M Dots….the M is for Marketing the Dot is for the “O” in Opportunity….

One thing that there is no shortage of here in Kona at the Ironman World Champs is shameless marketing.  Triathletes eat that shit up, so why not try every possible marketing scheme to get people to like your product?

M Dot

Here are my top three favorite marketing schemes so far:

1.  Underwater billboards.  Yup.  On the Ironman Swim Course, which pretty much every tri geek and their “ironmate” (sorry, I almost puked in my mouth a little just typing that) swims each morning (except for the Pros–who swim at the local pool), some serious marketing geniuses put together the thought of underwater signage to direct you towards the expresso barge.  There are also signs to tell you about a newest greatest energy product that you can probably get for free on the beach, and other signs.  GENIUS!  I mean, this might be better than highway billboards.  You are already looking down, why not have something other than the beautiful nature under you to peak your interest in swimming in these beautiful waters?

Billboards!!!

2.  Chocolate milk.  With the help of some elite triathletes, a milk company has decided to reinvent the wheel but rebranding chocolate milk as THE BEST way to recover EVER.  They have taken it so far that they have a tent set up with free chocolate milk giveaways for your post swim recovery and information on the benefits of their chocolate milk.  I was so blown away by the new round wheel they were selling I actually had to commend them for their marketing genius–as I took my free chocolate milk, of course.

Not gonna lie here, I stocked up on some of the goodness….

3.  Priceless giveaways.  It makes you wonder what it costs to make some of these products that just get thrown at anyone sporting an Mdot wristband or at those who look like maybe they are racing (for instance, me).  There are several aggressive attempts to gain market share by an INSANE amount of free-shit handouts.  I mean, I have already racked up the following: a rather nice running shirt (would be really nice but it is red and a size large), a water bottle, a swim cap, new Louis Garneau branded gels, and, of course, enough chocolate milk for the next two years.   Ironman Danish has racked up the same AND THEN SOME including TYR “Special Ops” goggles and the other free stuff that came in the race packet (granted, this stuff is not really free, in fact, each race really paid $650 dollars for the “free” stuff in their registration bags). In fact, had Ironman Danish read the “official program” earlier, he would have seen the full page ad on the back of it in which Rudy Project offered FREE Wingspan helmets to anyone who afreed to wear their neon aero helmets in all races for a year (including the IMWC.  Of course, he still wouldnt have gone to get the helmet as Ironman Danish is practically allergic to aero helmets, and, if you may recall last year, the penalty tents were overwhelmingly populated by triathetes in the neon dome pieces.

Free!!!!!!

Now, I do love getting free shit as much as the next person, but even I have to say it is a little out of hand.  You know what should have been free–a lei for me/Fergie.  My race bike, Fergie, made by a Rose Bandit Team Sponsor Boom Bikes, needed to get her taste of Hawaii and get laid today, but her lei cost $7!!!  I mean, could it be that the wingspan cost less to make than the lei?  Urgh….

But damn that lei looks good on her….

Sorry for the venting, my real post about the days events are coming soon…..

Big Ben….Parliament

Made it back to Kona for a second year for Ironman Danish to strut his Ironman-ness at the World Championships.  Growing up a sailor and having raced many a regattas on small islands that get taken over by racers, I found myself landing in Kona and getting that Block Island Race Week/Key West Race Week feeling–which, for you sailors out there, you know the feeling of which I speak.  It is a feeling mixed with pre-exhaustion, excitement, nervous energy, and an “I am cooler than you are” vibe.  In the World of triathletes, actually achieving the “I am cooler than you are” is SUPER easy as long as you are not a tri-geek, of course.  Sailors are definitely stiffer competition in the cool department.

Your typical regatta tent fashion….Yeah, and sailors are cooler….can you imagine?

Of course, part of the “Big Ben, Parliament” feeling could have to do with the fact that we are on the same island, same time of year, same event, same people (friend BDubbs qualified again and his lady friend, and our friend as well, Rae, is race support for him, again), same condo…well, you catch my drift…

I digress.

Anyway, let me assure you, that if Ironman Danish woke me up any morning on any of the other 355 days in the year and told me we had to get going for our open water swim, I would punch him in the face.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I was ready to swim….cant you tell….

For certain.  Not sure I would even open my eyes to line up the punch.  However, here in Kona, the open water swimming is so amazing I actually drag my ass out of bed, put on my sweet bathing suit, and head down to swim.

Ok, Rae and I BOTH have super cool suits….

Now, granted, there is also a coffee barge involved.  In fact, I would say a solid 30% of the reason I get up to ride every morning is because I can have a cortadito or a slurpee mid ride.  Now, I like cycling mucho mas than swimming, so that means that about 70% of my waking up to swim in Kona is because of the Coffees of Hawaii barge.

The view of the barge from the beach….

We had a beautiful swim, as expected.  This was my first swim since my rather hard crash at ITU Cross World Champs (I still have shoulder pain, urgh!).  Shoulder hurt, but luckily on this swim there are like a million Nemos, Dories, and friends to look at while you take your time to swim to the barge.

The view from the barge….

Our friend Rae checking out a Ray (a Manta Ray!)

After our lovely swim, we went to the Safeway and stocked up on food.  This was definitely a highlight for the day  (yup, definitely easily tops swimming, no matter how beautiful) since, while at the Kona Safeway, I turned the corner, looked up, and was standing face to face with Chrissie Wellington.  I played it pretty cool.  Or not.  I immediately recognized her, stopped in my tracks, and said “oh, so cool!!!! you are in the supermarket!!!!!”  Yeah there is probably at least 20 things cooler I could have said to her.  She looked at me like I was pretty much crazy or talking to myself, or perhaps on one of those super geeky bluetooth earpieces (sorry to those who wear it they are practical but not cool).  Luckily, I redeemed myself when she was in line next to me (omg! omg! Chrissie Wellington is in line next to me–I saw her groceries!!!).  I first apologized for interupting her grocery shopping time, and then said what I truly felt which is that she is a badass on the bike and I can say on behalf of all my Rose Bandit Team Teammates we ALL think she is and that I had a Rose Bandit Team koozie for her!!

umm…who wouldn’t be stoked to get one of these?

She said that I was so nice, said thank you for the cool koozie, and then gave me a hug (I let this slide, as it was, Chrissie Wellington and maybe she would rub some speed off on me–otherwise, in any other situation, could yield terrible consequences for the hugger, as I am NOT a hugger, in fact, I think that the Women’s Lacrosse sphere checking rule should be employed on personal interations as a general rule of thumb).

I finally calmed down from this exciting trip to the Safeway.  I must admit, it did take a 45 minute spin on Fergie (Fergie is on her maiden voyage to Kona–I thought it was only fair as Rizzo went last year) to really calm me back down.

Fergie this summer on Long Island, she will most likely get “leid” tomorrow….

Successful day #1 in the books.  Ironman Danish is still head on straight and not tweaking (yet), so all is good here!  How can it not be with this view from our condo?

Not even Instagrammed!

Rizzo gets leid!!!

The day started out as anything but what locals would call your typical Kona day….it started with torrential rain and grey skies….ruh roh.  Our plan for a morning swim was pretty much foiled by this weather, and the coffee barge had apparently also decided to postpone their presence until the rain subsided.  Lucky for all, the weather has cleared and it is a BEAUTIFUL day–might be more beautiful than any other day so far.  In fact, the wind has backed off at the Upolu Airport, maybe an all time low of 8mph!  Let’s hope it stays this way for the race!!! I actually was able to take Rizzo out for a spin this morning and she went hog wild in the beautiful sunshine:

Rizzo got a tattoo!!! (at least it's not an Mdot...phew!)

Riz got laid at the beach (at the swim start...man she is loose!)

She got laid by the surf....

and then she got laid by the pool....

So, it was a pretty full morning for Riz out on the town…but, we decided we would gear up and head out on a pre race ride with Danish.  We suited up and headed out and we are happy to report that Ironman Danish is ready to rock tomorrow!  Our little no heart rate zone (for him) 20 minute training ride averaged 20mph!  Sweet!!!  This time we took the more scenic bike course (rather than going on the IM bike course, Danish wanted to head on a more pre race scenic ride).  Rizzo and I stopped to snap this sweet shot:

Damn straight...respect this beeeeeach!!!

Upwind Uphill BOTH ways???

Yeah, so, this morning I ventured out to ride the Ironman WC bike course….

what I was getting myself into...

I had heard a great many try geeks out here (including Ironman Danish AND BDubbs) say that this bike course is said to be upwind and uphill BOTH ways….IMPOSSIBLE! I thought, and I really looked at the two of them and assumed they knew better as both are sailors (not like once and while on a cruiser sailors, I mean like pro sailors)….I was actually meeting LeeZ, a fellow MIA cyclist (and owner of Body Zen) to ride the course (minus the loop around town).

LeeZ

While I was getting ready to start MY day, Ironman Danish and BDubbs started their day with an early morning swim “workout.”  I say “workout” because I am not 100% that they were not snorkeling….based on photographic evidence of their “workout” and the expresso boat….hmmmmm

workout or photoshoot? who brings a camera to a workout....hmmmm

the AWESOME Coffee's of Hawaii Expresso Barge

Anyway, back to the bike course. LeeZ and I left Lava Java at 7am sharp.  We headed out on the course right away.  As we got past the airport we both commented that at least we had a headwind on the way out, as most certainly we would have a tail wind home….Anyway, it was not super grueling as we were fresh and had some amusement on the side of the road…there are designated donkey crossings here on Kona…and after seeing one that said “Caution, Donkey Crossing next 2 miles” shortly thereafter was this AWESOME sign:

Donkeys at Play perhaps? I mean, kids with a ball means kids at play....hmmmm

We continued riding after this brief photo op uphill and upwind from where we started.  We stopped at mile 35 to take on some water/gatorade and proceeded on to Hawi–which as it turns out was uphill and upwind from the quicky mart.  By uphill, I mean it was a 12 mile climb at 3% grade average with a 25 knot headwind….yeah, it was awesome!  By the time we got to Hawi, I was pooped.  Half from the actual ride and half from missing so many hours of sleep on our trip here.  I got a smoothie and a coke and was ready to head the 53.53 miles back.

We descended back down to the quicky mart with a tail/stiff cross wind.  At times, my bike actually went past the point of no return, but I was able to save it.  It was pretty gnarly and fun….Towards the bottom of that descent, however, the wind slowly shifted towards on the nose.  We stopped again, got some more gatorade and headed uphill and, yup, upwind home…by the way–the scenery, they make it look much more scenic in race replays…it looks like this for almost all 107 miles…which, coming from Miami is pretty AMAZING the first 53.53, but after headwind turned headwind the only thing you have to check out is how some lava looks different from other lava…and you try NOT to look at the water, as the white caps remind you of the wind…

the scenary

At about mile 90, we hear (and then see) a sweet white chevy impala rollin our way…

yeah, this thing is sweet!

its Ironman Danish and BDubbs!  Yup, they have come to bring us some COLD gatorade and cokes!  Woo hoo!!  Just when I thought those two were doing nothing all day but frolicking in the Pacific…Anyway, that stop actually gave me enough to battle the 17 miles of headwind and hills we had left.  And, it also helped me struggle this smile:

struggling a smile at mile 90

We made it home, and despite the challenging conditions, the fact that it is ACTUALLY uphill and upwind both ways, we managed to average 17mph…not terrible for a training ride.

Now, I will say, several times during this ride, I blurted out “F” bombs, screamed “uphill–really?,” muttered “are we ever going to go downwind”…which leads me to say I am 100% attending the “thank God I’m not racing” party on Friday night…and also leads me to say I am also 100% going to “workout” tomorrow like the other two and hit up the swim up expresso bar….and maybe, just maybe, hit the “underpants run…” lead by our fearless leader–Nelson (Danish’s Bestie who flew out to HI for the occasion)….

 

Afternote:

It was in fact upwind and uphill both ways…here is a wind graph from the Upolu Airport when I was passing by on way up to Hawi–it was gusting to 33mph!!!  Urgh!!!

Proof!!