This past October I had the pleasure of spending a week in Kona, Hawaii with professional triathlete Jeff Symonds. He has become known in the Ironman circles as a guy who knows how to "Get Ugly," hence the Arnold-esque tagline straight out of 90's Hollywood.
I've known Jeff for quite a few years now through my local bike shop The Bike Barn, and this year I began to chronicle some of his adventures as an up and coming professional athlete, and also assist in the building of the Get Ugly brand.
Spending a week in Kona with a guy about to race the most difficult race in the world was a privilege, and also mildly stressful. The dynamics between the wide assortment of characters we had with us in The Entourage was definitely well...dynamic. Between fiancés, family, friends of all types, and the race itself there were definitely moments that were interesting, and entertaining.
The lead up to the race had us dealing with final prep workouts, media appearances, and last minute bike changes. The latter of which would ultimately cause the crank failure on Jeff's bike during that leg of the race.
While the bike portion did not go as planned, and there was much that could be criticized about the equipment preparation leading up to race day, Jeff gritted it out for an amazing turnaround on the run. He moved up close to twenty places, and left a lot of other amazing athletes in the dust, showing the world once again, that he will be a contender on the Big Island one day soon. He truly got ugly out there, and also stayed true to the Goonie motto: "Goonies Never Say Die," which I yelled at him mid-run as a reminder that none other than Mikey (Sean Astin) himself was out there in the gruelling humidity also.
In the end, the entire entourage survived as friends, and I got to spend several lunches at Da Poke Shack...which would absolutely make my Top 10 fish restaurants in the world list. I may have even run a beer mile, and passed out under a palm tree from too many margaritas, but those rumours can neither be confirmed or denied.
Until next year Kona. Next year!
Chris Stenberg is a Canadian travel photographer, filmmaker and researcher. When he’s not wielding a camera or raising a family you can find him running, biking and boarding in the mountains or eating an apple under a tree in an orchard.