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Supporting Kona Ironman
12 October 2009

Crowd1 Crowd2

Every year the Ironman World Championship is held here in Kona, Hawaii.  It's a big event that brings in people from all around the world.  It's amazing how many different countries have athletes competing in the Ironman.  Many of those athletes are accompanied by their friends and families so it can be quite a big crowd.

Some of the locals complain about the crowds but we don't think it's all that bad.  We usually get a few extra farm tours and coffee sales so that's a nice little benefit for us.  We do notice that the beaches get a little more crowded but the island is surrounded by beaches so that's no big deal.

Probably the biggest inconvenience caused by the Ironman is all the additional bicycles along the roads.  Most athletes stick to the main road which is wide enough that there's not a problem but a few athletes like to ride along the narrow mountain roads.  They ride right down the middle of the road about 10 mph slower than traffic.  Getting stuck behind one of these bicyclists isn't so bad, the bad part is when a bicyclist is coming the other direction and cars swerve into oncoming traffic as they try to pass.  I could probably do without that bit of excitement.

With so many Ironman visitors from all around the world, not everyone is familiar with the local customs and regulations here in Hawaii.  For example, the locals don't rush about as much here as other places.  It's not cool to be pushy or aggressive, it's much better to relax and enjoy the local Aloha.

It's good to be laid back but it's still important to follow all the rules.  When my friend and I noticed that people were ignoring some of the street signs we decided we should set a good example.  Some of the signs can be a bit confusing though.  The first sign we stopped at is perfectly clear about dancing, I just wish the sign specified a time limit.  Hopefully our demonstration helped clarify things.

Dancing Training
The city puts out some additional signs along the road during Ironman week.  These signs are confusing because they're in the middle of nowhere with nobody around.  Just because you can't see the athletes doesn't mean they're not there.  To illustrate this, my friend and I took some time to demonstrate what passing motorists should be watching for.  Luckily we had brought our lunch along because all that training made us hungry.

We demonstrated some of the local street signs but we couldn't demonstrate all of them.  Visitors will just have to figure out the remaining signs on their own.  Hopefully any resulting confusion won't cause any problems because law enforcement is a bit sparse during Ironman.  There are plenty police on duty for the race but they're busy directing traffic.  At least I think that's what they were doing.  With the laid-back attitude, sometimes it's hard to tell.

The Ironman race starts at 7am and lasts all day long.  The main crowds are down at the finish line.  The first athletes finish around lunch time then there's a steady stream until the race ends at midnight.  We often head down around dinner time.  We sit outside Burger King and cheer on the passing runners as we eat our french fries.  Some of the runners still have several hours to go.  Hopefully they appreciate our support.
Hump Cops

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