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September 10, 2008

Got the Visa!

So today I went to the American Embassy to score a visa to the United States of Ameeeeeeeeericaa. The process was tedious and involved 90 minutes of waiting and a 2 minute inverview. I was told I wasnt allowed to sit down whilst waiting for my interview to begin. “Capitalism” sure was allowing me any options whilst I was in their midst.

Anyhow. I got it and now I am off to the Big Island. To race this beast that is the World Ironman Championships. Lets have a run-down of what it exactly is I`ll be doing, for those out there who dont do tri…

Hawaii is a warm place in October, and I expect the weather to be around 34 degrees celcius, give or take a degree both ways.

The Swim

We are lucky enough to swim in crystal clear oceans and apparently, you can see tropical fish on the swim. You`ll have lots of time for this if you`re snorkeling, but unfortunately I`ll be trying to avoid 1800 other Ironman athletes swimming over me in whats commonly referred to as the “washing machine”. The swim is 3.8km and I am hoping to be done in just under 55minutes. As there is no wetsuit, I`m trying to organise a special swimming suit at the moment, so lets hold thumbs.

The focus on the swim is to stay calm and collected and not overexert yourself, there is a helluva long way to go. I love the swim and I am looking forward to spending some time near the front of the age group race before the bike freaks come by.

I reckon for every minute you go too fast (faster than your ability and your effort to swim within a group) on the swim, you pay with 5 minutes on the run.

The Bike

There are a couple concerns for me on the bike. The fact that its 180km is NOT one of them, believe it or not. Thats almost twice the Argus, but for us, the bike is there to get as fast as possible with the least amount of effort, from the swim, to the run. Plain and simple.

Here is a picture of one of my idols and someone I`m hoping to meet at the race, Peter Reid . He was 3 times World Champion and a true champion of commitment and devotion. Our bike route is bland and hot. Its volcanic rock most of the way, but at least the tar is smooth. There is a 14km climb to the turn-around in Hawi. In other words, a true EPIC ride.

See the heat coming off the road? I have heard of guys painting the soles of their bike shoes white to avoid the heat off the tar. So we don our running shoes and run on the same tar. The run in Hawaii has crumbled many a soul. Me, I`m looking forward to the challenge. I am going to get in the zone and stick there. I am going to be taking Whasp Gels like they were free KFC at a ANC Youth League lunch. I am going to keep my cooling zones fueled with ice, and I am going to have a smile on my face.

I am going to be looking forward to seeing my family and girlfriend near the finish line. I am going to soak up the vibe and ride the wave of people and emotions.

…………… and then, I am going to get to the Natural Energy Lab.

In order to study the volcanic rock and activities, they put a Lab in the hottest part of the island. In order to take us from battling with the heat to Grasping with the Purpose of Life, they take us down the 5km road towards the Energy Lab. When we get to the gate, we turn around, and go back up the hill. Makes sense right? This is Ironman. Its far. Its not a tickling competition.

When I get out of The Lab, its 10km to the greatest finish chute on the planet!

I will probably cry.

Wow! Just writing that, I`m all excited and ready to rumble!

Mnandi. Raoul

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