Got a doze of the infamous Hawaii winds today. Did a ride out to Hawi (the turnaround point on the bike course). The section for bad winds is a section of road towards the turnaround just before the final 7 mile climb to Hawi. It seems the winds come down off the volcano and get channelled down these little valleys running perpendicular to the road which means as you pass them you can get hit by a strong cross wind. I hit this section of road and at the first of these little valleys I see all these leafs spiraling like they’re caught in a mini tornado – it looks bad enough that I slam on the anchors rather than cycle through it. From there I had more guts and stayed down on the aero bars and just relaxed and tried to go with the winds. A lot of time I was leaning over to the right. Bit scary at times but good experience. I kept my nerve by being able to think “ well it’s not as bad as Lanzarote” … I knew the time John and I got totall’d by a cross wind would bear fruits.
Enjoyed a Kona coffee at Hawi before hammering it back down the road – spinning my top gear I covered the 7 miles that must have taken 30 minutes on the way up in 12 or 13 minutes on the way back down. Staying down and dirty on the aero bars through all the winds. Very pleased with myself. It was so hot today, the wind blowing in my face on the way back felt like someone had just opened an oven. After another stop for more fluid I got back on the Queen K highway and thought to myself you can enjoy some worry free riding now as there’ll be no nasty winds. Not long after I’m going along at about 28 mph coming out of a section of road with high land either side when I’m hit hard by a sudden unexpected gust of wind. I rapidly decelerate to under 15 mph, having to fight to keep control wanting to get up off my aero bars to hit the brakes but know I’ll come off if I try to. My heart is almost bursting out of my mouth and when the wind drops and I’m under control my heart is pounding !
Been building up the training this week. All steady stuff trying to build my aerobic base. This is following the advice I got about doing this race so soon after Wisconsin. Here’s what I’ve done:
Sunday – 2.5k swim, 75 mile bike, 8 mile run (BRICK)
Monday – 3.8k swim, 27 mile ride, 5 mile run (BRICK)
Tuesday – 2.2k swim, 106 mile ride. Knocked run on the head.
On Monday I swam with Paul Clements (I;d seen him at the swim a couple of times). Turned out we are very similar speed swimmers and it was great fun swimming side by side. If we’d not been swimming together we’d not have done the full course since at the halfway buoy the next buoy was the white turnaround buoy and it was not visible. We had to trust that it was there and just swim out. Would have been pretty freaky on my own. We saw a stingray and got stung by some little critters at the surface which we couldn’t see several times on the way out. Once at the turnaround buoy I felt really isolated. No other swimmers were heading out and the start looked miles away. It was a great swim. Paul joined us for breakie at Lava Java, we ended up chatting and drinking coffee for hours.