Chantell’s girls trip to Maui
Training in Edmonton through the winter months isn’t as bad as people seem to think. Our trails are well maintained and groomed through the winter and it doesn’t hurt that we have to most urban trails in North America. The one thing we are lacking however is sunlight and Vitamin D. This is why I didn’t hesitate to book my flight to Maui for a week of cycling, some heat and sunshine with some of my rad friends.
I arrived in Maui a day late but ready to ride. We “eased” into the week of riding with the West Maui loop. This ride is spectacular to say the least….tonnes of amazing views of the Maui coast, lots of climbing (1200m worth) and smooth roads. It was so nice to be in the sun, sweating and pedaling my bike. It was also nice to ride my road bike which I hadn’t been on for the whole winter. I was pleasantly reminded how amazing my road bike is. It is so light and agile compared to my Fat Bike or my Cross bike with fenders and studded tires. I would say my road bike would be at least 10 lbs lighter than the bikes I ride in the winter. We finished the ride off the 96km ride in 4 hours feeling great and went straight to the ocean to float around for a bit of recovery. Loved every second of it.
Next day was the big day: Haleakala. Ok, cool I always wanted to ride to the top. The amazing thing is…my friends are actually crazier than I am. (Most everyone thinks I am “hardcore” or “crazy” …these girls actually hands down might be a bit crazier than me…but I still love them) . They wanted to start from Makena. I didn’t have a clue where that was or how far away from the start of the Volcano it was which I guess was probably a good thing otherwise I may have revolted on the ride. When we started riding however, I was thinking “where the hell is the Volcano, I can’t even see it…this can’t be a good.” The thing about riding Haleakala is that there isn’t really anywhere to stop once you get going. I packed 4 bars and a pear to eat and 2 bottles of electrolytes. About 2 hours in we stopped at a Church to refill (ie chug 2 bottles of water). This would be our last stop for a while. It was a super-hot day with no clouds in sight and I think we were all feeling it as we were still a bit sun burnt from the day before.
I was pretty relieved when we finally arrived at the start of the climb but I was also a bit nervous since I knew we had 22 miles of non-stop climbing to go. I let my friends go since I wanted to go at my own pace and ended up riding with a super nice guy named Bart. He was very generous and shared his yummy dehydrated bananas with me. I did hint that I was low on water but he would have nothing to do with that….bummer. Up on Haleakala water is very precious….especially on a hot day with no clouds. I rode with Bart for a bit but I didn’t want my friends to get too far ahead so I said good bye. The next 12 miles would be some of the hardest I have ridden in my life. Not necessarily from the climbing,( my legs actually felt good and my heart rate was consistently under 140bpm) but from the heat. It was hot. I stopped to reapply sun screen 4 times and was very aware of how full or empty my bottles were getting. When I arrived at the Park Gates I was completely out of water and pretty much fried. I asked the lady working at the gate is she had any water and she actually ended up giving me her bottle of water. I must have looked bad. 1 mile after that gate and at 7000ft is where the Visitor Center is located and also where a cold water fountain is located. This fountain was my savior and I think I chugged 4 bottles of water and dumped about 2 full bottles on my head as I sat in the shade. The Visitor Center is where I decided I was done for the day. That’s it…there is no way I am going any further. My friends will find me. I contemplated this thought for approximately 25 minutes but since I was feeling better and I knew I would be disappointed not making it to the top…I swung my leg over and did the march up to the top…10 more miles.
To keep myself from going crazy I kept checking my heart rate, my time, my speed, the altitude and the distance remaining. My heart rate jumped from 135-145bpm when I passed 7000ft…this was the only thing I noticed with the altitude. I ended up riding about 25 minutes for every 1000ft and made it to top about 1 hour 20 later. (that’s 1:20 for 16km).
The last 100 m or so of the climb is at 17% ….hardest….thing….ever. I had to stand the whole way just to make it. In total 78 km, 5:33 ride time and 3200m elevation gain. When I got to the top my friends were cheering me and although I was happy to make it…I just wanted the picture for proof that I made it and then I wanted to get the hell down the mountain. My friends loaded my bike and I sat comatose in the back seat of the truck the whole way back to Lahaina. I lay in the bed for the rest of the night.
I took the next couple of days really easy, did a few hikes, drank wine, watched whales and sat on the beach.
The final day of riding was the west Maui loop… it never gets old.
I think we are planning a yearly trip to Maui for a week of cycling with the girls. I told them I am only going if we start our Haleakala ride from Lahaina 😉
I was cognizant of the fact that I haven’t been in any sort of UV/heat for a good 3-4 months and made sure to lather up in SPF 50 before departing. Unfortunately I only remembered to re apply once and was left with a pretty good shorts/ shirt burn for the remainder of the trip.
(special thanks to Brandi “ladies, there are no friends on volcano day” Heisterman @brandiheisterma for some extra photos!)