Well I slept like crap last night. I normally do not sleep well the night before a race, but not usually before a long workout. I awoka at 3:30am Hawaiian time. I planned on meeting a group at the Kailua peir for an early morning swim. I arrive at 6:15 for a 6:45 swim. I sat on the the pier for a few minutes until I saw two people getting ready to swim. I approached them and asked if I could join then. I had read that a group meats there on Sunday morning. We headed out to sea a little before 6:45. The pace was fairly slow, but I did not care. Just having someone swimming next to me was great. I freak out swimming in the open ocean. About 30 minutes into the swim I saw a big black object about 30 yards ahead of me. I stopped dead in my tracks, nearly flying out of the water. One of the gals saw me and stopped too. The calm look on her face did not help at all. She then proceeded to tell me that in was a ray. The next thing I thought of was Steve Irwin. The guy that got stung in the heart and died. She then put her head down and began to swim towards it. Nt wanting to be left behind, I too began to swim towards it. As we got closer, it turned on its side like an airplane and went the other direction. I am bad with size but it was most likely 6-7 feet across. Incredible!!!!! We swam for an hour and 10 minutes. As they exited I said thank you and proceeded to do short laps close to the shore.
Once finished I headed back to the hotel, had a a quick bite to eat and took off on my ride up the volcano. After a short spin down Alii Drive to where the swim finished, I reset my bike computer to get an accurate time of my ride. As I push off, a sense of panic came over me. What am I doing. This is crazy. As I began to climb, my heart rate jumped. The first 5 miles are all up hill. The first 1.5 mile climbs 1000 feet. I tried to settle into a rythm, but the bike I rented for the weekend did not quite fit me properly. At the top of the first climb the terrain flattens out a bit, but not for long. It seemed like I was climbing for most of the first hour. As I began to get out into the country, the one thing besides the thought of the looming volcano was the beauty of the island and the energy you can pull from it. The first three hours went by fairly quickly
As I dropped down to sea level I knew what lied ahead - the Climb - A 20 plus mile non stop grind up the volcano. As i began to climb, my knees began to bother me due to the bike set up. There was nothing I could do but muscle through it. About 5 miles into the climb, my phone rang. I pulled over to answer it but was too late. I listened to the message to find out my ride back from the volcano cancelled. As I began riding again, I thought to myself either I turn around now or finish what i came to do. I proceeded back to the climbing with a new sense of adventure.
The climb hurt and was a bit slower than I wanted, but I finished. Now - How was I going to get back to the Hotel. I was about 100 miles from town with no ride.... Shit!!!! So - I stuck out my thumb. The second truck to pass me stopped. They asked me where I was going. I said Kona. They said they were going to Captain Cook. I said perfect.. Captain Cook is about 15 miles from Kona and would be an easy ride. I hopped in the back and off we went. An hour an forty minutes later they pulled over. My ass hurt more from being in the back of the pickup that the ride. In addition, The three local boys who gave me a ride must have smoked a pound of Kona kin on the way back. The eyes were pretty much glued shut and the cab smelled of some pretty strong stuff.. ALOHA