09 October, 2010

D-Day -1: Kona 2010 Tomorrow is the Day!


Well I've just retuned from a nice Thai feast with my recently arrived family and my friends the Dempsters. Today was rather laid back just as it should be. Took in an early short swim, then biked over to Bike Works to replace a cleat screw that mysteriously fell out. I was also trying to help settle the nerves of a first time Kona participant Katie Thomas. No worries needed. She's ready to rock, and she knows it.

I had a late breakfast and watched the area around my hotel transformed. There seems to be an army of hundreds simultaneously transforming this little patch of rocky coastline. I waited until the family arrived to go check-in my bike. Right as I was in line none other than Phil White (co-founder of Cervelo) walks up to check out my bike. We talked about it at the expo and he said he wanted to see my "old school" bike. I told him as I told all the manufacturer counters as I entered. I'm kickin' it old school. I got a chuckle from some of them. I told the one guy from Profile Design that nothing has changed on my bike since 2007--and that even included the tires.

The only thing that has spoiled this evening was my Giants blowing a 4-0 lead to lose in extra innings. Oh well, I'll try and make up for it tomorrow. Thanks for all your support over the season and all the well wishes. Most of all, I'd like to thank my family. Without them none of this would be possible, and I certainly wouldn't be here. I look forward to talking to you all after all this is a pleasant memory. And remember, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

08 October, 2010

D-Day -2: Kona 2010 Big Day, Best in Kona Yet!



Wow! Where do I begin? I got to see both old and new friends and hang with some of the biggest names in Triathlon. Before I begin I want to thank Mike Orton of Blue Seventy for all of his help this week. He, Blue Seventy, and Bonzai Sports have come through in a big way for me this year. I hope to do you proud in a couple days.

This morning was the obligatory swim followed very closely by THE Underwear Run and this year was MUCH bigger and far MORE revealing than in 2007 (two words on the pic: black bra). I know I can't upload all my pictures here due to VERY slow Hawaiian upload speeds but boys...you are going to get an eye full. For the record I wore boxers with fish all over them. Nothing to bold. I did see women wearing nothing more than Spider Tech kineseo tape. After the craziness that is the underwear run I had another fantastic Hawaiian breakfast and Tante's. One must have the coconut syrup on the pancakes. It's "the shit" according to Eric Dempster and trust me, that's a good thing.

After that it was time to move rooms. Long story, but the Kona Seaside really came up big for me in that I managed to keep my room here through Sunday which will be a big plus once my family joins me tomorrow. After that we made it up to the Clif House for the Macca party. What a character. A very warm and personable person. He stayed and talked to everyone willing to wait. We even had some good fun on Facebook. Some question how big/tall Macca really is. For the record, I am much shorter than Macca. He's at least 10lbs heaver and 2" taller. The pic proves it once and for all. OK?! Shawn?

After that we went straight to the Slowtwitch gathering at the beautiful and spacious Muscle Milk house that was powered by Blue Seventy (official title). This was the most amazing party I have ever been to: period (full stop for those of you from the Commonweath countries). I didn't know it was possible to get Joe Bonnes, Rasmus Henning, Dick Bockel, The Commerzbank Triathlon team, Phil White, Herbert Krabel, Tim Carlson, and many others all under the same roof! To quote the younger generation, "the party was off the hook!" Did I mention they had Kona Brewing's finest on tap. Yeah baby! You know I had some. Race be damned! I even got to see my mate from the "land of the long white cloud (that's New Zealand by the way)" David Craig who was at my camp in the Pyrenees this summer. This guy is a beast. Did I also mention that both Debi and Ben from yesterday were at the party? I could have stayed there forever; instead, Dave and I headed for the official pre race banquet. It had the stadard fare of Luau enetrtainment followed by Ben Fertic, Mike Reilly, and Bob Babbit. You guys all know the rest.

What a full day. Now I'm in my room anticipating the arrival of my family in the morning. I will pack my bags, check my bike, and then hangout with the family before I head over to Thai Rin for my pre-race Thai feast. Talk to you tomorrow night when it will be nearly showtime!

07 October, 2010

D-Day -3: Kona 2010


So today just about everyone coming for the race is now in town. That means everything is happening often at the same time. You can't be everywhere at once so you just go along for the ride, or as the Hawaiians say, "hang loose." That has become my mantra. No type A obsession going on here. I'm eating anything and everything I want and I'm certainly partaking in my fare share from Kona Brewing Company.

The day started off as everyday has with a swim. This time I was joined by my friends from Winchester Eric Dempster and Katie Thomas. I didn't go quite as far. The water was pretty rough today and the sea was crowded. The last thing I need now is a head to head collision in Kailua bay. I did take Katie and Eric for their first trip to the CoH cat. Good stuff. Can't say it enough. I don't usually take my coffee black but here it's certainly good enough to. Oh, I forgot to mention, right as I was getting in I was greeted by Chrissie Wellington and posse. She was as gregarious as ever and had a chat with Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman). Right as I was about to dive in here comes Mark Allen (a.k.a. The Grip) out of the water. Just another day in Kona during Ironman week.

After breakfast with Cascio and the Dempsters I went for a short 50min ride down the length of Ali'i. I made stops at the Muscle Milk house, the Clif house, and lastly, the GU house. Picked up a lil bit of swag from each. My jersey looked quite full to onlookers. On the way out I saw both Kate Major and Macca taking in a run. On the way back I saw Chrissie on the bike. Simply awesome.

At 3PM I made my way to my first true sponsor event where Hammer Nutrition was hosting a party at the Kona Brewing Company--always a good reason to go there. I got to meet Brian Frank the owner and founder of the Company. I can tell you he's genuinely interested in the athletes who use his products. It was truly a pleasure to represent this company in any way that I can. While there I got to meet a very interesting family. I didn't get their last names but this is definitely a story for NBC's profile during the race. Debi, the mother, did her first Ironman in 2006. One year later she went to the inaugural Ironman Louisville and qualified for Kona. Sound familiar? She tried a couple times to make it back unsuccessfully. Once again, sound familiar? This year her and her son Ben both competed at Ironman Louisville, and both qualified. I don't know if that's a first but pretty amazing to say the least. Lastly, Ben and Jen are expecting their first child in April. Congratulations on both counts! I'll see you out there for sure. Best of luck.

Today ended on a sour note. Apparently this two-time qualifier doesn't know Kona well enough. I couldn't find Scott Molina's place tonight so I missed out on the new documentary on this year's Epic Camp NZ. I would have liked to meet Scott. I guess there will have to be another time. Tomorrow is a BIG day: underwear run (before you ask--boxers), Macca party at the Clif House, Slowtwitch get together, and then the Pre-race Ironman banquet. More to report tomorrow and the family is coming in on Friday. I already miss them so much.

06 October, 2010

D-Day -4: Kona 2010

Well today the action and hype that is Kona got into full gear. First, I head down the 100m from my hotel room to Dig Me beach at about 7:30. The pros and AGers are everywhere. I spot KarenSmyers and Michelie Jones in seconds. Today also marks the first day that Albert and all the boys and Girls from Coffees of Hawaii have the catamaran out with espresso read to serve all those interested. I knew I was going to have to make a stop there on the way back. Yes, it is time to taper so today I turned around at the last regular buoy. On my way out there I see a nice draft chain of about 6 folks off to my left at about 10m. Yes, the water is so clear here you can see people underwater nearly 30m away. I jump into the group and fell right in to the pace. I had a nice tow for 300-400m. We all stopped at the 1km buoy and I said, "thanks for the lift." They looked at me odd and then I realized they were all German and spoke not word of English. That's the World Championships for you. I decided that was enough and I headed straight to the CoH cat. Coffee was excellent and it was nice to get the saltwater rinsed out of the mouth.

Once back on terra firma I spotted a couple other pros and I made my way to grab my running gear for an easy 5 miler. On the way out Ali'i I spot Faris Al Sultan running straight for me. He's got the big beard going this year. As I headed south I passed both the PowerBar Perform drink station as well as the Muscle Milk house (I'll be going to a party there on Thursday--stay tuned). I grabbed a couple bottles and jogged the 2.5 miles back. That's when the pros were coming at me fast and furious. I saw Terrenzo Bozzone and Julie Dibbens out riding together. Once I got to the last mile I saw the voice of Ironman Mike Reilly drag race John Duke (publisher of Lava magazine) on scooters. Got to love it.

After breakfast it was time to go to packet pickup. That was a rather smooth affair and came back with some nice swag. They gave out backpacks this year for goodie bags. Not bad. After that I decided I needed to catch up on some work--yes, some of us have to actually work while in Kona.

I decided I had to get out of the hotel room for a bit so I went and got a massage and I hooked up with Mike Orton from Blue Seventy who, thanks to Bonzai Sports, hooked me up with the new Blue Seventy WTC legal swim skin the PZ3TX. It's tight, but nice. By that time it was time for the Parade of Nations. I had the sole honor of representing my birth nation this year (see pic). It was a blast. I had a ton of people cheering for me and yelling well wishes. When we passed the Thai restaurant on Ali'i I got a standing ovation. It was really an awesome and humbling feeling. After the parade was over I quickly checked out the expo. I got to meet and talk a while with Phil White of Cervelo. I managed to pickup my Cervelo Kona t-shirt. The I headed back to enjoy my first of many parties at Endurance Maximus.

Lastly, my good friend Eric Dempster and his wife Kathy just made it into town and I joined them for a beer at, where else, The Kona Brewing Company. What a great day. The town is really coming alive. Tomorrow I get to go to my sponsor's party (Hammer Nutrition) at where else, Kona Brewing Company and then to Scott Molina's place for the airing of the new documentary about this year's Epic Camp New Zealand where a crazy crew went from tip to tip in less than two weeks! I'm sure much more to report from Kona tomorrow...stay tuned.

05 October, 2010

IMWC D-Day -5: Windiest bike ride ever and dinner with a couple legends of the Tri World


Today started much like the last. This non-swimmer can't get enough of the serene and beautiful Pacific here in Kailua Kona Bay. I managed to get out for another couple miles before breakfast. After that Dave and I drove up to Kohala so that we could ride the most infamously windy place in all of tri-history: the road to Hawi. Today around Noon it lived up to its billing. I almost lost the front of my H3 mounted steed a couple times. Dave, as light as he is didn't seem to have the same challenges. I guess having a Zipp 303 front can make a lot of difference. Once we made the turn to the east and we were going directly into what I would estimate was a 30-40mph headwind. I probably did 5-10 min at 1/2 IM pace and I was moving at a whopping 10mph. Wahoo! I home Madame Pele looks for favorably upon us all come this Saturday.

Dave and I drove back and rested for a bit before we made the obligatory trip to Lava Java. There while having some very nice goat cheese salad and a Marguerita pizza, we were joined by the legendary triathlon photo-journalist Timothy Carlson. I had the fortune of meeting Tim some 7 years ago while on a work trip in Zurich. He was there to cover this thing called Ironman Switzerland. We both toured the Alps and toured Mt. Titlis (no joke). This time he's just one of my Facebook friends that I stay in touch with infrequently. Not long after Tim joined us another legend joined us: Mitch Thrower. Many of you may know Mitch from his POV movies on YouTube of the Ironman. We talked about that and a whole bunch more of topics off limits to the blog including the dirty on the pro triathletes and our musings of WTC politics.

Tomorrow is a big day. We have both packet pickup and the Parade of Nations. Stay tuned...

04 October, 2010

IWC D Day -6


So today was the first full day in Kona. Dave and I started the very short walk down to "Dig Me" right as the sun was peaking out above Mauna Loa. The picture you see here is the view from our hotel room's balcomy. It was a beautiful day both in and out of the water for some nice training. At about 7AM we headed on out the swim course. The goal was to swim out 30min and back. I was feeling so easy and relaxed and comfortable I went a little farther. We both turned around about 200m before the actual turn around on race day so I'll put 3500m in the log. We hung out and checked the scene afterwards because that's what Dig Me is all about after all.

We then headed back up to the room as the early NFL games were already on at 9AM. Even though I hated tearing myself away from the last Giants game of the year with a single win giving them the Division Championship I felt comfortable they'd hang on to their 4th inning 2-0 lead--which they did. Congratulations to the GIANTS for winning the NL West. Oh back to Kona. Dave and I had a quick breakfast at Tante's and then headed out for a ride around 40 miles to Waikoloa and back. Heading out we were easily going 30-35mph. Something told me we were certainly getting a good tail wind. About 15 miles out the winds changed and a whipping 30mph crosswind was coming down Mauna Kea and it was making me a little nervous on Darth (my P3SL). You see, this was the first time I've taken this bike out for a ride. I usually only race on this bike so this was very awkward feeling just going out for training ride. As we made our way back we caught up to a female pro from TBB. It was a shame we didn't get her name but she was rocking out on her iPod. Once back we got showered up and headed out to make the obligatory Costco run. Yes they have a Costco in Kona--Americanization at its best. After buying way too much stuff for two triathletes to consume in a week, we headed our for a 4 mile run right at sunset. It was a shame I didn't bring my camera for this one. Suffice it to say, it's Hawaii at its best. We took a quick plunge in the hotel pool after stretching and then it was my time to make the dinner call.

We headed out to a new Thai restaurant Kona Tang. Excellent service and pretty good food. After dinner we headed directly downstairs into Kona's Bike Works. One word: Awesome. Got to see Fabian Cancellara's bike from this year's Tour. Wow! Now it's time to get another good night's sleep after drinking my Kona Brewing Company Longboard Lager so I can do it all over again tomorrow.

03 October, 2010

32nd Ironman World Championships 2010: D-Day -7

Here's Dave and I part way to Kona. We had to get up at an ungodly time of 4AM to make the 6AM flight from Dulles to Denver. This is us waiting for the direct Denver to Kona flight. We managed to meet a lot of doctors and ART PT's heading out for the sports science conference taking place out on the big island. That way they get to stick around and help take care all of us (or should I say those that need their help like me) on race day since the Kona hospital has 2 Dr's and 6 beds. While waiting at the gate, I also managed to meet one of Winchester's fittest athletes who managed to qualify for Kona in her second attempt at the distance and at Ironman Louisville (boy that sounds familiar doesn't it). I'm of course talking about the lovely Katie Thomas of the Winchester Wheelman. Besides her parents heading out to Kona, she's going to have some hometown support once my good friends Eric and Kathy Dempster make it out here later in the week. I feel bad for Eric not making it at Louisville but he and his wife will get to enjoy a great vacation and watch us slowly kill ourselves on the 9th. Once we finally got here we managed to get in an easy 4 mile run and then get some good Italian and beer at Boston Basil's. We were both very tired and decided getting a long full night's sleep was most important. This 6 hour time zone swing can take it's toll. More daily updates to come...

Ironman Louisville 2010


Like updating this blog, I'm late in writing my all important race reports. I plan on finishing up my 4th Ironman Loo race report while here in Kona. As you guessed, the race went pretty good if I'm here in October. The race took place on my 39th birthday as you can see in the great pic of my boys here and their handiwork. It was the toughest and hottest race I've ever been in but I managed to suffer with the best of them and finish within 6 minutes of a PR to secure the 41st finisher (27th amateur), and placed 6th in my AG with a time of 10:10 (gotta love the coincidence since the race is in 2010). I missed being on the podium and bringing home hardware by a mere 20 seconds. Boy that hurts. Leave it to me to find the grey cloud in an otherwise perfect day. As you can tell the stacked 35-39AG had 8 qualifying spots for Kona so I managed to bring home a guaranteed 6th place slot. More to come on the actual race report. I don't want to spoil it.

Catching up

Once again it's been way too long since I've updated the blog. So much to say, and so little time to say it: typical Kevin Kunkel ;-). Well...this year I went to France again. This time I decided to double the pain and go for 2 weeks (thank you Joanne the love of my life for making this possible). I had a fantastic time with Chuck and Michelle Potter and my main man Nate Miller. We made the best of the 100th anniversary of the Pyrenees being in La Tour. We did the toughest ride I have ever done in that of the Ride of the Dead. Pictures, videos, and stories to come here in the blog. I hope to work on it this week while in Kona. Oops! I got ahead of myself again. ;-)

31 January, 2010

First Month of '10 was a good start to the year

2010 has seen some major changes in Kevin's life. First, my new coaching business is taking off big time! I already have 7 clients and I haven't even really worked that hard to get them. I really hope I can impart some wisdom and help some triathletes reach their goals this year. Second, I have finalized all the planning associated with Camp RATatouille and the RAID Pyrenees with Ian at Pyrenees Multisport. This year it's going to be even more epic since the Tour de France is celebrating it's 100th year in the Pyrenees so in tribute we are going to do two full stages from this year's two less than two weeks after the pros hit them. The IronCamp will take place from July 24th - 31st, and the RAID will be from Aug 1st - 7th. If you are interested in participating in these camps do not hesitate to contact me. They are a great value and I can truly attest a memory that will last a lifetime! And third, my winter base training got a big boost this month. I finished 3rd of all those who log their training total on the Slowtwitch training log. Here are the stats for just over 82 hours of training this month:

Yoga/Pilates/Weights9:500 km
bike26:02747.4 km
swim15:3243,884.8 m
run30:37371.7 km
Total82:011,162.9 km