Race day snuck up on us quickly, as we all knew that it would. Everyone was up and full of nervous excitement by 4am and ready to head down to the pier. Our faithful Chauffeur Khai took the helm and drove us all down to transition, dropping off Will and Danny before parking. We snapped a quick pic of Danny and Misha before leaving and then were off to start a long and successful day in the Kona heat:
When Khai and Stephanie (Will's most awesome fiance) and I got down to transition we ran into Sergio and I gave him a big good luck hug (I should have known better than to think that I would be good luck)
We then found a spot on the stands that would thought might allow us a glimpse of the swim start:
Then a guy came around handing out COWBELLS!
We had all thought that we had seen the last of our athletes, when Will found us! We were all very excited to see him. This was his very first shot at Kona. He had never raced here as an age grouper or pro and had been super nervous all week. He's a great cold weather racer and the heat is his enemy. My only words of advice were to start freebasing salt early in the week and keep it going to the finish line.
We had a little joke going with Will all week that he needed to win the race. But the race we were talking about was the women's race. We had a short list of people for Will to focus on and Chrissie was at the top of the list. It was no disrespect to Chrissie- quite the opposite. We knew she was going to race like a rockstar and it would be a tough battle to cross the line before her, man or woman. So we left him that morning with one last "make us proud Will, don't be second woman!".
And a very cute picture of Will's family and friends having a pre-race pow wow. He had quite the entourage in Kona!
Then it was time for the pre-swim ceremony by the local musicians
Boom goes the cannon!
After the age-groupers went off I ran over to the hot corner so that I could get some good pics of the athletes starting the ride. Here are some of the pics that I took. I missed most of our crew. I saw them, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera.
First to the hot corner:
Then the SECOND bit of bad luck on the day for Sergio. First, his chip fell off in the water and that held him up in T1, then just as he went by me we all heard something that made our hearts sink. A flat. It was Sergio. Unfortunately when he went to change it, the new tube burst as well. So 10-15 minutes later and a new wheel he was off to try to make up some ground:
While Sergio was fixing his flat, Chrissie came screaming by!
And then Will! Go get her Will!
I saw Jacqui, Tracy and Danny ride by looking strong and then took a break back at the condo waiting for them to return.
We watched the online coverage until the cyclists made it to about mile 100 and then Misha and I rode our bikes to the 1 mile marker of the run. When the helicopter made it back into town we knew they were back.
The first to reach us was Sinballe. He was not looking very fresh and it looked like he wouldn't be in the lead for that much longer.
Stadler wasn't far behind...
And Faris was a bit farther back in the field
Oh my gosh, is that Shawn from NUUN?
And there comes ANDY POTTS! (SUPASTAR). As he went by he asked Shawn what place he was in. He was completely stoked to hear he was near the top 10. It was cool to see him so happy.
Then... who is that coming up the road??? Is that WILL?????
And he's being CHASED!
Looking strong, he came back the other way!
But she was catching up!
And here comes T-racer!
And now for some comedy relief...
Coming out of the energy lab, she has taken the lead!
And Will is starting to look a bit rough....
Next up, Sergio enters the energy lab
Followed by T-racer
Followed by Jacqui
Then Sergio is out. And this is where I got a glimpse of why Sergio was so far back in the pack. Not only did he lose his chip in the swim and flat twice in the first 2 miles of the bike course, but he also crashed in the wind. Look at his shoulder here. Despite all that had gone wrong, he pulled himself together to finish the race. Sergio, you are my new hero :-)
Then Rachel Ross headed into the energy lab:
Then Tracy came out. The volunteers there were not really stellar and ended up stopping her in her tracks with little warning:
But she was quickly off again and headed home
Then it was Danny heading in!
And Jacqui was closely behind headed out to chase Tracy:
Then I jumped on my bike and headed to the finish to catch everyone (except Will, who was already done) finish.
When I got there I saw Will and Stephanie. Turned out that Will sucked it up and gave chase in the last 4 miles, repassing Chrissie with a mile to go and finishing with an awesome 31st place finish with a 3:01 run at his first Kona! The funny thing is that when Chrissie got her flat, Will was the guy who stopped to give Chrissie CO2 to fill up the new wheel. I guess when she passed him in the energy lab, he told her that she better win the race! Good stuff.
The post-race glow:
Tracy and Jacqui both had awesome races as well, both with PRs for the run. Tracy took 21st place at her first Kona as a pro. And Danny had very solid day out there too. A great day in all for the crew.
I'll post later some reflections on the race and on the med-tent.
Two BIG Pre-Race Developments
20 hours ago