Kiel has ridden bicycles as long as he can remember.
He was only five years old when he fell off his first
bike because he did not know he had to turn the pedals
to make it go. His parents laughed, but Oliver learned
that to maintain balance one must move forward. This
lesson he has applied to his entire life.
Oliver rode his first ten-speed when
he was ten years old, and a few years later, moved on
in road riding with the purchase of a Raleigh. All Oliver's
cycling was for pleasure until 1984 when he saw his
first Ironman competition on television. That was all
it took for him to start entering competitions with
the goal of doing an Ironman. One year later he finished
3rd in his very first race, becoming a dedicated cyclist.
His determination paid off with his first triathlon
finish in 1986.
Between 1987 and 1993 Oliver expanded
his cycling interests to include leading training camps
in Yugoslavia, Spain, and Italy; but to move on at a
personal level he still wanted to race in an Ironman.
The opportunity arrived in 1994. His
performance drew the attention of Oliver's employer,
the Deutsche Bundespost (German Postal Service), and
played a significant role in his cycling career, because
they chose him to join their Triathlon Team. Riding
for German Postal Service in the very next event, the
Ironman Europe in Roth, Germany.
He finished his first Ironman in 10:13
hours. Only six weeks later he participated in the Northern
Germany Ironman and broke the ten-hour mark.
1995 saw continued sponsorship by German
Postal Service. Again Oliver raced under their colors
at Ironman Europe. Many other races and miles of training
passing under the wheels of Oliver's bike, but he had
yet to participate the Ironman World Championships.
He decided to come to Hawaii and participate as a volunteer,
to "check it out". He liked what he saw.
Being sponsored allowed Oliver the freedom
to enter many events, including some short distance
races, local triathlons, and yet another Ironman Germany.
He also made his first attempt to qualify for the Duathlon
World Championships in Switzerland.
The following year of 1997 saw Oliver
attaining his best results ever. He finished seventh
in the German Short Distance Triathlon Championship,
and in his fourth consecutive Ironman Europe, set a
new personal best of 9:42 hours.
Still on the move, he decided a return
trip to Hawaii was next on the list of things to do.
In November he entered, and placed fourth in the Hawaii
Ultraman Triathlon, setting the record for a German
participant; a record that held for another two years.
The Ultraman is one of the toughest endurance races:
it includes a 6.2 mile swim, a 261.4 mile bike ride,
and a 52.4 mile run over a 3 day period! Oliver liked
living and competing in Hawaii so much that he decided
to move from Germany to the Big Island the following
year. Hawaiian weather has this effect on many racers
and cycling tourists coming to the islands.
1998 was a transition year for Oliver
as he became acclimatized to his new surroundings. He
participated in many local events and maintained his
winning ways, balancing his life by moving forward.
He won the 2000 New Year's Day Race
in Kailua-Kona, and later that year finished first by
ten long minutes, in the Hilo-Volcano Ultra-Marathon,
a 31-mile uphill run. The year 2001 brought a repeat
performance of first place in that race-just one week
after placing 86th in the Maui Marathon. Continued training
led Oliver to qualify for Ironman Hawaii, one of his
all-time goals. Success was not to be, for a back injury
forced him to stop midway through the race, inviting
him to contemplate a different focus for his energy
and drive for excellence.
A new life path opened up in 1999 when
Oliver met Julia. They married on Valentines Day, 2002,
and soon combined their expertise to create Orchid Isle
Bicycling. With the scenery so beautiful, and the favorable
year round weather, it was only natural they decided
cyclists of all ability levels would like to experience
cycling in Hawaii. To that end they offer custom bicycle
tours featuring everything from half-day rides to Around-the-Island
expeditions. Their tours are outstanding in every way,
offering the best technical support, extraordinary routes,
professional planning, and the most thoughtful aloha,
from safety to Julia's fabulous lunches.
Their next enterprise was to add one
more unique service for cycling enthusiasts - Cycle
Station, a full service bike shop in Hawaii. Both businesses
merge the experiences of Oliver and Julia to make cycling
in paradise inviting to people of many backgrounds,
from beginner to racer. For this reason, their enterprises
continue to grow as customers discover Orchid Isle Bicycling
and Cycle Station with Oliver and Julia Kiel.
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