What I’m Bringing to Kona

I leave for the Big Island in three days and although I haven’t packed yet, I have a good idea of what I’m bringing along. As I get my gear organized (in carry on luggage only!), I thought I would share the essentials on my packing list for the Ironman World Championships and my Hawaiian vacation afterwards:

My bike! I ride a Quintana Roo Illicito with a Zipp 404/808 wheelset with powertap. I don’t have to pack this item because it is already on its way to the Big Island with TriBike Transport. TriBike Transport is a large expense, but it was worth it for this race because I am traveling out a few days ahead of my bike mechanic husband and our travel arrangements are complicated, involving two flights per leg and an overnight in Los Angeles on the way back. When I factored in the bike fees for my separate flights, it wasn’t much more to use TriBike Transport and, best of all, it is hassle free! Huge thanks to my shop, KompetitiveEdge, for getting it tuned and race-ready.


My road helmet: I am not going for podium spot or placement in Kona. Instead, I am trying to set myself up to run well. After some internal debate, I decided I might improve my odds of making that happen if I can stay cool on the bike. If it is good enough for past world champions (Crowie, Chrissy), it is good enough for me.

(imagine a pic here of an LG road helmet. I’m too lazy to walk down to the garage to grab it and take a pic)

Lots of Nuun: I’m a Nuun Ambassador, but I would drink it even if I wasn’t because I love turning a plain, ol’ glass of water into a tasty serving of electrolytes with no added sugar or calories. I’ll drink a lot of Nuun on my long flight to Hawaii and I’ll drink it daily once I get there to make sure I am fully hydrated and my electrolytes are topped off.


Race nutrition: I use several products on the bike. Osmo in my bottles and Picky Bars, Honey Stinger chews, and Bonk Breakers to eat. I know it seems like a lot of different products, but I find I can take in more calories if I mix it up a little instead of sticking to one thing. Luckily, Bonk Breakers are also served on the course, so I don’t have to worry about running out of my preferred fuel.


Loads of electronics: My birthday is about one week after we return from Hawaii, but I received an early birthday present from my family – a new MacBook Air! I love my old 2008 MacBook, but the battery is shot and I can’t use it to watch movies on the plane because the battery dies after about an hour. I am excited to bring my new MacBook Air instead. I am also bringing my nice SLR camera, which I almost never use because it is heavy, but it takes awesome pics, and my Kindle, which I cannot live without.


Planet Sun sunscreen: I burn easily and have a family history of melanoma. The last time I raced in Kona, I had the outline of my tri kit on my back for the entire winter. Several people turned me on to Planet Sun and I have been using it successfully with no burns for my long training days and races. Since I am packing entirely in carry on luggage, I bought several travel sizes to take with so I don’t have to hunt for Planet Sun once I get to Kona.

Does your sunscreen company send you personalized notes?

Does your sunscreen company send you personalized notes?

Oakley sunnies: aviators for hanging out, Commit for racing, and Miss Conduct when I am feeling sassy.


Betty Design bikinis: I am not a SoCal surfer girl, but wearing Betty Designs makes me feel like I am! I always get tons of compliments on the skulls.


My trucker hat collection: yes, I am on the trucker hat bandwagon, although I will probably race in a visor instead. I like to think I look like my tri-crush Bree Wee in a trucker, but in reality, I think I look more like Mike Myers in Wayne’s World. That doesn’t stop me though.

kua 056


Family cheer shirts: last time I raced in Kona, I made the kids custom shirts, so naturally, they wanted shirts this year, too. I ordered from Custom Ink for the first time and I would not hesitate to use this company again. Very easy to create your design and great customer service. The only glitch was they would not let me print the word “Ironman” on my shirts because of trademark issues. I decided that we all know what “Kona” means in the triathlon world and “Hawaii 140.6 triathlon” sounded too silly.


I look forward to getting all of this stuff in my suitcase, getting over to Big Island, and letting the fun begin!


Introducing…the QR Illicito!

The most exciting thing to happen recently is that I got a new bike! It’s a Quintana Roo Illicito and it is hard for me to write something intelligent about it without sounding like a 14-year old girl with a crush.  It is the most awesome bike I have had the privilege to own and I feel so lucky.

I fully admit that I didn’t need a new bike this season. My old bike, a QR Seduza, was perfectly serviceable and I liked it well enough. But when the chance came up this winter to get an Illicito through Kompetitive Edge, I felt like I couldn’t turn it down. I just knew I had to have that bike. Because I only work part-time and don’t have a lot of funds of my own, I can’t just run out and buy big ticket items whenever I want. Instead, I need the approval of my main tri sponsor … my husband. It took a few weeks to wear him down on the issue, but he finally realized how much I wanted the bike and how much it meant to me and how I am different from him in that I actually enjoy buying things and having new gear. He is more inclined to buy something and use it for a decade or two before replacing it, which is totally fine for him, but I’m not like that. I like the latest and greatest when it comes to tri gear.

This bike is special to me for another reason. It’s the first bike I picked out myself. Everything on the bike has been chosen by me or, more accurately, suggested by Ryan at KE and then chosen by me.

My first bike, a Specialized Allez, was picked out by my dad after we first moved to Colorado in 1999. It served me well for a long time and I still ride it several times per year out in California.

My second bike – my first tri bike – was a birthday gift Mark bought me several weeks before IM Cozumel in 2010. It’s a great starter tri bike. I road this bike in three Ironmans in 2010 and 2011, including in Kona last year.


Ryan has an eye for aesthetics and I completely trusted that he would help select a build that would be fast and light, but would look cool, too. Objective achieved. The components are SRAM Rival, which I love so far.


Look - no left seat stay! Because of this design, the bike is not UCI-legal, which is how it got it's name "Illicito"



A rare pic of Ryan without a hat


After our first ride - my daughter took this pic and didn't quite understand the importance
of getting the whole bike in the shot


Getting fit by Scott Geffre of Fit and Tri at Kompetitive Edge. I highly recommend his services. And I should know - I've had a lot of bike fits!

I haven’t had the chance to race the bike yet, but the early indicators are that the bike is FAST! The first weekend I had it, I road up Lookout Mountain at a moderately hard pace and beat all of my times from last year. I don’t understand wind tunnel data and all of the technical stuff about what makes one bike faster than another, but I look and feel fast on the bike and that will hopefully lead to some fast times this season.

Huge thanks to Kompetitive Edge for helping make my bike dream a reality and to Ryan at Kompetitive Edge for helping me select the build, for building the bike, and for creating such a kick ass machine!