and even the waiters and waitresses are all wearing t-shirts with the M-dot logo or some reference to triathlon. At a time of year that would otherwise be off season, the islanders are happy for the business that the Ironman brings and it shows in their hospitality and enthusiasm. I can imagine that Kona is like this, only more intense.
As it is winter here, it gets dark really early. In fact, if I want a finisher's photo without flash, I am going to have to finish in less than 10:15! The advantage is that it has been really easy for the whole family to go to bed at around 9pm and get up at 6am, so an early start at 4am shouldn't be a problem - maybe the family will accompany me to the start after all.
The last of my pre-Ironman duties is to do the bike check-in. I have been assigned the last slot of the day - 7pm to 8pm - which is a bit on the late side, so I'm going to try my luck at squeezing in to an earlier slot. I want to be already sitting down to dinner at 7pm. At the check-in, I have to present not only the bike but the transition bags which must contain everything I will need for going from the swim to the bike and from the bike to the run. I won't have access to these tomorrow before the race so I'd better not forget anything! I don't think I will bother with the "special needs" bag for the bike but, in the special needs bag which you get handed at the half-way point in the run, I'll put some spare salt caps and two small bottles of isogels.
Yesterday we watched the DVD of the race from 2010. It may be a predominantly flat course but the hills that there are are real hills, with a gradient of about 20%. I'll just have to keep an eye on my pulse and walk up them if necessary.
I've been trying very hard not to spend too much time, energy or money in the expo. Luckily everything is at least twice as expensive as back home otherwise I might have fallen foul of the temptation to by a cool 3 or 4 spoke aero wheel (shaving a whopping 30 seconds from my time no doubt) or worse. While I was waiting for the official store to open, I asked someone standing next to me in Portuñol if he knew when they would open; he said "Hey, you're Rob, right? From Rust to Ironman!". It was Christian, who I had yet to meet, the one who took us to my fundraising target of 3,000 pounds.
By the time I next post, I will be an Ironman!! By the way, this is the tattoo that won my tattoo design contest - I think it is great but now I just have to see whether I have the balls to actually have it inked...