Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday was another fun day!

Beginning to settle in nicely to this Kona Ironman life. I told Judy today that I decided that this was the only triathlon I wanted to do in the future (just a joke)...but it truly is a fun experience.

I slept in to 3:30 which is basically what I'll want to do come Saturday--it's much easier to adjust to time zones going east to west.

I hit the pier around 7:30 and swam for a little longer than 40 minutes. I broke out my TYR Torque Pro and I have to say that it passed the test--it will be my swim uniform on Saturday. The swell seemed less as well today. Also, I knew what to do this morning. In any event, I thought the swim was much easier today--I'm not worried about getting around the course come Saturday--I'll be relatively slow on the swim but it should be enjoyable. I'm swimming again tomorrow and I'll take some pics and post tomorrow.

I learned that my bike would not show up until tomorrow so i substituted another short run in place of my first ride here in Kona. i ran from transition up Palani hill and out onto the Queen K for a bit (and back)--all in-all about 4 miles. Very warm this morning but I felt fine--a little bit of a memory in my legs from yesterday's 5K but nothing much.

I probably won't run Palani hill on Saturday (thinking about a strategic walk) but I had no trouble this morning--as you can see from this pic (click to enlarge) it's really not that bad of a hill:

This is what I'll see at mile 24.5 of the run--well, it will probably be a lot darker but you get the point. This is the last climb to the top of Palani hill--from there it will be all down hill....

Here is what the end of Ali'i Drive looks like--in the day with traffic....I'm sure it will look very different on Saturday evening:

You've probably seen this before:

After my run I jumped in the ocean again to cool off and then headed over to Lava Java for breakfast. I bought a couple of presents and then repaired to my hotel room to chill out for a several hours. Then I geared up and headed for Mauna Kea....

Mauna Key is the largest mountain in Hawaii. It's summit stands 13,796 above seas level. It is also the "tallest" mountain in the world rising some 32,000 feet from the ocean floor. Mauna Key is unique for a couple of other reasons as well. First, one (as I did) can hop in a car at one's sea level hotel and drive almost all the way to the summit in about 2 hours. Second, Mauna Kea is the site of the greatest concentration of astronomical observatories in the world--due to the fact that the air is so clear at this lofty altitude. Here is a little blurb on the Observatories:

Mauna Kea astronomical observatory complex located on Mauna Kea peak, the “white mountain” on the island of Hawaii. Because of its height and excellent seeing, this site supports by far the largest astronomical facility in the world. It is operated by the Institute for Astronomy of the Univ. of Hawaii. The largest telescopes are the 33-ft (10-m) W. M. Keck telescopes (Keck I and II), each consisting of an array of 36 segmented mirrors; a computer adjusts each small mirror many times per second so that a single image is formed of the object under study. Keck I began observations in 1993, Keck II in 1996. The Subaru telescope, featuring a 327-in. (8.3-m) one-piece mirror, was formerly called the Japanese National Large Telescope. The 320-in. (8.1-m) Gemini telescope is one of an identical pair, the other being constructed atop Chile's Cerro Pachon. Together they will provide complete unobstructed optical and infrared coverage of both the northern and southern skies. Other instruments include the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (142 in./3.6 m), the United Kingdom Infrared telescope (150 in./3.8 m), and the Infrared Telescope Facility (120 in./3 m), as well as two telescopes—the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope—used for observations in the submillimeter portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Also part of the complex is the Hawaii Antenna of the Very Long Baseline Array, which is used for observations in radio astronomy.

In any event, the drive out to the summit was awesome. Along the way I stopped and bought a couple of sheep--because they were cheap!:

Actually, I'm kidding. I like my sheep with shorter legs and I hate to pay extra bag fees on the plane so I figured I couldn't beat the price of sheep back in Delaware anyways.

The drive up to the summit was hairy--definitely bring your 4WD! I was blown away by the awesome Observatories. I talked to a couple of the astonomers as they checked in for a night of work--i almost asked if I could be a helper for one night (almost better than doing Kona) but I hate rejection so i didn't. I saw the true summit and hiked the 10 minutes or so up a small trail to bag it. This was radically easier than Shasta or Rainier but let me tell you that going from 0 to 13.7 in two hours does leave you a little dizzy--i had to stop a couple of times to stay checked into planet reality.

I met (and passed) a nice couple from Australia on the way up. On the summit, we took each others' pics and i regaled them with my exploits on Kosi last year--they admitted it was a peak they wanted to climb as well. It turned out he had qualified in China (2nd in the 35-39 AG) and was also racing Kona.

The telescopes opened up for business and the stars came out--amazing! The ride down was intense. On the way down I picked up a hiker (who flagged me down) from Columbia named Eduardo who had become very cold on his descent from the summit (it was 41 degrees at the top)--he had been hiking for 7 hours. I gave him a lift down--which he was very thankful for--hopefully some good karma for me on Saturday...

Here are some pics of my adventure on Mauna Kea:

Tomorrow I (hope to) get my bike--I'll rest easier after that. Judy also comes and I'm very excited to have her here--this is something best done with someone close to you....

good night!

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