By Charlotte Paul

Being in Kona race week is really indescribable, from the moment you step off the plane. The heat, humidity and wind hit you all at once, and in an instant you know you’re on the Big Island for “the big one”.

There’s a buzz and excitement that’s just infectious. We’re on cloud nine, just lapping it up. I was thinking the other day- for us as spectators it’s akin to going on holiday with hundreds of people you now. And if you don’t know many people here, it’s akin to holidaying with 100s of people just like you! And you’re all looking forward in anticipation to the same one day where everything will be laid on the line and new champions decided.

For competitors it’s whole different story. They’re torn between holiday mode and race mode. Week long winding up emotionally whilst winding down physically during their taper.

Each morning at the pier is a mad house, and each year we’ve been here it just gets bigger and crazier. There’s a multitude of companies handing out freebies, and Kona 2010 branded loot is high premium souvenir material! The chatter is in all languages under the sun. The mood still jovial- we’re 2 days out. Tomorrow I know things will change…

We swim out from Dig Me Beach, and it’s a lesson in spotting. There’s swimmers everywhere and the last thing anyone wants is a head-on collision.
We make our way straight to the “Coffees of Hawaii Boat” for a coffee, of course, and a short rest before our 10 mins swim back. Life is tough!
Swimming farther out on course are all the athletes- and they have the added bonus of potential dolphin and turtle spotting.

Breakfast is another social occasion. Lava Java being the hub of pro-spotting and a hive of race conversation, rumour and weather speculation.

Kristian has met with all the TriSpecific athletes and answered all the last minute questions and concerns. “where should I start in the swim?”, “should I wear an aero helmet?”…”should I switch to the race sponsor nutrition?” Heck no!! Stuff they all know but Kona tends to bring out the nerves in everyone- even the 10- time Kona finishers. We all need reassurance.

TriSpecific has some seriously talented age groupers racing on the Big Island this year and we’re really excited to see how they go. There’s no pressure, we’re like proud parents and just want to see them do their very best.

So just like proud parents, here’s a little boast about how good our TriSpecific athletes are this year.

Peter McLean #943 M 40-44 First time to the Big Island after almost 7 years of trying to get here. Proving that you can get here if you really set your mind to it. Stoked to be here and loving every minute with his family here to support.

Mark Jansen #1277 M 35-39 Age Group Champion IMWA 2009. A seriously talented athlete. Always miraculous how well he performs with a highly time consuming job and this time a newborn.- IMLive seems to agree with our predictions labeling Mark “one to watch”!

Belinda Harper #1486 F 35-39 Age Group Champion and 6th female overall in her first Ironman- IMNZ 2010. Don’t be surprised if Belinda is one of the first AG women out of the water…and perhaps across the line…

Scott Jones #734 M 45-49 Age Group Champion IMCanada 2010. Looking to win the Military division here for the second time.
And lastly Scott’s wife…

Teresa Rider #565 F 50-54 Age Group Champion IM Canada 2010- with the fastest AG female bike split of the day on her Kestrel Airfoil, smashing the AG record by some 45 mins! This woman is an inspiration. She was AG World Champion here in 2006 and looking to win it back again this year. We don’t see why not?

Follow them online at www.ironmanlive.com and click on the “athlete tracker” tab.