Saturday’s Ironman World Championship was another truly epic race and as always I felt the pull to be there. Luckily the coverage gets a little better every year and while sipping Mai Tails in front of the TV isn’t quite as fun as doing the same on Ali’i Drive it is still a must watch event for any triathlete. Kona also remains an event that motivates and inspires many a person to register and take up the challenge with the hope of one day racing at our sports biggest event.
A few thoughts on the day;
Records didn’t just go down yesterday, they were shattered. And there is a good chance these records are going to stand for a number of years. In all of my years racing on the Big Island I never saw a day that set athletes up for record breaking as this past Saturday. Finally the conditions for all three sports lined up just perfectly. Normally a super windy day on the bike would be met with overcast skies and decent conditions for a fast run, but the effort it took to ride the 180k deadened even the strongest/fastest runners legs. On other race days where the wind was a non factor on the bike, the temperature or humidity (or both) soared and the run would become a death march and a race of attrition (which always worked in my favour). Even the swim conditions yesterday allowed for two new swim records (records that had been in the books for a number of years as well).
What I would never say is that yesterday was an “easy” day on the Big Island. Anyone who has ever done an Ironman knows that there is no such thing. So when I hear people say that yesterday was an easy day, I kind of chuckle. Yes, it might have been kinder conditions for the athletes, but all that meant is that the smart athletes rode the efforts that they had trained for but were “allowed” to go faster by Madame Pele. They finished just as shattered and just as sore as on a windy, hot day. I even know a few athletes that raced on the edge for podium placings and their days ended before the finish line. Easy their day was not!
A big congratulations goes out to everyone that made it to the start line. To those that realized their dream of crossing the finish line, in record breaking time or otherwise, you are now a part of history.