My trip to Kona wasn’t entirely all work and no play! Fortunately, I got a chance to explore before we started our busy work days. I wanted to experience some of the famous IRONMAN World Championship race course, and it did not disappoint. In the early part of the trip, I was able to swim, run, and bike, and it was worth it.
I thought about bringing my bike out to Kona, but knowing that bike shipping or luggage fees would be steep, and I would only have one or two times to ride, it didn’t seem worth it. I looked at various bike rental options, and prearranged to rent a bike from Velofix Hawaii. They’re a mobile bike repair company that I’ve been familiar with since they have a presence in DC, but the location in Kona offers bike rental! With a busy schedule, it was perfect for me since they deliver the bike.
Dealing with Nick from Velofix was fantastic – we emailed to set it up, and he even had a Cervelo P2 in my size. I ride a 48, so this was really surprising to find my exact bike and size just ready to be rented. I sent him my measurements, and it was that easy – he dropped off the bike off at my condo at the prearranged time, did some quick adjustments, and put my pedals on.
Velofix provided a helmet at a flat change repair kit, and I was on my way.
Since I wasn’t racing on the bike – this was only a fun ride – I probably didn’t even need to test it out, but I took it for a quick spin and told him everything was great.
Since I only had one shot at biking in Kona, I was eager to get out on the course. I rode from my condo, just off Ali’i drive, out to the Queen K Highway, and was ready to tackle a portion of the famous bike course.
At first, I was underwhelmed.
Getting out of the city area was basically an annoying ride of traffic lights and construction. Okay, I thought, it’s gotta get more enjoyable soon. Having driven the course over the weekend with the staff, I knew that the construction didn’t last forever, but it sure felt that way for a while.
Then, all of a sudden at mile 10 or so, I broke free and had this overwhelming feeling of “I’m here!”
Seriously, check out the sign – donkey crossing!
Since I wasn’t training for any race in particular and I was riding with no pressure, I stopped and smelled the roses.
Or the lava rocks, as the case may be.
I had some stop and go moments for photos along the way. The scenery looks pretty much the same in pics, but really – it was stunning in person.
I knew I had to get back to the expo to join the rest of the staff at work, but I was just starting to enjoy the ride between miles 10-20. And then… it was meant to be – a scenic overlook at mile 20 that was the perfect turnaround spot.
But wait, there were goats just wandering by!
Can you see the mama and baby goat?
It’s hard to capture the breathtaking beauty of this scenic overlook with a phone camera. But look at the pic for a moment – that’s water extending basically into the sky. The water, fields, and just the sheer serenity of the island is magical.
But then it was time to ride back the 20 miles home, and so I headed on my way.
On the way back, I stopped for a pic at the entrance to the famed Energy Lab.
I had seen it on our island tour on Saturday, but it was cool to just be biking by! There were so many athletes out there training for the race on foot and on bikes.
The trip back into town wasn’t as bad construction-wise, or maybe I was still riding high on my 40-mile ride. I ended up in a lot of stop-and-go traffic on Ali’i drive heading back, and realized there were probably better ways back to my condo – but not quite as scenic!
I loved biking on the Queen K – what an experience to have a taste of what the athletes racing got to do on race day – for 70+ more miles than I rode, of course.
More to come on my adventures in Kona!