Final Day!

Tomorrow it starts!  I can't believe it!

Well I thought I would be out here resting, but in fact I have been running around like a lunatic taking care of all the last minute details -- bike check, registration, extra parts, race wheel configuration, laundry, blah blah.  I need to rest today for sure, but we have a big pre-race meeting this morning, then a crew team meeting, then I pick up my final crew member LW Walman at 1:40 at the airport, then we need to pack the van.  Somewhere in there I have a race strategy call with my coach and we will head down to cook some race food and have some down time with my crew captain Chris Uettwiller and his girlfriend Erin and her parents, who have rented a groovy bungalow just down the beach.

On Tuesday I drove the course; and so glad I did, even though it took me almost 7 hours by car! Really helps to visualize the whole thing and there are quite a few tricky turns I don't want to miss.  The most striking thing was how wet it was on the other side of the Island, which makes me very nervous.  I can deal with the heat, but I really don't want to crash on some technical descent on wet pavement.  That said, its definitely a beast of a course, but the climbs don't seem as bad as I feared.  Not nearly as challenging as the climbs I have trained on, which is an awesome confidence boost.  But if its windy, all bets are off.  The steepest climb is the first 5 miles of the first day ride -- straight up a relentless grade right out of the water.  After this its mostly rollers with a couple very gradual low grade but very long ascent (which is likely to be very windy) to finish Day I at almost 5000 feet at Volcanoes Nat'l Park.

The beginning of Day II is a long and very fast descent from Volcanoes -- the pavement will likely be wet and so this has me a bit spooked.  Then a lot of flats and rollers until the ascent from Waimea to Hawi, which could prove beasty.  Its 170 miles, so its going to be very hard no matter what.

And if Day III is hot, its going to be like running through a humid Sahara.

Can't wait.

Yesterday I went for my last very easy run, then just took care of details.  Down at the pier I finally met Josef Ajram from Barcelona, who I have been chatting with alot on Facebook.  He did the race last year and is super cool guy -- quite a character (and has quite a fan base back in Spain!).  Fully tattted and topping it off with a hoop piercing on the INSIDE of his mouth under his upper lip.  And he is sporting a new custom titanium bike with his name etched into the frame.  Pretty damn cool.  He should move to LA.  Anyway, that's him in the picture with me at BikeWorks.

Then went to registration, which was quite intense.  Alot of forms and so many little details to attend to.  I walked away with a huge orange Gatorade cooler filled with stickers (for the van), race numbers, water bottles, wrist bands, etc.  Looking around, I noticed no shortage of very intimidating looking athletes -- these guys look like gazelles.  Like they were genetically bred for this stuff.  Lean fighting machines, with legs bursting with striated slow twitch fibers.  Including Peter Kotland, who owns the course record for the run -- 5:33 for the double marathon!  That is truly incredible, bearing in mind its after 2 days of brutality.  Not to mention bikes that look like they came out of some sort of Manhattan Project.  I was humbled.

Last night I picked up my dad at the airport.  So cool that he would fly all the way from DC to be in my crew.  Will be interesting to see what he makes of all this.  Its certainly a world apart.  And its his first time to Hawaii, so as much as I don't want it to be hot for the race, I also want nice weather for him.

What else? (1) People here love Spam.  The even serve it at McDonald's; and (2) the ATM machine ate my card last night (as if I don't have enough financial adversity at the moment) -- did I say surrender to the Island?  Well this takes it to a new level.

Otherwise, getting very excited.  Woke up at 5 am today and couldn't sleep.  What am I thinking about?  What am I doing here?...How am I going to pack everything into the van?...I don't want to crash.....I don't want to make a wrong turn.  I hope my butt doesn't hurt too much on the bike....I'm getting out of shape...I haven't trained enough.....I'm not eating right...I forgot to buy potatoes and the stores are closed.....I can't believe the ATM ate my card....You name it.

Time to go downstairs to meet my dad for breakfast...Check in later.


MacMac Movie Nut said...

I just made my requisite Maximum Hope donation without knowing if you'd completed or not. How's that for armchair faith!

Amazing achievement. Mind-boggling.

Next year, pogo'ing up Mt Fuji backwards...

Sean M.