After finishing Cozumel 2nd in my age group, I started to worry that my age group would only get 1 slot. Late on race night I walked down to the timing guys at the finish line and asked if they had the list of Kona slots. They had published this on their website (and frankly I'm shocked it's still up). But I knew better than that. I assumed that somebody had just changed the date from the following year. Slots are assigned based on the number of starters, so nobody really knows until race day how many slots your AG is going to get.
I talked to the guys that night and he pulled it up and told me that my AG was getting 3 slots. Whew. I then had permagrin the rest of the night as it sunk in that I am headed back to Kona in 2012.
The slot allocation was at 4, it was crazy land. Lots of people. They were doing the claiming and the rolling all at once so it was crazy. We were also in a mall and there was loud music, and the crew was setting up for the awards.
The race directors got there at about 3:55 and they started taping the results up on a table. Then they taped the slot allocation (I took a photo). 18 slots for the women last year, only 15 this year, just 30% of the slots. We need more lady racers!
People went a little crazy. This list is very different than the one they posted (and still have posted) on the website. So there were some really upset people.
After they got organized they had all the people who knew they had a slot come up and claim it. US cash only folks. Also the paper online said $650 but the new paper said $750 so I saw people trying to hunt down an extra $100. I was prepared! BENJAMIN'S!
We didn't really tell Annie what was going on this whole time. She was content to play with a few kids that were around and hang out in my arms. After I got my slot and we were all good, we told her that we were going back to Hawaii next year for the Ironman. Hawaii is Annie's FAVORITE. So this is how she reacted.
I was one of the first in line, so then I got to sit back and watch the action. So few slots rolled for the women. I didn't actually see a single slot roll. On the mens side we were waiting to see if Andy got a slot. His girlfriend Kendra cheered a ton for me out on the course and it was Andy's first Ironman and he was 9th in his Age Group. Sure enough one slot rolled and he was standing right there, with his backpack open, ready to shell out his cash. Yea Andy! See you in Kona!
Okay, but it gets better. So I'm reading some tweets on twitter and I come across this one by @MASLIFE. It's talking about the roll down and I click on it and read the blog post by Maria. MY JAW WAS ON THE FLOOR. First off the "big tall guy" she mentions is Andy, and second, I have never heard of them having to enact this rule at a roll down. You have to read the story. It is unreal!
I still think the Kona roll down and whole process is just one of the most crazy things in our sport. The dreams that come true, the dreams that are dashed, the crazy stories, the biting fingernails. I just love it.
Kona 2012...I'm headed back to the island and I'm so excited.