I arrived Sunday night, having flown into Kona for the first time. What struck me most was the barren, open landscape that is so well known the triathletes who will compete in the Ford Ironman World Championships this coming Saturday 7:00 a.m. local time (for age groupers and 6:45 a.m. for the professionals).
I am here gathering information for our Cadence Kona Challenge that will take place the following weekend, October 19-21 at Cadence NYC. Thousands of applicants have now been whittled down to 100 semi finalists who will compete for the 6 coveted final positions. Platinum Cadence level coaching, physiological testing, Cyfac bikes equipped with Zipp wheelsets and Sram groups, Suunto HR monitors, Zoot wetsuits, Sidi shoes, LAS helmets, and Enervit nutrition products will be awarded to and used by the 6 finalists. Cadence, in conjunction with Triathlete Magazine, will chronicle the training and lifestyle of those six athletes as they prepare for an IronMan event.
Back to Kona...and the winds. Many people have written about the Hawaii winds but until you ride out and back on the Queen K to Hawi it is impossible to fathom how strong and prevalent they are. I raced many years in Belgium and Holland in the classics, semi classics and Belgian Kermesses fighting for the gutter on many occasions, but these Kona winds really mess with your head. No rhyme or reason as to when they pick up or let off; and out or back, it just doesn’t make a difference. Yesterday I was nearly blown off my bike and my athlete, Mike Egan, had the same issue, having to get out of the aero position and ride in the drops so he would not be sent into the gravel. If the winds stay as strong today as race day, it will be a cyclist winner such as last year's champ, Norman Stadler, that wins again in 2007.
Stay tuned for move coverage regarding the athletes and strategy leading up to the race!