Crowie’s Kona diary
Thursday October 10, 2013
The countdown is on to the biggest race on the ironman calendar and one of my biggest challenges as an endurance athlete so far. Winning here in Hawaii for the first time is hard with so many unknowns, defending even harder with a target on your back but competing with the new breed of superstars like Sebastian Kienle and some of the most credentialed guys in the sport like Eneko Llanos is something I can’t wait for. Throw in the A Team from the USA like Andy Starykowicz and Andy Potts and a strong contingent of Aussies including Pete Jacobs, Luke Bell and Luke McKenzie and this is shaping up as one not to miss. The early stages will be frantic and every man for them self once the cannon fires. Excitement, nerves and more excitement as the Kailua Bay and the Kona coast fills up.
Today started very early with our 6 month old Lani not wanting to miss out on any of the action.
Good thing it was my rest day…
Had an Impromptu drug testing session at 9pm last night. Lani woke and charmed them for the 30 mins it took to take a resting blood sample and sufficiently concentrated urine sample. Ironman has committed to additional testing for more athletes at all levels next year and it is great to be part of a sport genuine about healthy living 24/7!
My wife Neri had some unplanned bonding time that only a new parent can appreciate out on the lounge for the rest of the night so I was on duty for a few hours first thing this morning.
Did a couple of australian breaky show radio interviews This morning and Alan Jones’ appreciation for the race had me wishing it was Saturday morning here. He could inspire a flat tyre with his enthusiasm and knowledge. Instead, I headed downtown to the official press conference. Gordon Ramsay shared the challenges of preparing for his ironman debut, some diet and relationship tips. Unfortunately his English bulldog is no longer able to keep up but I suspect he still eats pretty well.
Not sure why we just don’t run a secret ballot for how the other pro athletes think the race will pan out and who will win and then discuss the results at the press conference. Most of us just want to be at the post race press conference….
Just like the other 2000 athletes, I registered down at the race hotel and was presented with race no. 5. Symbolic as, like all the other athletes, without the support of my family, I would not got to the start line.
Headed over for the pre race pro athlete briefing to refresh everyone on the 140 mile course and have the Traditional Kona Class of 2013 photo shoot. Great opportunity to catch up with one of the true gentlemen of the sport German rival Andreas Raelert and the sport’s leading ladies who unlike us boys, talk more when they are nervous.
With over 350 Aussies qualifying for this year’s world champs it is great to see so many Australians making the pilgrimage, soaking up the atmosphere down near the pier and sharing well wishes.
Grabbed a sandwich and coconut juice on the run and headed home to get horizontal just after 2pm and throw on the compression boots. Then hooked up with my massage therapist Christine for the last time before race day at 4pm.
Headed direct to the “war room” with the Shimano team to check the bike set up and attach race numbers before feeding time at the zoo with the family which now includes my mum, Neri’s sister Jules and one of my close mates.
Good thing today was my rest day…
Friday, October 11, 2013
If yesterday was my rest day, I was back to ‘work’ today putting the finishing swim, ride, run and recovery touches on my preparation for tomorrow’s race. Also spent some time in the kitchen preparing my nutrition and hydration for the big day.
Read through the training diary last night and feeling confident of a strong performance. I have completed over 70 gym sessions since June in my final training block for Kona World Champs! Okay, the guns could still do with some work but I am hoping I get an opportunity to show off all the hard strength work in the latter stages of the race. I wouldn’t have done this many sessions in a calendar year earlier in my career before revamping the program again this year with Ironman legend Dave Scott…. and the last guy to get on the podium aged over 40.
Banked a great night sleep and woke feeling fresh this morning. This second last night’s sleep is very important to me and many of the other athletes I know. No one gets much the night before the race. Excitement, nervousness, excitement and now some more nervousness.
Put the new young stead (new Specialized bike with my race colours) through its paces for 30mins early, out of the heat and out of the way at Captain Cook’s (out towards his memorial plaque). The famous AlI’i Drive becomes a circus at this time of the year with my good friend and a Boulder training partner Julie Dibbens ending up in hospital after a collision with a car today. A few people come unstuck there every year before the cannon is fired. With so many starters and supporters keen to have a run or ride on the most famous few miles in the sport, even the best get hurt. With over 30,000 spectators and thousands of volunteers, the influx of cars means something or someone has got to give. Unfortunately, in this arena steel proves stronger than Iron.
Ran a short and sharp 5km in about 15mins in full kit and felt bomb proof.
Home for breaky with the family and a ‘choose your own adventure’ book with the kids. Hard to concentrate while running a few different strategies for tomorrow’s race in my head at the same time. Unlike the book, I always come up with same ending!!!
Coffee (and another breaky) with my manager Franko to sort out logistics for Bike check in down at the pier in Kailua. We decided to head down late afternoon to avoid the traffic and queues.
This meant I had time for another quick massage, time in my compression boots and even snuck in another couple of hours in the cot whilst my mum looked after the kids and Neri ran around sorting out everything else. Ironman is a team sport and I have a great team of people around me.
Hoping my transitions between swim, bike and run tomorrow go as smoothly as checking in the bike did. In and out in a record time for me so we headed to the local pool to roll the arms over one last time. Not sure how the hotly contested ‘bike count’ ended up but 100% comfortable with the set up and helmet decision I have made. The ‘bike count’ is where reps from all the bike companies count how many of their bikes line up for this years world champs with the best athletes in the world on board.
Spoke to a my local ‘weather man’ before heading to the Kona Aquatic Centre to roll the shoulders over one last time. Low winds in the morning but very hot is the mail. No real surprises, the temperature has been within a 3 degree range every year for the last 35 but the wind speed and direction can change in a heartbeat. I am expecting a frantic pace early with the swim bikers keen to get up the road as early as possible to force the pace and take the sting out of the runners legs.
Seems a couple of other pros had similar ideas for one last swim to clear the mind. Just a couple of local kids swim squads and tomorrows main competition eyeing off each other as the sun was getting low. The dual is tomorrow at sunrise.
With nothing left to do but say your prayers and respect to the race, I am wishing everybody the kind of day they have dreamed of.
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