Cycling is a popular activity on the Big Island. The road from Kailua Kona to Hawi is wide with good shoulders, and it’s a favorite with cyclists because it’s the route of the cycling portion of the Ironman race. However, as is the case everywhere, it can be a dangerous activity, sharing the highway with large, fast-moving vehicles.
Ghost bikes serve as memorials for cyclists killed or badly hurt when things go wrong. These are two I see daily on my commute.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Working Together.’ See more responses here.
The Ironman World Championship race is held here every year in October. Last year, there were nearly 2,500 competitors so it’s a huge event. An army of volunteers helps make the race happen, involved in everything from setting up the course to numerous activities on race day to cleaning up afterwards.
This photo was taken at the turnaround in Hawi, roughly halfway into the 112 mile cycling course. It’s the top of the bike course with it being mostly downhill back to Kailua Kona. Of course, this being cycling, there’s a good chance the wind, which can be fierce here, will be in the cyclists’ faces on the way up and on the way back down.
At this turnaround, volunteers hand out water and food to the competitors. It’s a tricky business making the handoff since the cyclists keep moving and there’s a steady stream of them. In this photo, I like the movement of the volunteer handing off the water as well as the echo of the action in the strong shadows.
Also posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Top.’ See more responses here.
During last month’s Ironman race, these cyclists had committed some sort of misdemeanor, probably following too close, on their way to Hawi, and had been pulled over to serve a 5-minute penalty. But what I liked about this scene was the sign in the background reading ‘Exertion plus perspiration equals inspiration.’ I suspect many of the Ironman participants might have thought the sign should have read ‘Exertion plus perspiration equals pain.’
Incidentally, that bright neon sign was a source of great community consternation when it went up. Some locals thought it was OK. Others thought it was a blight on the community and a sign of the impending apocalypse. It’s been in place a few months now and the hubbub seems to have subsided. I have to say though that the neon colors are still as garish as they ever were.
This week’s Sunday Stills theme is ‘Orange.’ (See more responses here.) Usually I pick one subject for these challenges, but I had two recent subjects that fit the bill and I couldn’t make up my mind, so I’m including both.
The flower photos are of a dendrobium secundum orchid, which is also known as a toothbrush orchid. The flower color can vary from pale pink to purple with an orange labellum at the tip. These flowers were soft and delicate looking, yet so lush.
The bottom photo is from the recent Ironman race on the island. I liked the pop of this cyclist’s outfit and how his water bottle matched his orange helmet.
Saturday saw the running of the 40th edition of the Ironman World Championships in Kailua Kona. This is the event featuring a swim of 2.4 miles, a bike ride of 112 miles, and a run of 26.2 miles. As in previous years, I participated in this event by walking out to the main road and taking photos, whenever possible from a nice shady spot.
Actually, this year’s race was run in prime conditions for the athletes. It was overcast with occasional light rain and only a gentle breeze from time to time. Consequently many records were set, including new course records for both men and women.
The top photo shows men’s winner and defending champion, Patrick Lange of Germany, zipping by on his way back towards Kona. Second photo, Great Britain’s Susie Cheetham heads out of Hawi. Third photo, Dan Plews of NewZealand (1685) leads Robin Schneider of Germany (2310), and Neil Eddy of Great Britain (2070). These three finished the bike leg in fairly close proximity, but after the marathon run, Plews finished 21 minutes ahead of Eddy and 45 minutes ahead of Schneider. Fourth photo, Jodie Robertson of the U.S.A demonstrates the importance of color coordination while cycling. Bottom, a large group of riders roll into Hawi, the turnaround point of the bike leg.
Last Saturday was the Ironman 70.3 race on the island. Unlike the Ironman world championship, held here in October, the 70.3 series covers half the distance. That means there’s a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. However, as with the longer race, Hawi is the turnaround point on the bike leg, so I ambled down to take a look.
Top: Racers heading in opposite directions shortly before/after the turnaround.
Middle: Slowing to make the turn.
Below: Bottles and trash can only be dropped in certain areas, where volunteers quickly pick them up for disposal or recycling.
I figure that if they’re doing a half distance race, it can’t be longer before they offer other shorter versions. I’m waiting until they get down to a one sixty-fourth Ironman and then I’m racing. Still a little worried about the run though.
The last Ironman World Championship in Kailua Kona saw a lot of cyclists breaking the law. No one in this photo was anywhere near meeting the minimum speed requirement. Hawaii police could have had a field day had they been so inclined.