Saturday, October 11, 2008

Race Day Update

The day began at 4:41 am.

Who am I kidding. It began at 11:56 pm, the first time Chris woke up. 2:26 am, the next time. 3:33 am, up again. And finally around 4 am when he must have said why bother and just started the day.

He was off before I knew it without saying much. That's just the way Chris rolls. He was sitting quietly on the bed with a cup of coffee saying whatever he says to himself with an entire day of racing ahead. Then, he was on the bus off to the race.

We walked down to the race start and it was an amazing sight. Hundreds of spectators waving flags from around the world, different languages buzzing in the early morning hours and the voice of Mike Reilly filling the air.



Thomas quickly pointed out the volcano rising to our right. For the first time in over 6 days the sky was absolutely clear. You could see the top of the mountain - a sight that had not yet been seen. This could only mean one thing - it was going to be hot. Really, really hot today.

First we watched the water. The pros lined up with a cannon shot a flurry of arms soon feel into a long straight line. Three separate lines to be exact.

Meanwhile the age groupers waited to enter the water. Here they are lined up at the small beach.


The age groupers entered the water in a nervous frenzy of arms and green caps rushing towards the front.



The cannon goes off and......

It's go time! The age group start was anxious with arms flying, chopping, water spraying. I could feel it, the fear, the rush, the vastness of the day that would lie ahead. I've been there and still I got a fluttery feeling in my stomach watching them swim by.


Next up we walked to the hot corner at Kuakini and Palani to wait for the first pros. Of course Andy Potts flies up the hill followed by two others.



A few minutes later - a nice gap indeed - the main field filled with top contenders followed - Craig Alexander, Macca, Lieto. Other pros straggled in with small packs and finally just trickled one by one. It appeared the women pros were led out on the bike by Gina Kehr followed quickly by a few more including Wellington.

Then the age groupers - Tim Hola, Jeff Keil, Adam Zucco, Rachel Ross all out ahead of many others. So many others were attacking the hill on Palani with fury expending huge effort for what would be a greatly insignificant part of the entire day.

Chris came by 100 percent relaxed. Almost too much so! I told him to get moving! He doesn't have all day, right? He looked smooth and relaxed up and down Kuakini, too.

We headed over to Lava Java for a tasty breakfast. A specathlete needs fuel for sure. I'm already exhausted. I will say that Kerrie Wlad has taken the spectathlon lead. Even before the race started she was out of breath and sweating. Seems that her husband forget - I repeat FORGOT - his nutrition plan at their hotel about 6 miles away. She was wife-on-the-spot and got it to him.

Walking back along Alii we found some spectators decorating the road in chalk and asked to borrow a few pieces. We colored the road in GO WATERSTRAAT'S and for the record I was the one that wrote I *heart* Rachel Ross. Thomas suggested I write ROSS IS BOSS but I ran out of chalk by then.



Now we are resting. The day is heating up and the sun is still out. I will be perched along Alii Drive in about an hour watching the pros run by. Chris should be coming along in another few hours. He's been on the bike for 3 so he is probably descending from Hawi right now.

It will be a long day but I believe a day where nothing will matter until mile 18 of the run. It's too hot to take big risks. Take my word for it. But then it's a world championship and as many of these top athletes know, it's going to take a few risks to get ahead.

Thomas is reading me updates about the race - sounds like things are really shake up out there. One thing is certain - a very exciting finish is ahead. More later...

1 comment:

rr said...

aww, thanks for hearting me! and the cheering.. awesome spectating.

Congrats to waterboy.. sorry for passing.