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!

Sport

I have officially upgraded my Mountain Bike racing category from a “Base” women’s racer to a “Sport” women’s racer.  This past Sunday was my first venture into the world of “sport” up at Haile’s Trails.  Haile’s Trails are on a quarry that is actually on someones private property (they also happened to have a sweet moto cross course on the property also–these people are sort of badass apparently).  The trails are only opened twice a year–for racing only.  I was pretty excited as I had heard this course has “a lot of climbing” (although, I was pretty sure that was a Floridians explanation of a lot of climbing, not someone from NC, CO, CA, or pretty much anywhere else with actual hills).

Regardless, I was pretty excited to “climb.”  I busted out the HOT OFF THE PRESS 2012 Rose Bandit Team Kit–which is BAD ASS thanks to the amazing design talents of CRE843 designer BZ–and even gets comments while riding in the trees (apparently, it is not all that camouflage–we stick out).

Probably wouldn't choose to wear my kit if I was a guerrilla fighter...lucky for me, I am not a guerrilla fighter, 'cause, damn is it awesome!!!

So, I lined up against 7 other women, including friend and competitor Beata Wronska who, like me, was also lining up for her first race in sport.  She and I had both independently pre-rode the course on Saturday and both were AMAZED at how hard the course was–I was excited, she, less excited especially after a recurring knee injury was worsened the weekend before when we both competed in XTerra Miami.  Before the race, we laughed at how we were both so nervous we felt like puking–laughing because we had no reason to be nervous, we shouldn’t have any expectations, being it our first race in a harder category.

Beata and me after the race...

The whistle blew and for the first time in my short MTB or any racing on a bike experience, I had a hard time clipping in–turns out I had some serious mudd in my cleat–doh!  A couple of bangs on the pedal took car of that issue, but when I finally clipped in I was sitting in 6th/7th or so for the hole shot.  The first 15 minutes of this course are EXCEPTIONALLY demanding.  There are steep climbs (yup, this section definitely had me eating my words about climbing in FL) with steep drops not he other side, not to mention off camber switchbacks on roots–awesome.  I knew I had to make a move towards the front and lucky for me, many struggled on the second climb and I maneuvered my way into 4th.  The top 4 almost immediately had a sizable gap as we were able to power over the tough climbs in the beginning while those behind us got either stuck behind someone who could not (thus being forced to walk) or had trouble themselves.  I didn’t look back to see the source of the issue.

Almost done the first 15min and I am all smiles about that...

We finally got past that section (that ends with some tough rocks to get over/through) and into the single track.  I have never been so happy to see single track–time to recover and see how these girls ride.  Almost immediately the girl in first opened a small gap and the girl in second was lagging at a slow pace.  She was riding well but just not fast enough.  I was in 4th and the girl in front of me was riding less well, but was able to pull of the pass for second and I got stuck still in 4th going slower than I would have liked.  I decided since it was my first race in Sport, I should settle in and I assumed they knew something I didn’t about pacing themselves.  Wrong.  Gave them too much credit or myself not enough.  I was able to pull of the pass for 3rd on one of the steep climbs out of one of the quarries.

ok, there really were REAL climbs...in and out of quarries...here I am on a "ridge line" of one of the quarries...

By now, there was a gap though between me and second.  She was in sight, but it was about 30 seconds and another 30 to the race leader. The race continued, almost uneventfully, although it did get briefly exciting when Ironman Danish and Fast Freddy passed me towards the end of my last lap.  I finished the race in 3rd and at a manageable pace–in fact, so manageable I sort of felt like a 4th lap wouldn’t be THAT big a deal (of course, it was probably toooo manageable a pace, probably should have gone harder on the third lap).  I definitely didn’t give myself enough credit to battle to the front, and have learned my lesson for my next race in Sport.  Beata battled knee pain and finished 4th–a great race for both of us.

note: knees black with dirt, mouth full of flies (protein)

The course was surprisingly dirty on race day.  In fact, it was so not dirty on the pre ride on Saturday Ironman Danish and I commented on it.  Overnight, there was a decent amount of rain, and I am guessing this contributed to my being covered in dirt/mud.  Someone asked if I fell/crashed and I was pleased with my witty response: “no, I was just on fire and had to stop drop and roll….”  Feel free to use that one…..

woo hoo! (and, damn, that kit looks good)

** Special thanks to Beata’s hubby Pax for the AWESOME shots from the race!!!