The Sparkling Eyes of My Roots
"Knowing your roots is knowing your way. Our roots represent the path that our ancestors have taken and the choices that have been made that define and illuminate who we are today."
Official Program, IRONMAN World Championship, 2012
|Caffeinated swimmers head back to the pier.|
One athlete surveys the horizon, still obscure with the just rising sun. “What the heck is that?” he wonders as he spies a vessel under sail, a few hundred meters off the tip of the pier. It seems to be handing something to the swimmers.
In fact, this is the Coffee’s of Hawaii barge, some might say a crazy idea from a couple years ago (but, then again, this is Hawaii and they certainly think outside the box here.) Now it’s really taken hold. It’s a floating Starbucks. But free. Like the Underpants Run on Thursday, or breakfast at Lava Java, it’s one of the things that makes Ironman unique among athletic contests. All you have to do, race entrant or not, is swim up to the side of the craft, place your order, “decaf Kona coffee, please,” and a 3-4 oz piping hot cup of Kona’s finest is in your hand while floating in the Pacific Ocean. You gaze around at the other swimmers doing likewise, and at once a big laugh breaks out at the absurdity of this moment. Like the t-shirt says, life is good. I agree.
A number of industry booths have popped up on the pier from goggles to supplements to energy drinks (Jen - potential for insertion of IM sponsors here) and they all seem well attended.
It’s a big day. Race registration for many! For those first timers, when they sit down with the volunteer team, and a big bag of goodies, including their Ironman wrist band, their ticket to the starting line on Saturday, the excitement begins to build. They’re told about the Ironman Parade of Nations, the Ironman village with over 50 vendors, and the E Komo Mai (Welcome) banquet for 6,000 on Thursday evening, it’s close to information overload for our happy athlete.
The volunteer train leaves the station today and only picks up speed from here. This race couldn’t exist if it weren’t for the thousands of people who give of themselves and their time. One good example would be the Transition team led by David Huerta. His team members come from CA, VA, Kona, and even as far away as Australia. For the most part they pay their own way, leave their “day job” behind, all so that they can contribute to the success of this event. And many have been doing it for 20 years or longer. I always encourage the triathletes to “say thank you to every volunteer and every police officer” as they are truly the backbone of Ironman.
Thanks to TP