, which totally hit the spot after his 3 hour bike + 15 min run.
Most of the afternoon for Karel is spent indoor, in the AC, relaxing but we do try to get out sometime in the evening to enjoy the Kona sunset.
And Natascha Badmann! Her first Kona was in 1996! So sad that this will be her last IM Kona. She is a bright light in this sport who always brings a smile to race day.
The town is really coming together to let everyone know IM World Championship race week is almost here!