As Black Line London’s only current Hawaii resident Laura Trimble provides the lowdown on everything she thinks is fantastic about the Big Island.
Rest assured that while the training is awesome I’m not going to bore you all with that here when there is a whole host of other things to experience! So these are my “Best” things so far…
1) Best for… Coffee. And ice cream!
With coffee and macadamia nuts produced en masse on the island they are everywhere. From ice cream to the latest fish catch, don’t be surprised to see a coffee flavoured macadamia nut crust. As an infrequent coffee drinker I feel a little unqualified to comment on where the best coffee is to be found but it’s hard to look beyond Kope Lani’s iced coffee.
Honourable mention to Lava Java for their Lava Java Shake. But the real reason to choose Kope Lani is that the ice cream is to die for: Caramel Mac Nut, Kope Lani Sundae, Mud Pie, KK Krunch (despite our best efforts we can’t pronounce the Hawaiian), Kona Joy are all winners. Allegedly.
2) Best for… Smoothies
For convenience, good service and (admittedly pretty dodgy) free wifi, the best place we’ve found is Menehune’s just off the pier. Try the Shaka or the Green Honu, they’ll happily add protein to it for you. Tastes best post run while cooling off in the ocean. Alternatively if you make it to Hawi then Kohala Coffee Mill at the top does great smoothies and even better ginger oatcakes.
3) Best for… A chilled out lunch
Almost certainly my favourite place on the island… Basik Acai. Serves bowls with an Acai base topped up with various combinations of fruit, berries, nuts, granola etc etc. I have no idea how I didn’t find this place in 2010. Delicious, tasty, healthy food (even if Scott thinks he is allergic to the granola), great atmosphere, chilled out music, sea breeze, cool seats overlooking a fantastic view of the ocean. I could sit there for hours.
4) Best for… Dinner
I’m reluctant to talk about hidden gems but it’s not often you come across a Japanese lady serving food from what is essentially her kitchen. We stumbled across Kimagure when planning to eat somewhere else and as wellas being the cheapest meal I’ve seen in Kona it is just fabulous. Full of locals and tucked away out of sight in the Kona marketplace mall. Dumpling soup, gyoza and yakiudon are all great. As is everything else as far as I can see. Honourable mention to Rapanui’s which is a bit more pricey but also delicious and based on the wine selection seemingly run by New Zealanders. Last honourable mention to Kona Brewery where you might struggle to get a table but the pizza is fantastic. And to Lava Java for the fish tacos. Let’s face it… despite the impressive array of fast food outlets here if you dig a little deeper you can eat very well.
5) Best for… Happy Hour!
Coming straight from Vegas it didn’t take the boys long to figure this one out. With $4 a cocktail from 3-6pm and a fantastic view of the sunset Huggo’s cannot be beaten. Top marks to the Mai Tai’s and the Rainbow cocktails. And the hula ladies.
So 10 days into my trip and aside from a large amount of training that’s where I’ve been spending my time. I’ve also learned I can live off bagels, humous, no-fat yogurt, granola, almond butter and fresh fruit quite happily for weeks. And that at the farmers market you can buy 3 papayas for $1.
And finally on the training front a few useful tips…
Ad hoc water stations: there is a drinking fountain 2 miles down Ali’i Drive on the left; a shower at the farthest point of the energy lab; and a petrol station on the Queen K halfway (3 miles) from the energy lab back to town. All very welcome and much used.
The old airport is awesome for running reps. Dead straight runway almost exactly 1km long. About 1.5 miles out of town. Does slope up a bit going north. Next to a nice looking and popular beach which I am yet to fully appreciate.
The pool is free, runs masters 3x weekly and has a great vibe. Mostly locals swimming but all friendly and welcoming to visitors. Natascha Badmann has done every session I’ve been to. Steve is the head coach there. He gave me an avocado after my first session.
There are 36 lampposts on Mark and Dave hill, 37 if you include the one on the corner of Palani Road. It’s around a mile and quite steep so if you can hit one every 12 seconds you’re doing pretty well
And I stole this from Macca but apparently it takes 42 seconds to sprint from the Banyan Tree to the finish. Hoping I won’t need to use that one!
So, what is the Haute Route? Well, it’s pretty much the closest an enthusiastic idiot / weekend warrior can get to living the life of a pro cyclist. The Haute Route is a series of…
October 2004. London. I’m about to step out the door for a 5km run and I’m not sure I’ll make it. October 2014. Cape Town. I’m about to step out the door for a 100km…
Kona! I feel it appropriate to start this race report with the word that led me to racing IMUK 2014. In 2012 I raced two iron distance races, the first being Austria which turned out…