Today, the expo was open from 9am until 4pm and John was presenting MyAthlete on center stage at 10:30am. The idea was for me to head out and ride the Hawaii bike course, tagged with one of the g-units (that's the name I gave to the MyAthlete device). Then, those coming through the expo could see on the big screens set up at the MyAthlete tent exactly how the devices work in real time. The unit worked great and recorded my ride in 1 minute intervals.
I headed out into a mild wind and for the first hour I was flying. In fact, I went 25 miles in the first hour. Kona is very interesting though and things can change on a dime. Up near the big resorts on the queen K, the wind picked up. There also wasn't a clooud in the sky. I stopped in Kawahai to refuel and Laurent Jalabert, the famous french cyclist, was hanging out, just having finished up a ride of his own. After a quick can of coke and a refill of gatorade in my bottles, I soldiered on. The 20 mile climb up to Hawi was brutal. the wind was gusting to the point were I was almost knocked off my bike a few times. That combined with the intense heat of the day made things more than challenging. The conditions closely resembled 97', which I feel was the toughest year I raced in Hawaii. The locals in Kawahai even were discussing how hot it was. On the climb to Hawi, there was some fresh road kill - a wild boar, with it's intestines strung out across the road. the smell combined with the heat almost made me vomit. As I descended from Hawi, I flatted on some glass on my front tire. I changed it quickly, then stopped at the convienient store there for some more fluids and a chipwhich. I called up John and said "where am I?" the devices were working great since he knew exactly where I was. My ride ended a bit early due to another flat on the queen K on the return trip. I brought out a brand new tire that I should have put on! It was a good solid ride though, and John said that those coming through the expo loved seeing the live info.
There were a lot of athletes training out on the course. A lot that were racing! They should be resting. It's funny how you never see the pros out there. It was also funny how some people yelled at me to save it for race day.
As we were cleaning up the expo site at 4pm, John mentioned that Sister Madonna Buder was close by and I told him I was going to approach her about wearing a device on race day. She was very interested although she is feeling quite a bit of pressure from HBO, who are doing a special on her, and because of the fact that last year she just barely made the finish cut-off and the conditions were very favorable. She was really sweet though and mentioned she would stop back tomorrow because she wanted to find out more information on MyAthlete.
Tonight we had a dinner at the house for the athletes who will be wearing the devices on race day and John's friend Peter, who came out to cook, made an unbelievable dinner. He bought fresh Tuna right off the dock here in kona from a fisherman and served it with a spicy mango salsa and sticky coconut rice. For desert, he made a chocolate mousse infused with fresh Kona coffee. It was better than most restaurants by far. The athletes seemed excited to be a part of this initial soft launch. The more I see the excitement from everyone about this business, the more excited I get about being part of this initial launch.
Tomorrow, I am going to run early down to the pier and then do a swim. After some breakfast, I plan on riding back up near Hawi with one of the units again. There was a small section where the unit lost contact for a bit and we want to see if it will happen again. Once it kicked back on, all the info was there. So it should be another busy, fun day! If that boar is still there, I'm bringing it back to see what Peter the chef can do with it.