Only two hours on a coach; three hours at Heathrow – contemplating whether or not to tell Baz Luhrmann, who was sat next to me at the bar, that Romeo and Juliet was one of my all-time favourite films (I didn’t); 11 hours on plane one sat next to a couple who barely said one word to each other let alone to me; three hours at LA airport chatting to two watermelon salesmen from Orlando about how one of them “truly was” related to our royal family; five and a half hours in some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever encountered on plane two; and I’m in Kona.
Arrived at Keahole sometime around 8pm local time to discover one of the weirdest airports. Well not weird so much as unique – it was all outside. Even the baggae claim area. But given the humidity, it soon became clear why. Dripping with sweat, a little bit honky and with hair resembling a cross between Sideshow Bob and Diana Ross, it was fair to say I wasn’t looking my best. And not the best first impression to give my hosts for the week – Dean and Guy from Blue Seventy.
Luckily, they felt my pain – and perhaps smelt it – and made our way to our pad for a much needed shower. The house is a palatial number with a killer view over the bay of the swim start. With the jet lag still not rearing its sleep-preventing head, we headed to Bongo Ben’s for some grub – was very disappointed to meet neither Ben nor see his bongo.
Back to the pad to meet the rest of the residents – Maarten van der Weijden (10k open-water swimming Beijing gold medallist), his lovely missus Daisy, Megan and Sean from Blue Seventy in the States and Tim from Slowtwitch. So that’s two Brits, two Dutch, three Americans and one Kiwi – and more importantly, my bed!
Nothing could wake me, not even my mum who called at 4am, having a hard time getting her head around the time difference. Two hours later, when she called again, I was miraculously up and heading down to the swim area to watch some of the fittest triathletes in the world warm-up, sharing the water with the turtles, dolphins and the odd white-tip shark. I stayed on the sidelines, Jaws preventing me from ever setting foot in the open-water again.
By 7am, the sweat was running down my back (I may never be cool again, either). While Maarten was challenging anyone brave enough to a race to the Blue Seventy catamaran/coffee stop. Needless to say, he won.
Quick breakfast stop, and back to the pad to get ready for a party. Hoping to catch up with some big-name triers, so stay tuned…
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