I leave for Kona on Sunday. Last night I started looking over old photos from past trips, and got so excited! I wanted to share some of my favorite and most memorable photos from my past three trips to Kona, from 2009 to 2012 (missed 2011 because I was in a wedding). Also, I have to mention the photo above in case you didn't notice it's from Kona. That picture was taken last year by Triathlete Magazine's Kurt Hoy. It was a spur-of-the-moment photo session in the Energy Lab at sunset, and my first time running out there. Amazing. Thanks, Kurt, for inviting me. Hope we can do something similar again!
I think most of these are in chronological order, but maybe not. I will let the captions do the explaining :)
Turns out I was standing right next to Tom Lowe (pro triathlete and Chrissie Wellington's boyfriend) at the finish in 2009. I had no idea who he was until she came running over for some lovin after winning!
2009. Where I stood on the bike course after driving out to this spot with Mario Huys, who was then coaching Yvonne Van Vlerken and Michi Weiss at the time. That was an interesting car drive picking his brain!
Well, well, well. Would you look at this crew! What a great photo from the Underpants Run in 2009.... can't. stop. laughing. A couple of these folks are now very accomplished pro triathletes. To the right there's my girl, Kristin, of Betty Designs. And last but not least, Kevin from Zoot!
Clif jumping after the race. A tradition and so fun! This is my buddy Tyler, from GU, in action.
One year, there was a wedding among the pros. It was pretty damn fun. Lots of dancing, killer food and memorable conversations (despite the cocktails).
An honor and privilege to get to witness this woman race and win. She's definitely a hero of mine. I took this photo, and a lot of others of the pros that day, while my feet melted. I finally got an idea of what it was like to stand on lava fields.
Random, but such a memorable moment for me. This was the race-morning breakfast of AG'er Dean Sprague, who crashed on our hotel room floor the night before the race (his other option was sleeping in a rental car). And he had such a cool, laid-back attitude, not anal Type A at all. That was really neat to observe. But this breakfast, seriously?!
My first year in Kona, and I was so in love yet so naive. If you look closely, you can literally see fear in my face. But it's those early experiences, taking risks, and going outside the comfort zone that turned me in to who I am now. I have to thank Kevin Koresky of TriLounge for helping me get a great deal on hotel accommodations right on Ali'i with them that year, and to Roman Mica at EveryManTri for having the faith to send little ol' me out there to get coverage.
Getting to Kona, walking around, browsing, and then randomly seeing this. Wow. I had a really good time that year (2010?) modeling for Zoot, and getting to work with their team as well as John Segesta. Formed some life-long friendships in the process :)
These are an absolute staple in Kona, along with avocados and purple sweet potatoes! You can't go wrong with the price, and they are just too yummy and too easy to eat! God, get me one nowwww!
The 2009 after party just beginning. How did I even score an invite that year? So, here's the thing, back then I actually had a bit of a crush on Faris Al-Sultan. Something about that speedo I guess... Of course, my buddy Kevin Koresky is featured in this photo too!
Race morning (like 4am ish?) in Kona from the King Kam hotel. Nothing quite like this in the world. There's a good chance I was hungover but probably did not care one bit...
Can you guess whose arse this belongs to? Hint: his wife, also a pro, is about to pop with their first baby. I later when on to use this photo for an article I wrote on compression for Triathlete Magazine.
I couldn't believe I had the opportunity to work with Triathlete Magazine in Kona in 2010. Like a dream for this girl at the time. But I won't lie, I was nervous as shit on this gig! That experience, though, made me 10x more confident once I started doing work for my own podcast, Endurance Planet, out there.
Honu. Gotta love 'em.
Photo credit: Larry Rosa, who became my new BFF that year, 2010. D, remember this day? ;)
So, apparently I HAVE partied with Kerrie Wlad back in 2010! Haha! They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one has to be worth at least 5 million... oh my, oh myyyy...
I'm making this one EXTRA large so you guys all throw up in your mouths a bit haha. This was the aftermath of getting bashed in the ankle with a broken beer bottle from the same night as that picture above. You can only imagine...right? ;) #whathappensattheafterparty...
These folks were like FAMILY to me last year in Kona (2012). Love them all dearly. Who are they? Well you have Pedro Gomez, a pro who's racing again this year and funny as shit; Maggs, who's been my roomie twice now in Kona and I love her to death; and of course, Ben Greenfield, my colleague and good friend, who will be racing more and partying less this year ;) PS - this is my FAVORITE restaurant on Ali'i. A little Thai place with a good view. Pedro and I especially love the papaya salads mmmmmmmm.
Da Poke Shack and a Kona Brewing beer. It doesn't get much better.
The American boys, TO and Andy Potts, finishing back to back last year. That was pretty cool to see!
This makes me laugh.It was 2012, after the race, everyone in the media room is in a complete frenzy to get content uploaded, including me. Meanwhile, my buddy Brad Culp of LAVA hands me this beer. Love it. Stay chill, my friends...
Another shot from cliff jumping. You know what the difference is here? Instagram came into our lives haha. #enhancedphotos #filters
Behind the scenes in 2010 watching the filming of Breakfast with Bob. Bob Babbitt is LEGEND, and one of the nicest guys I've met.
Exploring the area around the Mauna Lani. One of the most amazing hotels ever, in one of the most beautiful places ever. Certain select pros are so lucky to get invited to be on a special Mauna Lani Triathlon Team!
I love D. I love that her birthday is around Kona time. And I love that I have this memory with her at Lava Java... that was a fun morning.