A trip that was two years in the making finally happened this past weekend. A large contingent of Human Powered Racing athletes made their way to the Big Island of Hawaii for the twice postponed Lavaman Triathlon at the Waikoloa Resort on the Kohala Coast.
We did this race as a team back in 2015 so it was great to go back with 19 of us on the start line. (Gerald Kersten, Lisa Kersten, Ed Walsh, Daphne Walsh, Mike Neill, Sandy Wilson, Jennifer Campbell, Michael Campbell, Mike Gregory, Robin Riley, April Vesey, Jessica Gorges, Heloiza Brod, Erin Glazier, Rob Dibden, Liz McCarter, Eileen Harper, Diana Thaxter, Christopher Mavrikos)
Race day brought extremely tough conditions with a wind advisory greeting us that morning. Most people were concerned with the wind conditions on the bike, but it was actually the off shore trade winds that made the swim course extremely challenging. The way back to the beach was directly into the sun and waves. Those that made it directly back to the beach in a straight line were lucky more than anything.
The out and back bike course was challenging in the early stages and over the closing few kilometers, but the further south we went towards the town of Kona the more the wind calmed making for a much gentler ride than expected.
The run course at Lavaman is usually pretty fast up until the last KM when you are forced to run on a single track of lava rock and sand, however this year the wind did make it a challenge as you ran directly into the wind for 5km. The second half of the run with the wind at your back was faster, but it also made it feel about 10 degrees hotter. Conditions were not set up to be fast.
The finish line on the beach (where the chaos of the start was only a couple of hours earlier) is fantastic. The chance to grab a cold Kona Brewing Company beer and cheer on team mates to the finish line is one of the most memorable moments I have had as a coach and athlete! I look forward to getting back there again soon
Congratulations to our podium finishers; Jennifer Campbell (1st), Jessica Gorges (1st), Mike Neill (1st), Diana Thaxter (2nd), Christopher Mavrikos (2nd), Mike Gregory (3rd), Sandy Wilson (3rd),
Full results can be found here.