Call it a working vacation … in Hawaii.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong rang in 2009 on the Big Island of Hawaii, zipping along the rugged highways and country roads of the Kona and Kohala coasts.
Armstrong, 37, arrived on Sunday, Dec. 28 to train for a much-publicized return to competitive cycling after a four-year break. He’s been chronicling his trip via brief snippets on online social networking service Twitter.
Here are a pair of recent entries, posted by Armstrong on New Year’s Eve:
"[I] hammered 80 miles today. Last hour on TT (time trial) bike. Hot and sunny here today."
A second entry filed the same day said:
"Happy NYE to you all. Queen K and I spending some time together today."
Armstrong was referring to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, which cuts through the hot, dry lava fields of North Kona and South Kohala. (Fans of the annual Ironman Triathlon will recognize the highway as the main drag for that event’s marathon portion.)
His trip isn’t all about work. On Jan. 3, Armstrong also Twittered about playing golf with his son after an exhausting ride through mountainous Big Island terrain. The next day, he was back on his bike cycling through South Kona's Holualoa coffee belt and North Kona's historic Kaloko-Honokohau area.
Armstrong was last on the Big Island in February. Among his Island adventures then: paddling an outrigger canoe and brushing up against a humpback whale.
Armstrong announced his racing comeback last year with a goal of winning the 2009 Tour de France. Armstrong will leave Hawaii on Jan. 10 to compete in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. He will then race the Giro d'Italia in May—his last major race before the Tour de France in July.