Categorized | Featured, Multi-sport, Sports

Lycra in the lava

Triathletes gather in the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel lobby before heading off to Hawi. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Susan Bredo)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

TheTrek/K-Swiss global triathlon camp has officially kicked off at Hawaii’s tri friendly resort, The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows.

Triathletes from the U.K., Australia and the mainland flew in especially for the annual training and team building camp. Participating pros include Chris Lieto, Matt Lieto, Heather Jackson, Julie Dibens, Fraser Cartmell, Joe Gambles, Paul Matthews and team newcomer, Lesley Paterson.

The team gathered for breakfast, before starting the day with a group run around the 3,200 acre resort, which is the Hawaii Ironman 70.3 course. The course offers stunning scenery with stark contrasts from scorching black lava fields, to the perfectly manicured greens of the championship Francis H. II Brown golf courses to the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

While warm (sunny and 81 degrees), the athletes appreciated the less humid conditions they are usually faced with around the time of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in October.

After the run, many of the athletes returned to Mauna Lani’s breakfast buffet for their second breakfast of the day.

The afternoon included a team presentation on the overarching purpose and goals of the hand picked Trek/K-Swiss team. While podium finishes are undeniably desirable, the purpose is more about establishing a support network and mentoring system for what is otherwise a very individual sport.

In addition to the annual camp, team members take it upon themselves to catch up and train together throughout the year and call on each other for racing tips and advice.

Former ice-hockey champion and relative newcomer to the sport, Heather Jackson, talked about how team member Julie Dibens developed a personalized swim training program to help her improve her technique and efficiency.

Trek representatives highlighted that its top-of-the-line triathlon bike, the Speed Concept, is seeing the fastest global growth of any other Trek bike in the market.

Its groundbreaking aero shape is designed to save seconds, even minutes, making it an obvious favorite of not only Trek/K-Swiss pros, but Lance Armstrong.

K-Swiss touched on how the athletes are the driving force behind producing a better product. The direct feedback of the Lieto brothers and other K-Swiss pros has impacted the design of K-Swiss running shoes, including the new Blade-Light Run shoe.

After a couple of hours of inspiring presentations and chilling in one of Mauna Lani’s oceanfront Bungalows, the team hit the beach for an ocean swim. Part-time Kona local, Chris Lieto, said that he hasn’t swam in a pool since living in Hawaii for the winter.

The day ended with a relaxed team dinner in Mauna Lani’s Honu Bar. It was the perfect chance to debrief day one and celebrate being together in Hawaii. And, importantly, Julie Dibens made it to bed by 9 p.m – her designated bedtime.

The camp runs through Friday.

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