Last year around this time I wrote about the Ironman triathlon held here in Kona each year. Well, it’s that time again, and tomorrow some few thousand men and women will jump in the waters of Kona bay, swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, and then run 26 miles and change.
When I wrote THAT POST, I mentioned in passing about all the fine human specimens that were running, swimming, and biking around here. As luck would have it, a few of my female readers asked if they could, by chance, see said specimens.
Here’s the thing . . . I’ve had these photos for over a year now and I’ve been hesitant to show them because . . . well, frankly, they suck. They are not sharp and lack the quality I would like for people to associate with my work.
And, you know what? I don’t know why all these photos turned out as lower quality.
BUT . . . I have me some better post-processing skills now, and I did at least manage to make them passable. There is no associated SmugMug gallery because these photos don’t pass the pixel test. Still, you can click on them for a larger view, and I do — for what it’s worth —provide the full-size version of the panoramas (they are big; don’t click on the links unless you have a decent Internet connection).
So, here we go . . .
Just to be clear, the above photo is of one of the athletes competing in the older age groups, and I’m showing that photo out of order. All of these photos were shot in the course of two days. Days when I ventured down to Kona proper. It was hot, difficult to find parking, and we don’t even want to mention the state of the port-a-potties sprinkled in various strategic locations. What I will mention is that this year we didn’t venture down there.
From last year, in chronological order . . .
That panorama shows the swimming course (the yellow floating buoys). The course is 1.1 miles each way. For them with good internet speeds, the full-size version of that photos can be had by clicking HERE. It’s a 13,460 x 3,203 pixel, 10 MB photo. After it downloads, you can click anywhere on it to zoom into actual size. It’s grainy, but some will do it anyway. Again, I don’t know why my good rig let me down, but I suspect it was the operator and not the rig.
Here’s a closer look at the swimmers . . .
This next panorama shows the launch point for the swimmers. It’s a small area (the beach on the right side of the photo) and people go off in waves.
That’s a 180º view of the area. Again, people set off from the small beach. The full-size version of the above is HERE. That photo is 17,408 x 3,192 pixel and it takes up 13MB.
While we were there, some kids were having a ball in the protected beach . . .
Even as swimmers entered the water to start their swim and others left the water having completed it.
It should be noted that while I made the effort to capture male specimen I judged might raise the heart rate of a few females, I am, in fact, a poor judge of what women want to see. Note also that any women captured in the frames are purely incidental despite having received a few requests for female representation.
Here’s the thing; I don’t feel comfortable photographing people and even less so women and even less so, scantily-dressed women. Call me old-fashioned.
Back then, we still walked at the Old Kona Airport, so I did capture a few photos of people training there.
. . . and of people along Aliʻi drive . . .
I’m not sure if those three are actual athletes or just here to observe.
There are a lot of bikers around . . .
. . . and this is where I got me the opening shot . . .
I shot him while I was waiting for these guys to get closer . . .
Again, I presume women would find something to like there, but that’s only a guess.
This guy looked like he was having a race with the Camaro in the background . . .
If he was, he left it in the dust . . .
Really, I was just waiting for this next guy to run by. I assume women like man-buns to look at.
Oh, OK . . . I did shoot some women, but was very uncomfortable doing it . . .
Right after that, we got back to the condo and I shot this . . .
The next day saw us back down on Aliʻi Drive to do some shopping for someone who wanted Ironman merchandise. This gave me the chance to take in the atmosphere of the place. A bit more people than usual and people running or biking that are a tad fitter than the casual tourist.
A quick note about this. I don’t know what it is about coming to Kona, but many tourists — tourists who obviously don’t have running as part of their regular routine — decide this is a good place to run a few miles. Honest, I’m not judgmental but you want to stop, get out of the car, and tell them to just enjoy their time here. Maybe suggest a walk or something, but try to dissuade them from running in 90º / 85% humidity conditions in a black outfit that’s supposed to — or so I hear — help one appear slimmer than they otherwise would appear.
For one, if you’re not used to running, you’re going to be sore. For another, the heat and humidity are going to sap all your energy. Just enjoy the vacation. Trust me; it’s better that way.
As we were walking towards the “official” shops, we saw these guys running. These are reaction shots and I wish I’d gotten better ones.
There you go, ladies. In shape, young(ish), and with a sense of humor. What more would you want?
No offense to bikers, but those outfits were — to me — not much sillier than the outfits bikers wear. No offense to what are probably world-class athletes that could both kick my ass and run rings around me, but biking outfits always look odd to me.
Most businesses love these two weeks or so because they are always packed.
In short order, we arrived at one of the many places sporting tents selling everything a proper athlete would want, from equipment to supplements to miracle elixirs guaranteed to make you twice the athlete you would be if you only trained.
You can recognize these places because they all have a giant phallic symbol marking the locations.
We would stop there on the way back, but for now, we continued on toward the marina.
Here’s the thing . . . starting a few days before, pretty much every flat few square feet of land sees some tent or another set up and selling something or other.
There will be more photos in the gallery at the end of the post, but let me give you a taste of walking toward the marina a day or two before the race . . .
Remember the opening shot of a few people swimming? Well, there are a few more people getting a few last laps in in preparation for the race.
Here’s a panorama that doesn’t give justice to the hustle and bustle of swimmers in the water.
HERE is the full-size panorama, 10,576 x 3,264 pixels and 7MB.
There are some temporary lockers set up, but many swimmers just find a place to put their stuff while they take to the water.
As far as I could tell, no one worried about their stuff being stolen.
Here are a few scenes from the launch area . . .
That’s against the light . . . let me move over a bit and take a panorama of the place . . .
If you want to see the full 11,136 x 3,208 pixel photo (8 MB), click HERE.
Here are some of the swimmers (more in the gallery).
Here’s another shot of the gear drop-off area . . .
We finally made it to where they sell the official merchandise . . .
You know this is the place because . . .
. . . that’s right; the phallic symbol.
They do have a neat thing here . . . a “wall” of sorts with the names of all the 2,000+ competitors.
The gallery will have close-ups of the whole wall for them who want to either memorize all the names or count them.
So, I got to photograph some neat things . . .
. . . but felt I was letting my female readers down. I mean, a few hunks yes, but I wanted to do right by them.
. . . so I headed back to the swim area . . .
Holding little hope, I was about to leave when . . . paydirt!
OK, ladies, I trust this fills whatever requirement you might have imagined?
Mind you, there are a lot of fit people at these things . . .
Some even sporting some impressive muscles groups, but they all swagger around as if the world revolves around them (which, it might).
But this guy looked like a nice guy, acted like a nice guy, and didn’t try to catch his reflection on every semi-shiny surface he passed by.
Here he is ladies, one more time.
Feeling justified in thinking I’d met my goal, we headed back toward where we parked the car.
There, a few more shots for you gals.
On the way back, we stopped at the Ironman Village, curious as to what wonders we would see; perhaps something that would make me 8″ taller, straighten my legs, broaden my shoulders, and transformed me into a fine specimen of the male of the species.
Alas, there was no magic elixir. A lot of equipment, yes, and supplements, yes, and, apparently, salt.
Also, energy stuff (food and magic water) . . .
There was one booth that promised to alleviate leg cramps. Basically, a very expensive cocktail made with concentrated extracts from the hottest peppers one could find. There is some science behind it, but the claims far exceeded the research data.
Plus, it set my mouth afire and had an aftertaste that lingered far longer than I was happy with. I’ll take the cramps, thanks.
We rushed back to the car so that I could down all the water we had with us. And we left.
The next morning had us head to the other side of the island, thus avoiding the whole Ironman experience. Before we left, I snapped this shot from our condo.
Those are the swimmers on the first leg of the competition.
Click HERE for the full-size version of that panorama. It’s not that great, but it is big . . . 11,111 x 2,771 pixels and 8 MB.
That scene will repeat tomorrow morning and once again, we won’t be there to see it up-close and personal. But, I will snap a few photos using the P900, just to see if I can get a better version of the above panorama.
Here’s the gallery:
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
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