Oliver 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. That Aloha has now spread internationally with the start of their newest cycling tour company Velissimo – Cycling Destinations.
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, Velissimo, and Cycle Station with Oliver and Julia Kiel.