Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aftermath to Kona 2009.

Well, its now 3 weeks after the race and what are my thoughts ?

Gutted !!! But still a happy man.

So, why am I gutted ? Its over, Kona is now a distant but utterly amazing memory.

If you have ever got married or planned a day for so long you may know the feeling, you put your entire effort into something for months, nay years, then in 10-17 hours its over. I know I always have this down feeling after every IM holiday but this one is different, a lot of effort went into this one, 3 years of IM efforts, family sacrifice, early mornings, disappointments, addition to the family - that was most certainly a highlight, I definately got my return out of it, I think you can tell that, but I still feel like I am hanging onto something, maybe its because I have decided not to do IM next year, 18 months until summer of 2011 sounds a long time.

I will concentrate my efforts again but from a greater height and distance, well actually the same 3 years it took last time, from now til 2012 hopefully, until then nothing in triathlon terms will replace the feeling I had the first 2 seconds of that race, and certainly nothing in a race will compare to the last mile. Life, however moves on and there will for me hopefully, be another Kona, it will just have to wait til 2012.

So, to the memories.

Race day, what a day !!! Seeing all of the athletes all day on the course, for me, bobbing around waiting for the cannon to go off was just breathtaking and awe inspiring yet scary and exciting. The Queen K, the media caravan following the pro's all day, the desolate lava fields versus the mass of spectators on Ali'i Drive, all brilliant.

You are not supposed to have regrets about racing, or at least make them positive, I have spun this into a positive but I still only have one regret around the whole race, and this happened in the last minute, you can see in the finisher video I have put up that Mark is right in front of me, he is the one that looks like he is trying to throw up and struggling to get to the line, you can also see his slow response to turn round when he hears my name, disbelief that we were that close all the way round myself. If you read my race report you know what I was feeling at the time. We discussed it afterwards, all I had to do was call out his name in the last 50 yards and we could have crossed the line together, it would have been a great end to his race and mine, travelling all that way to finish together after all the racing hours done over the years and on that day, not to be, but we are still talking about the finish line so its left an imprint, magic.

Support, to have people supporting you half way round the world is an amazing feeling, quite surreal hearing your name shouted as you come out of transition 8000 miles from home, friends appearing when you least expect them, Andy and Jeff on the Queen K, Sian out as far as the Energy Lab (how the hell she got there I still don't know - if she walked, good effort !!) All my family and friends at various points in town on the bike and run course. And lastly the online support, RW pirates, family that couldn't go and various forums following the GB athletes, thanks. As an aside to the race, the support I had from Kelly all year and my mum and Roger while we were there means I could do what I did, it wouldn't have happened without them so thanks to them as well.

New friends, we made many, it was great having other Brits around to chat to, Glyn and Vicki who we met at IMUK and then spent time with in Kona, Liam Dolan who we met thru Mark, Bevan and John from IMTalk, infectious enthusiasm, although I didn't really need any myself, the parade of nations brought a few of us together but it was more international than that, many people are there for the same reason so conversations just grow out of brief eye contact, the odd wry smile here when you pass past another athlete, trying not to be too obvious when you are stood behind Timo Bracht in the Walmart queue on Sunday after he has just had a top ten finish in the World Champs lol !!

The holiday, well at the end of the day we were in Hawaii, it would be rude not to have a look around ;-), a beautiful place even if the race wasn't on, we are after all there to enjoy ourselves as a family.
As Kelly doesn't race she puts up with a lot before and its only right to correct that afterwards, she is the best sherpa ever but still has requirements out of our travels.

The island is amazing and I am glad we got to see a lot of it the week after the race. Speaking to the local islanders its very quickly obvious they are so welcoming of tourists in more than a cash cow way - well thats how it seems, I am sure Kona relies on the revenue of those 2 weeks for most of its year but I loved the friendly people and we weren't just in Kona, the whole island is lovely. Travelling around the island in one day was a great adventure with my family and the lads, 220 miles in one day, fuelled by intrigue and caffeine lol !
The helicopter ride and helping Kelly fulfil one of her lifes ambitions to fly in one, seeing her nervous for the first 5 mins and then relaxing into a great 45 minute voyage.

The wedding, Paul and Jans wedding day on the Friday before we came home, we were lucky enough to still be on the island and to be invited to spend their superb day with them, the ceremony was lovely, the priest (i think) was so into the whole thing he really made it. I have put a picture of the happy couple, we loved being part of the day and wished we were staying afterwards for a few more days as we were just getting used to relaxing lol !

Seeing Teya grow over 2 weeks, she was amazing over the holiday, still the princess we took away, only complaining when we get feed time wrong but smiling forever, everywhere we went and winning over hearts of strangers and friends alike.

Finally, as always, my love and thanks to Kelly, for putting up with the endless training, the ruined weekends, the travelling and supporting me, the endless triathlon sh*te that I talk (secretly she loves to talk tri sh*te as well), my triathlon mates - of which they are all her mates now and for just being ace xx

Sitting here now its all good, I am setting out onto a challenge for November which I will post about later but for now IM will take a few weeks out.

Til next time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The day before tomorrow - 1 day to go !!

Friday 9th October

Its the day before and its just dawned on me that tomorrow is the race I have dreamt about for 3 years. Some people don't know that I started in 1999 (Lewis has pointed that out in the comments on yesterdays blog) doing a sprint, I had given up smoking that year, its taken a while but triathlon has changed that life 360 degs. It has never been a real dream to get to Kona until 2006/2007 when I started seriously but its still been a passion to follow for many years, tomorrow it hopefully will all come together - (so Kelly can get her bathroom at last !!)

So this morning, I didn't have the real sleep I needed the day before the day before but for me its about staying fit as well. We went down to the swim, 8.30 this morning, a bit more of a lie in but I was tired. Faris Al Sultan was getting out, said hi lol. He looks good too but hoping to do top 10 this year apparently.

On the way to Lava Java I stopped off and bought a couple of pairs of Newtons, one for me and one for Fegan. More IM porn yay !

Today is racking day too, after building the bike and setting all of the bags up with essentials it was time to go to transition. Check out the bike decals and what I will be wearing in the race, have decided to revert back to my old bike shoes however as the new ones are custom fit and I have no idea how much my feet are going to swell so I can't take the chance. The pirate purchase has already been worn out here so that will have to do for now, sorry guys.

Racking was about as painless as it gets, no queue, no waiting, personal helper to walk you round the whole transition explaining everything, man you have to run a long, long way to get to the bike and out, I'll be knackered !!!

My helper took this piccy too

Then out and off to relax in Lava Java and write this for you lovely people lol !

By the way, this is how the finish straight looks the night before, not many people and a wonderful view.

Race stuff ...

I suppose now is the time for thoughts about tomorrow, I am never shy to say what times I am looking for and I will by the end of this ramble have given some idea of what I hope for but heres the rub, its an unpredictable place. The forecast for wind tomorrow is now 10mph+ but calmer early on and then by the time we get to Hawi it could be a little hairy.

Also the run heat has been oppressive, its only 90 degrees but it feels like 110. I did Germany in 40 degs and Nice was 40 degs but this feels hotter, I know that sounds bonkers but I suppose it must be the humidity too as I have never really run in it before. The heat off the tarmac will be tough as I find out every time I stop at lights on the bike.


So, to the swim. Its supposed to be the toughest there is, with most people in the 55 to 65 min range that’s going to be true but I will be staying out left at the beginning and then move across by the 1000m mark, I breathe to the left so the clockwise circuit would normally be an issue but the water is so clear that when I have my head straight I will be able to see for 20 metres in front of me if its clear, it won’t be but visibility will be good. For those uninitiated, there is no wetsuits here either, this normally helps me as my body position isn’t that good in the water, I have a skinsuit (thanks Gavin) for this one so it will be a help, these are made of the same sort of material but as thin as a tri suit but faster in the water than bare skin.

Goal time is Gold = 60 mins, Silver = 65, Bronze = 70.


The bike, lol, such a fast course apparently that without the wind and heat it would probably be one of the fastest on the IM circuit, unfortunately Madame Pele may have other ideas on race day. The roads are like glass but with the lava rock shards blowing across the roads the chance of punctures is slightly greater. I will be aiming to get out onto the course in a good group of pace line riders which won’t necessarily help (this is a non drafting race after all) but will be good for pacing, I have my own pace to go but we have been warned by the officials how far the zones are for drafting and this is the cats eyes markers in the road, like our UK motorway chevrons, leave a full gap and you will be safe. The course is an out and back with a little loop in town first to warm the legs. I really want to see the pros coming the other way on the Queen K with the full camera entourage, that’s the dream I have seen and I want to see it in full flow.

Goal time is Gold = 5:15, Silver = 5:30, Bronze = Sub 6 hours


Now the run, this one is hard, I am sitting here in the apartment with the aircon off and still struggling to breathe properly, laboured and short, it has been for 2 days, maybe I will be clear tomorrow but for now I can only use this to guage how my breathing will be on the run. Its gonna be a hot one, whatever way you look at it, its very hot all day, about 90 degs and the humidity is about 60% but if it rains the temp drops and the humidity goes up, you can’t win, the lads have been running today, Jase made me laugh, they did 6 miles and he reckons he couldn’t get his HR below 160 the whole way. Its also the lumpiest flat first half of a course I have seen for a while, rolling lumps all down Ali’i drive, same for everyone so just deal with it. I have a good record for running in the heat so I am hoping for a reasonable go at this one.

Goal time is Gold = 3.45, Silver = 4:00, Bronze = 4:30

Conclusions and Wrap Up.

So, as you can see I don’t mind putting myself out there, at the end of the day we all have aims, the main one this time is to enjoy and finish but I am too competitive to do anything other than enjoy and compete lol !!
So best would be 10 hours + transitions and worst (this is my hopeful worst) might be 11:40. I know there is a lot of variation in there but this is not a course you can just say, I want a sub 10 or I want to do 10:xx. I will be fighting for every minute out there, tomorrow will tell.
I know want to say thanks to everyone that has either text me, twittered me or left messages on the blog, and the runners world guys on the forum as well, superb support and I will be thinking of all of it in the good moments and the bad, I hope there won’t be many bad as the idea is to enjoy but to be honest knowing you have virtual and on course support is a huge addition to the mental power it takes to get round these events.

The next time I blog I will hope to have heard for the 11th time Mike Reilly saying ‘Nick Rose, you ARE an Ironman’ bring it on, I love this game, can you tell ?? If anyone wants to say hi, please text my personal number as Twitter is too expensive to leave roaming on all day. If kelly gets wifi then she will tweet, otherwise, check out this 'PSOF Race Day' and you will have all the links you need.

Night night xx

p.s. I would like to thanks 'Rocky's Pizza and Family Dining' in Keauhou for the use of their wifi while I am sat in the car outside posting this tonight ;-)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Rosey is a groupie - 2 days to go !

Thursday 8th October

Today started with a swim at 8, met with the lads who have been up since 4am, then 5am, then 6am lol !! and picked up Jeff along the way. He had been standing on the side of the road as we drove up, we had both just separately seen Hillary Biscay who we both like, running down the road, much to the bewilderment of the other 3 in the car as we rattled off famous people we were spotting.

Myself and Jeff have bought the ‘30 years of Ironman World Championships’ book by Bob Babbitt (and no he isn’t the guy who had his willy chopped off, as someone tried to make out earlier today !!!) and we are slowly trying to outdo each other with famous signatures. So far I have

Mark Allen, Peter Reid, Bob Babbitt (obviously), Hillary Biscay, Natascha Badmann, Craig Alexander (yep !!) and Phil Graves

Anyway, its good fun and keeps us out of mischief.

The swim ended up at the Coffees of Hawaii boat, we had a chat with the Albernator and looks like we have ended up on the front page of Day 3 here IMTalk Day 3 I think that will change each day, so it’s a one time offer so to speak.

Over for breakfast and another spot was these 2 guys, Dave Orlowski (3rd) and Tom Knoll (6th), they are the places these guys were in the original 1978 first ever IM in Oahu. Orsum, Tom Knoll is in yellow and Dave in blue, Jeff is with me.

Then onto the expo and some shopping, this is where I was cornered by Bevan and John from IMTalk, I came bounding over as they were mid stream talking into their microphone and ended up getting interviewed, brilliant, having listened to these guys for years it’s a treat for them to recognise me now lol !! love it.

My enthusiasm was short lived however as we had a small emergency today, Teya had to be rushed to the medical centre with a temperature of 39.4Deg. Not good for anyone especially her age, the long and short of it without being so dramatic, even though it was a the time as she was unresponsive and very very hot is that she was just overheating and once we got her settled her temp dropped, the bonus for us is that this happened while we were waiting for the doctor to see her, so I just asked for my credit card and ID back and we left. If Kelly’s mum is reading this, its all OK Suzanne, honest xx

Once we got her settled I headed back to the expo, I know this sounds bad but when Kelly rang me to tell me the news I was talking to Mark Allen and had to cut him off and tell him I would catch him later lol !! he looked a bit shocked a normo would cut him off mid sentence but I had a family to look after, he wasn’t there when I got back, how rude haha !

The boys were still there waiting though and a quick piccy before they were picked up was taken

Right bought my last few bits and off to the pasta party, this is the view at the moment as they are building the grandstand.

The pasta party was superb, open air so no sweaty tents, lots of huge screens and we got to see old DVD’s, inspirational stories from 80 year old competitors to double amputees (by the way there are 41 over 70’s in the race Saturday !!!) nuts !
Phil Graves was taken up as the youngest in the race and interviewed, had a good laugh as he explained he was going to take a few scalps on Saturday, gotta love him, I wish I was watching as well as competing now as that is going to be something to behold unfolding if he has a good race.

As I was at the pasta party Roger has picked up Paul and Jan (Slummo and Bendy to the pirates) safe and sound, they have a great apartment by Lava java, will be picking them up in the morning.

Day over, its been a long one and tomorrow is chill out day, honest, just putting my new tubs on to race bike, pictures tomorrow of race set up and race gear. I really need to go to bed now as I have plenty to set up tomorrow,

Night night x

The road to Hawi - 3 days to go

Wednesday 7th October

Had a lie on today, no swim, still up at 6 to feed Teya but she slept all night so no reall issues there.

Came into town to chill out and have breakfast in Lava java with the family, still great to watch everyone, also gave me a chance to use the wifi to download the IMTalk Kona special - Day 1.

The main session today was the road to Hawi, there is a turn around 18 mile from the turnaround that starts to climb up to the village, this isn't as bad as it sounds, its mainly false flats with a bit of climbing but has a bit of respite as well. I went up with Glyn, the lad who finished in 5th at IMUK in my AG, we did a steady ride up using his power meter at 250 watts, everytime I pulled away he was giving me the 'speech' about how I was wasting matches I didn't have, and its right, he can see the immediate power usage and how it climbs to say 350 without thinking about it.

We averaged 20mph there and back, felt good and the hilly end of the course now isn't such a mind game.

To be honest now I am feeling a little better in my own mind, I still have a house full of ill people, Kelly has a cough, my mum and Roger are all feeling under the weather and aching muscles and I am getting paranoid about being in the same room, daft I know but I don't need the worry, its all psychosematic (sp) I am sure but hey, its my psycho ok !!

Then off to pick up the boys at the airport, they had all had a long journey, all looked like zombies, Phil tried to get in the wrong car at Walmart and Jase stood looking at his change for 5 mins deciding what he had been given, its a quarter Jase, lets go !!

Back to apartment, homemade Cottage Pie and bed, short one today as the lads are getting impatient and I need to get to the pasta party in a sec, speak soon

Til tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Hanging out' with Bevan and John – 4 days to go

Tuesday 6th October

Swim at 7 was my best of the week, swam with Jilly and we decided to go for 15 out and 15 back, we got to the 3rd buoy in 11 mins, about 2 mins ahead of her best swim so far and she could feel it but we both felt good for it, we kept going for another 3 or 4 and then turned to head back.

Stopped off at the famous Coffees of Hawaii catermaran boat for a drink, seriously, the boat is moored 400m off the pier and serves hot coffee shots as you bob up and down chatting to people, classic. There is also a lovely looking girl on the beach at the pier with a sign (picture the 'GOLF SALE' type efforts in major cities) for coffee, pointing into the water lol.

Mum and Kelly had brought Teya down for the first time as well and thought the atmosphere was great. Lots of buff men to oggle, and a few not so nice, mmmm.

Registered after the swim at 9am, very slick, painless and another step closer to the race done.

At 2pm I went down for the arranged IM Talk ride with Bevan and John of podcast fame and anyone else who turned up, there was a few Epic Camp regulars, Steven ‘Madman’ Lord, Jo Carritt, to name a couple. It was decided to do 40 mins out and 40 back, bit of a fast paced tempo ride really with a few TT moments in there, we weren’t hanging about but it was nice to chat to Bevan and John when we got to ride side by side.

Back after the ride to cold Coffees of Hawaii with the Albernator and a stand around and chin wag with a few of their friends. Even arranged that if they are in the right place at the right time I might get interviewed on the run course, now that will be a challenge, run and talk in that heat mmmm,
IM Talk photo.
I even managed to get my photo taken.

Quick rush back to get changed for the Parade of Nations, basically a little like the start of the Olympic ceremony with all nations led out by cars and selected athletes, ours was Philip Graves in a typical British Car !!

Myself and Kelly joined the other Brit representatives for the parade in provided athlete shirts.

The parade went on for around 30 mins and ended up at the Expo, get the athletes to spend more money I say lol , myself and Tim Bishop were at the front for most of the way chatting about the race, I did make an effort to get the pirate name into the GB parade, check me out in the skull sarong lol.

Then onto the expo, very big, lots to check out, including this, a specially made TT bike by a Trek engineer for his 8 year old daughter, hand made one off !! very cool

The amountof IM porn was great, I purchased the 30 years of IM World Champs book by Bob Babbit, famous compere of the event, he signed it, then I found Natascha Badmann and Craig Alexander wandering around the Newton tent and got them to sign it as well, Kelly wasn’t as impressed as me obviously so just stood around taking pictures

So we left and enjoyed a nice sunset before heading back for dinner and checking on Teya being looked after by Nana

Til tomorrow …..

Its getting busy - 5 days to go

Monday 5th October

Bit late for the swim at 7 so ended up my own for the 30 mins, out to have a chat with Kit Stokes who says 'hi' to the pirates from Switzerland, something about party and beer but he can’t remember much lol !

Met with Chester Trier's Jeff, Jill and Andy Wilkinson and had breakfast overlooking the bay, very nice, I could get used to this Kona Coffee, expensive to import for us but check out 'Coffees of Hawaii' having a free shipping month I think, worth it.

Next job was to sort out the car seat for Teya, work this out, $12 a day to hire for 14 days, plus taxes, works out at about $195. So we went to Walmart and purchased one, we could have got one for $60 but decided to go for one for $135 that doubles as the next one up when she is a toddler and then up to age 4, saves us paying at home for a £200 new car seat and we are still cheaper than renting one.

She is a very happy chappy now ;-)

Then a bit of relaxing with the munchkin in the pool, check out the new swimming kit !

After that I went for my first run of the week, 6 miles at about 6.30pm, it is still very warm and the sun goes down at about 6pm, the issue there is it takes about 10 mins to go from light to dark, I hope I am finished before 6 as its going to be VERY dark and lonely with just a glow stick for company lol !!

Running down Ali’i drive with bikes on the hard shoulder with no lights on and cars blinding you is not fun but I needed to get out, 6 miles in 45 mins and it felt OK, HR was about 145 and pace was about 7.40, the best bit about training down the end of the drive I am at is the 2 feed stations they have set up. One Gatorade and one GU stand, out on the road, always ice cold energy drink and free, just left there for the whole week for the athletes in training, orsum effort by the organisors, during the day the GU one is manned with people giving out free gels and bars as well.
This place still isn’t letting the side down.

More tomorrow. …..

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Soaking up the atmosphere ... 6 days to go

Sunday 4th October

Its early, left the others in bed, Teya got to sleep at 5am, Kelly on night duty, it will take a few days to change her pattern but she is still a gem so far, as long as she is fed every 4 hours when needed we are managing to get the night turned into day.

So the famous Ali’i Drive, Ali’i means Royal by the way. I left the apartment at 6.40am, people were running all up Ali’i drive, we are 6 miles from the Kona Pier.

You know when you have a picture of something in your head, I had expectations of this place being the Mecca that it is, everything is like I imagined, and better, it is amazing, people running, cycling, all shapes and sizes, all ages, I think I have got to race weight for this, well my GOD, its like watching a fashion show for the 'Do I look good naked' programme, lovely views, houses and condos lining the whole drive, years of IM history is here and you can smell and taste what it feels like just driving it. It was a moment for me that I will savour, 6 miles of IM heaven, sad some might think but for me it means I have arrived, and I think I was meant to come here, at least once.

The Kona pier is buzzing, Gatorade have the stand up, I met Mark, Liam – 2 Irish friends and Simon Ward a well known UK coach for our swim, Simon gave us the lowdown on the course and we set off. While swimming I decided for the first time ever to bilateral breath in an open water swim the whole way, all I wanted to do was keep looking down at the ocean bottom, fish everywhere, lava rocks, sea creatures, LOVE IT.

Another moment was had right there, I had met Mark 7 years ago at IM Switzerland, we arranged to meet to drive round the course, now here I was 7 years later with a now very good friend swimming in IM Mecca halfway round the world in our most important week, orsum lol !! Unfortunately the swell was so big that we got lost in the water cos the orange buoys kept disappearing so we ended up swimming the whole course when we were only going out for 40 mins, we got back to the pier over an 70 mins later lol !!

Coffee in Lava java and back to apartment to build bike.

Queen K highway is the main road for the bike course so we set off for a ride, out an hour and back an hour, we ended up doing 3 hours in total, about 57 miles, a couple of things to note, the wind we had on the way out won’t be up at the time we will be riding in the morning but we live in hope, on the way back its harder, wind against so must conserve energy. And when we stopped at the traffic lights on the way home you notice the heat hit you hard, its mainly coming from the tarmac so more of an issue for the run but riding into a hair dryer on full for 5+ hours means I will need to be drinking loads and pacing well.

I slept well this afternoon. I was woken up by the others coming home and thought it was the middle of the night, it was only 6pm, maybe the ride was a bit long. Dinner and bed.

Til tomorrow ......

We have arrived ...... 7 days to go

Saturday 3rd october.

Travelling day, the aim is to get to the airport 4 hours early to get a sky cot for Teya, mission accomplished, just as well as they only have 1 per plane !!

I have to say American Airlines were superb, booked us all the way through, sorting out seats next to each other, got us sky cot, each persons baggage was just waved on, bike on no issues, marvellous considering I am not allowed (by Kelly) anywhere near a check in desk after the ‘incident’ in 2003 and numerous altercations since then to do with bikes and excess charges lol.

Teya has been amazing for the whole journey, she had a 10 min session crying at 7pm UK time when it was time to go to bed, mainly as the cabin was very bright. She fell asleep on both take offs and was asleep for both landings, we are truly a lucky couple so far.

Although having to do the parent thing even though there were 4 of us meant I never got to see one film all the way through even though I started four, booooo. And for the record, my mum and Roger have been a great help on the flight and the whole travel thing.

After landing at 8pm local time 24 hours after leaving, thoughts of having a 9 hour bike leg and running in the cool of the night went out the window with our arrival, its still 80 deg at 8pm. So we collect our luggage and head off to the hire car place, due to us having lots of baggage, midway through us getting on the bus, the driver decides he will only take 2 of us to the car hire place, no problem, got on, queued up, argued a bit about extra fees, got car, head back.

Then the first drama of the whole day, I noticed one of the bags was missing, big 120litre Oakley roller, lots of confusion, claims starting, Kelly in tears as its her bag, last chance saloon is to go to the car hire place, it turns out the driver had grabbed one of our bags and loaded it on the coach and then just unloaded it at the rental office unbeknown to us. They had been trying to ring me for 15 mins when they realised they had it, drama sorted but that could have ruined the trip before it started.

So off to apartments, we are in the Country Club Villas, we are so lucky, its huge, everything we need and this is the view. Obviously the next day as we have arrived in the dark !!

Once we unpacked it was necessary to go out shopping for food fo rthe morning, everyone still awake, so off to Walmart, stocked up just before midnight, then the last action of the day, breakfast at Denny’s, a 24 hour diner, everyone was starving and the breakfast at 1 am went down well lol !!

Back to apartment by 2am for a few hours kip.

Night night……