Kona was a fantastic experience. Surprisingly, for us the lasting memories have little to do with the race. It just turned out to be a superb trip. But let’s get the race out of the way first.
We got in 5 or 6 days before race day. I assembled the bike and trained a bit. I stayed outside the areas where the serious athletes were conglomerating. Rode beyond the airport, once even near Hawi, swam miles away from Kona, to the south where we were staying. The little we saw of Kona during race week was madness. We needed none of it.
Race day rolled around soon enough. I raced without goals or worries, just tried to enjoy the experience, not get in trouble. As a result, I did enjoy the experience, remember a good chunk of it, and all of it is positive. I was also slow, finished three quarters of an hour off my PB. I don’t mind it at all. Kona is a fantastic race, I do understand why people fall in love with it. Conditions were also favorable this year, so I even had it easy, relatively speaking.
Ok, onto the good stuff. Hawaii is fantastic. We had one of the best vacations ever. We have seen sea turtles (often!), snorkeled with amazing numbers of beautiful tropical fish, saw volcanos and lava fields, rainforests and waterfalls, counted chameleons on avocado trees at a coffee plantation. Our baby daughter learned to snorkel, and our teenager learned to ride a longboard. People were friendly. Food was great. The landscape staggering, mesmerizing.
So now the girls want to go back… Which raises the question whether I should go back and try to qualify again. Or just go, vacation on the Big Island, and forget the race…