Haleakala ascent, Feb 12th 2003.

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Richard Brockie, Feb 20, 2003.

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  1. At short notice, I had the opportunity to travel to Maui last week. Here is the report on my ride up
    Haleakala which I wrote for my team (Fremont Freewheelers Bicycle Club).

    R.

    I had similar fun to Mike Z. last Wednesday on Maui when I climbed Haleakala. The story starts a
    couple of days earlier though.

    Thanks to Charlie for the loan of the hard-case bike box - I did need to take my big ring off to fit
    the bike in the box, but it did fit (as did all sorts of stuff I picked up on Maui, and I thought I
    was laden down on the outward leg of the trip!)

    Objective:

    Ride from sea-level to the summit of Haleakala and back and get back in time for a soak in the
    hot-tub before the drinks reception prior to the formal function that evening.

    Reconnaissance:

    On the Monday, I went for a spin to and from the beginning of the climb starting from my hotel in
    Wailea. The trade winds were blowing, so I rode into a constant 20 to 30 mph wind on the outward
    leg, and was blown back rather quickly on the return.

    I determined that the round trip to the top starting at the hotel would be 108 miles. 108 miles
    isn't too far, but when coupled with a 10,023' climb which I didn't know, I thought that it might be
    a bit too much. On the return leg, I stopped in Kihei at the local bike shop and asked for
    directions. The gent I spoke with looked at me worriedly, obviously thinking that I was wanting to
    climb it that day! "No, no, I have all day on Wednesday," and he looked relieved and gave me
    directions.

    His recommendation was that I start in Paia on the north side which would get me climbing
    immediately and miss out the flats to and from the base of the climb (roughly 40 miles). I also
    purchased a bicyle map of Maui and got the various water sources pointed out to me. After much
    pondering, I eventually followed the advice and rented a minivan so I could get myself to the start.

    Preparation:

    I was woken by room service with breakfast at 6am while it was still dark, and ate breakfast
    during dawn. I made my final preparations, including filling 4 water bottles in case of high
    temperatures and spending a good 10 minutes in front of a mirror applying factor 45 sunscreen - I
    did not want to burn.

    I set off to Paia on schedule at 7am, and was on my bike at 7:45, which was 15 minutes earlier than
    I had hoped. Approaching Paia, I drove through quite a heavy shower of rain, and there was a fine
    drizzle keeping the roads wet as I departed. On the bike were 2 bottles, in my packets were two
    more, as were 4 bananas. All set for the trials ahead.

    Execution:

    The road was uphill from the start, and given that I knew I would be a long time in the saddle, I
    was careful not to push too hard at the beginning. Climbing out of Paia, the town petered out
    leaving me in farmland riding past sugar cane. I was contentedly turning my 39x24 and making easy
    progress. After a while the sugar cane gave way to what could only have been pineapples, given the
    foliage - all rather exotic.

    The route to the top was easy - head up Baldwin from Paia, turn right at the Rodeo ground, keep left
    and follow the signs to the summit. Not long before I climbed into Makawao, the roads dried out.
    Presently, I came to the 4-way stop. Ahead, the road pitched up with the first steep section of the
    climb. I used the 28 (my lowest) for this section, but it soon eased off again. Almost before I knew
    it, I was at the Rodeo ground and as the man said, I couldn't miss it.

    The connecting road to 377 isn't very long, and it was along here that I came across my first
    glimpse of what would become a rather common occurrence as I climbed. There are tours which take
    tourists to locations up the mountain to view the dawn, and then to freewheel (they call it cycling)
    down the hill. There is a leader who guides everyone down, and windbreak tops and longs and
    full-face off-road downhilling helmets are provided for everyone. To be honest, I felt rather
    underdressed in bibshorts, cycling top with a cloth cap perched on my head keeping the sun out of my
    eyes and armwarmers for the descent in my pockets.

    I saw my first group gathering to get into the van, obviously having finished their ride, and very
    shortly after, saw a group freewheeling down. The bicyles which are provided for these trips are
    curious ones. They are balloon-tyred beach bruisers with front and rear hub drum brakes. The seat
    angle is lucky if it is 60°. They were not terribly well set up for the riders, generally the saddle
    was far too low, but this is of no consequence when no power is required from the rider, is it? I
    should add that the paving from the summit to where these groups appeared to end their rides was
    excellent.

    Once on 377, I passed my first elevation marker, but I cannot remember what is said. Not long after
    this, one of my colleagues pulled along side in a rental car and took some picutres of me. Stella
    and her husband were off horse-riding. I continued, and climbing into Kula, my nose was assaulted
    with a blast of some of the best smells I encountered on the island. It was glorious and happened on
    my very suddenly. A bit further on the left, there is a cafe where I topped up my water.

    Then, there it was, the turnoff onto 378 which is the road to the top of the hill, with a helpful
    sign - Summit: 22 miles, and only 6,500' more to climb, which means that 3,500 have already been
    climbed which was rather impressive already. After the first (sweeping, no sharp turns in sight on
    this climb) hairpin on 378, I spied a rider ahead. I was climbing quicker than he was, but not that
    much - it took me over 2 miles to catch him. We introduced ourselves, and Dale and I kept each other
    company for much of the climb. Dale wasn't riding his own bike - turned out he had been loaned the
    bike belonging to the helpful bike shop owner back in Kihei - 62cm red Colnago with old school
    Campy, delta brakes and 8-sp ergopower.

    A lot of climbing later, another colleague of mine passed in a car, and then Stella, having had an
    hour's horse riding, came past on the way to the top of the hill. We saw both Randy and Stella
    again when they descended the hill. Dale also started in Paia as advised by the bike shop owner and
    had been dropped there by his wife about 15 minutes before I set off. He had been caught in the
    heavy shower I drove through and had been rather wet as a result. Dale's wife also passed us on her
    way to the top.

    By this time, the comments from the wags on the beach cruisers ("it's easier this way...", etc.)
    were getting rather wearing, though I was looking forward for a Tim-style fast descent leaving these
    other riders in my wake. Dale and I stopped a couple of times for a bite to eat and we refilled our
    bottles shortly after entering the park - the cost is per person, not per vehicle, so it was $5 each
    even though we were on bicycles, unlike in California.

    It was interesting watching the vegitation change as we climbed. I didn't really notice it happen,
    but suddenly, there was more exposed rock than vegitation, and it was clear that we were getting
    quite high. Between 7 and 8 thousand feet, I began to really feel the altitude. Dale, who lives at
    7600' in Colorado, didn't have a problem.

    After a lot more climbing, we could see the top in the distance and a turning with a sign-post
    indicated only 2 miles left to the top. I took this as my cue to go to my threshold and rode the
    last section solo. The climb to the upper visitor centre was fine, but the final pitch (think
    Ra. Diablo) was a killer. I don't think that it was that steep in absolute terms, but, as I said, it
    was a killer. I could barely turn the 28 at 4mph. Eventually, I got to the car park, found the
    wheelchair ramp and rode to the very summit where I got off and had a seat whilst I got my
    breath back - 4h 29m 57s to the summit.

    After I caught my breath, I headed back down to the car park and introduced myself to Dale's wife
    (her name has gone from my memory) and their children and we waited for Dale to arrive. She took
    pictures of us, and email addresses were exchanged.

    Dale decided to take the slow way down in the minivan with his family. I took the express. The
    descent isn't superfast as the road isn't that steep. On the lower slopes, I got into the 40's on
    the approaches to hairpins and maintained 25 mph or so through most of the corners. I overtook a
    couple of vehicles on the descent. One was a car - I was getting a little irritated that I couldn't
    pass, but they did pull into the first turnout that they could find, so I gave them a cheery wave to
    say thanks. The one short flat section was hard work on the way down.

    The descent took 1h 15m, which meant that I averaged something like 28.7 mph on the descent, just
    like a very fast crit, but much, much easier! The noticeable warming as I descended was really nice,
    though I did have a chilly time passing through the clouds for a couple of miles. Once through
    though, I warmed up quickly.

    Approaching Paia, I noticed something rather odd about one of the churches on Baldwin - it was built
    of stone. Not something I have seen often in the States, especially as it was in the presbyterian
    style common in Scotland. But there's more, it was built out of lava rock and not sandstone. All
    rather weird and unexpected.

    I got to Paia and found the van, changed clothes and headed the short walk to find something to eat
    at a rather nice coffeee shop and then headed back to the hotel. I got back in plenty time to soak
    in the hot-tub and impress my colleagues with my exploits. Needless to say, the alcohol went
    straight to my head that evening at pre-dinner drinks.

    --
    S.

    <> Richard Brockie "Categorical statements <> The tall blond one. always cause trouble." <>
    [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    Great report! I always wanted to do that one. I look forward to it someday.

    Cheers,

    Matt O.

    "Richard Brockie" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > At short notice, I had the opportunity to travel to Maui
    last week. Here
    > is the report on my ride up Haleakala which I wrote for my
    team (Fremont
    > Freewheelers Bicycle Club).
    >
    > R.
    >
    >
    >
    > I had similar fun to Mike Z. last Wednesday on Maui when I
    climbed
    > Haleakala. The story starts a couple of days earlier
    though.
    >
    > Thanks to Charlie for the loan of the hard-case bike box -
    I did need to
    > take my big ring off to fit the bike in the box, but it
    did fit (as did
    > all sorts of stuff I picked up on Maui, and I thought I
    was laden down
    > on the outward leg of the trip!)
    >
    > Objective:
    >
    > Ride from sea-level to the summit of Haleakala and back
    and get back in
    > time for a soak in the hot-tub before the drinks reception
    prior to the
    > formal function that evening.
    >
    > Reconnaissance:
    >
    > On the Monday, I went for a spin to and from the beginning
    of the climb
    > starting from my hotel in Wailea. The trade winds were
    blowing, so I
    > rode into a constant 20 to 30 mph wind on the outward leg,
    and was blown
    > back rather quickly on the return.
    >
    > I determined that the round trip to the top starting at
    the hotel would
    > be 108 miles. 108 miles isn't too far, but when coupled
    with a 10,023'
    > climb which I didn't know, I thought that it might be a
    bit too much. On
    > the return leg, I stopped in Kihei at the local bike shop
    and asked for
    > directions. The gent I spoke with looked at me worriedly,
    obviously
    > thinking that I was wanting to climb it that day! "No, no,
    I have all
    > day on Wednesday," and he looked relieved and gave me
    directions.
    >
    > His recommendation was that I start in Paia on the north
    side which
    > would get me climbing immediately and miss out the flats
    to and from the
    > base of the climb (roughly 40 miles). I also purchased a
    bicyle map of
    > Maui and got the various water sources pointed out to me.
    After much
    > pondering, I eventually followed the advice and rented a
    minivan so I
    > could get myself to the start.
    >
    > Preparation:
    >
    > I was woken by room service with breakfast at 6am while it
    was still
    > dark, and ate breakfast during dawn. I made my final
    preparations,
    > including filling 4 water bottles in case of high
    temperatures and
    > spending a good 10 minutes in front of a mirror applying
    factor 45
    > sunscreen - I did not want to burn.
    >
    > I set off to Paia on schedule at 7am, and was on my bike
    at 7:45, which
    > was 15 minutes earlier than I had hoped. Approaching Paia,
    I drove
    > through quite a heavy shower of rain, and there was a fine
    drizzle
    > keeping the roads wet as I departed. On the bike were 2
    bottles, in my
    > packets were two more, as were 4 bananas. All set for the
    trials ahead.
    >
    > Execution:
    >
    > The road was uphill from the start, and given that I knew
    I would be a
    > long time in the saddle, I was careful not to push too
    hard at the
    > beginning. Climbing out of Paia, the town petered out
    leaving me in
    > farmland riding past sugar cane. I was contentedly turning
    my 39x24 and
    > making easy progress. After a while the sugar cane gave
    way to what
    > could only have been pineapples, given the foliage - all
    rather exotic.
    >
    > The route to the top was easy - head up Baldwin from Paia,
    turn right at
    > the Rodeo ground, keep left and follow the signs to the
    summit. Not long
    > before I climbed into Makawao, the roads dried out.
    Presently, I came to
    > the 4-way stop. Ahead, the road pitched up with the first
    steep section
    > of the climb. I used the 28 (my lowest) for this section,
    but it soon
    > eased off again. Almost before I knew it, I was at the
    Rodeo ground and
    > as the man said, I couldn't miss it.
    >
    > The connecting road to 377 isn't very long, and it was
    along here that I
    > came across my first glimpse of what would become a rather
    common
    > occurrence as I climbed. There are tours which take
    tourists to
    > locations up the mountain to view the dawn, and then to
    freewheel (they
    > call it cycling) down the hill. There is a leader who
    guides everyone
    > down, and windbreak tops and longs and full-face off-road
    downhilling
    > helmets are provided for everyone. To be honest, I felt
    rather
    > underdressed in bibshorts, cycling top with a cloth cap
    perched on my
    > head keeping the sun out of my eyes and armwarmers for the
    descent in my
    > pockets.
    >
    > I saw my first group gathering to get into the van,
    obviously having
    > finished their ride, and very shortly after, saw a group
    freewheeling
    > down. The bicyles which are provided for these trips are
    curious ones.
    > They are balloon-tyred beach bruisers with front and rear
    hub drum
    > brakes. The seat angle is lucky if it is 60°. They were
    not terribly
    > well set up for the riders, generally the saddle was far
    too low, but
    > this is of no consequence when no power is required from
    the rider, is
    > it? I should add that the paving from the summit to where
    these groups
    > appeared to end their rides was excellent.
    >
    > Once on 377, I passed my first elevation marker, but I
    cannot remember
    > what is said. Not long after this, one of my colleagues
    pulled along
    > side in a rental car and took some picutres of me. Stella
    and her
    > husband were off horse-riding. I continued, and climbing
    into Kula, my
    > nose was assaulted with a blast of some of the best smells
    I encountered
    > on the island. It was glorious and happened on my very
    suddenly. A bit
    > further on the left, there is a cafe where I topped up my
    water.
    >
    > Then, there it was, the turnoff onto 378 which is the road
    to the top of
    > the hill, with a helpful sign - Summit: 22 miles, and only
    6,500' more
    > to climb, which means that 3,500 have already been climbed
    which was
    > rather impressive already. After the first (sweeping, no
    sharp turns in
    > sight on this climb) hairpin on 378, I spied a rider
    ahead. I was
    > climbing quicker than he was, but not that much - it took
    me over 2
    > miles to catch him. We introduced ourselves, and Dale and
    I kept each
    > other company for much of the climb. Dale wasn't riding
    his own bike -
    > turned out he had been loaned the bike belonging to the
    helpful bike
    > shop owner back in Kihei - 62cm red Colnago with old
    school Campy, delta
    > brakes and 8-sp ergopower.
    >
    > A lot of climbing later, another colleague of mine passed
    in a car, and
    > then Stella, having had an hour's horse riding, came past
    on the way to
    > the top of the hill. We saw both Randy and Stella again
    when they
    > descended the hill. Dale also started in Paia as advised
    by the bike
    > shop owner and had been dropped there by his wife about 15
    minutes
    > before I set off. He had been caught in the heavy shower I
    drove through
    > and had been rather wet as a result. Dale's wife also
    passed us on her
    > way to the top.
    >
    > By this time, the comments from the wags on the beach
    cruisers ("it's
    > easier this way...", etc.) were getting rather wearing,
    though I was
    > looking forward for a Tim-style fast descent leaving these
    other riders
    > in my wake. Dale and I stopped a couple of times for a
    bite to eat and
    > we refilled our bottles shortly after entering the park -
    the cost is
    > per person, not per vehicle, so it was $5 each even though
    we were on
    > bicycles, unlike in California.
    >
    > It was interesting watching the vegitation change as we
    climbed. I
    > didn't really notice it happen, but suddenly, there was
    more exposed
    > rock than vegitation, and it was clear that we were
    getting quite high.
    > Between 7 and 8 thousand feet, I began to really feel the
    altitude.
    > Dale, who lives at 7600' in Colorado, didn't have a
    problem.
    >
    > After a lot more climbing, we could see the top in the
    distance and a
    > turning with a sign-post indicated only 2 miles left to
    the top. I took
    > this as my cue to go to my threshold and rode the last
    section solo. The
    > climb to the upper visitor centre was fine, but the final
    pitch (think
    > Mt. Diablo) was a killer. I don't think that it was that
    steep in
    > absolute terms, but, as I said, it was a killer. I could
    barely turn the
    > 28 at 4mph. Eventually, I got to the car park, found the
    wheelchair ramp
    > and rode to the very summit where I got off and had a seat
    whilst I got
    > my breath back - 4h 29m 57s to the summit.
    >
    > After I caught my breath, I headed back down to the car
    park and
    > introduced myself to Dale's wife (her name has gone from
    my memory) and
    > their children and we waited for Dale to arrive. She took
    pictures of
    > us, and email addresses were exchanged.
    >
    > Dale decided to take the slow way down in the minivan with
    his family. I
    > took the express. The descent isn't superfast as the
    road isn't that
    > steep. On the lower slopes, I got into the 40's on the
    approaches to
    > hairpins and maintained 25 mph or so through most of the
    corners. I
    > overtook a couple of vehicles on the descent. One was a
    car - I was
    > getting a little irritated that I couldn't pass, but they
    did pull into
    > the first turnout that they could find, so I gave them a
    cheery wave to
    > say thanks. The one short flat section was hard work on
    the way down.
    >
    > The descent took 1h 15m, which meant that I averaged
    something like 28.7
    > mph on the descent, just like a very fast crit, but much,
    much easier!
    > The noticeable warming as I descended was really nice,
    though I did have
    > a chilly time passing through the clouds for a couple of
    miles. Once
    > through though, I warmed up quickly.
    >
    > Approaching Paia, I noticed something rather odd about one
    of the
    > churches on Baldwin - it was built of stone. Not something
    I have seen
    > often in the States, especially as it was in the
    presbyterian style
    > common in Scotland. But there's more, it was built out of
    lava rock and
    > not sandstone. All rather weird and unexpected.
    >
    > I got to Paia and found the van, changed clothes and
    headed the short
    > walk to find something to eat at a rather nice coffeee
    shop and then
    > headed back to the hotel. I got back in plenty time to
    soak in the
    > hot-tub and impress my colleagues with my exploits.
    Needless to say, the
    > alcohol went straight to my head that evening at
    pre-dinner drinks.
    >
    >
    > --
    > R.
    >
    > <> Richard Brockie "Categorical
    statements
    > <> The tall blond one. always
    cause trouble."
    > <> [email protected]
     
  3. Akj

    Akj Guest

    No way I could do the ride up be we're going to ride down somewhere between 3-12 and 3-22. I'm
    looking forward to that. Al
     
  4. Hi Rich,

    Nice report - sounds like you had a lot of fun.

    Just a note about the tour rides for anyone considering it:

    We did one when in Hawaii on our Honeymoon. Big mistake. You're right, the bikes are terrible. I had
    a big argument with the supposedly knowledgeable guides about where to set my seat height (they
    initially set it so I could touch the ground flat-footed while seated), brake sensitivity, etc (I
    live in NJ and am used to having to make sudden stops - they want the brakes set to stop gradually
    because they're afraid the tourons will go over the handlebars...). They didn't even know how to
    properly fit the full face helmet they made us wear.

    They go SOOOoooooo SLOOOOOOOWWWW! I was riding the brakes all the way down because we're not allowed
    to pass the lead guide. There's one place where the straight stretch of road between the turns goes
    ever-so-slightly uphill. We were going so slow we had to pedal this section. It took 6 hours to go
    40 miles downhill!

    They also blocked the road behind us with their van/trailer which understandably annoyed anyone
    trying to drive down the road. At one point my guide complained about someone almost running us off
    the road - the car that passed us was completely in the other lane (in a place where it could be
    seen that there was no oncoming traffic). They made a big deal about how bumpy the cattle grates
    were - these people obviously never saw a NJ pothole.

    Seeing the sunrise was awesome! - next time I'll rent a bike (or bring one) and pay someone to drive
    me up there before sunrise.

    Janet
     
  5. Mister Max

    Mister Max Guest

    Janet Cicariello-Cook <[email protected]> posted:

    >
    > Just a note about the tour rides for anyone considering it:
    >
    > We did one when in Hawaii on our Honeymoon. Big mistake. You're right, the bikes are terrible.
    <snip> They go SOOOoooooo SLOOOOOOOWWWW! I was riding the brakes all the way
    > down because we're not allowed to pass the lead guide. There's one place where the straight
    > stretch of road between the turns goes ever-so-slightly uphill. We were going so slow we had to
    > pedal this section. It took 6 hours to go 40 miles downhill!
    >
    > They also blocked the road behind us with their van/trailer which understandably annoyed anyone
    > trying to drive down the road.
    >
    > Seeing the sunrise was awesome! - next time I'll rent a bike (or bring one) and pay someone to
    > drive me up there before sunrise.
    >
    > Janet

    An independent ride down from Haleakala, not in a convoy, is also possible. Much more suitable
    for experienced cyclists. My supplier of bike, helmet, gloves, jacket, and van ride up was
    Haleakala Bike Co, 808 575 9575, in June 2001. I did have to raise the bike seat about 6 inches,
    which was easy.
    - Max

    --
    MisterMax Slideshows of Angkor Wat, Bali, Crete, Maui, Malaysia, Morocco, Sicily (new), St Tropez,
    Thailand, Tour de France: http://buten.net/max/ (Yes,RemoveDoubles is part of my email address. The
    double letters in my last name are not.)
     
  6. Br

    Br Guest

    "Mister Max" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > An independent ride down from Haleakala, not in a convoy, is also possible. Much more suitable
    > for experienced cyclists. My supplier of bike, helmet, gloves, jacket, and van ride up was
    > Haleakala Bike Co, 808 575 9575, in June 2001. I did have to raise the bike seat about 6 inches,
    > which was easy.
    > - Max

    Why not ride up it first?
     
  7. Janet

    Janet Guest

    BR wrote:

    > "Mister Max" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > An independent ride down from Haleakala, not in a convoy, is also possible. Much more suitable
    > > for experienced cyclists. My supplier of bike, helmet, gloves, jacket, and van ride up was
    > > Haleakala Bike Co, 808 575 9575, in June 2001. I did have to raise the bike seat about 6 inches,
    > > which was easy.
    > > - Max
    >
    > Why not ride up it first?

    Because if you want to see the sunrise, you'd have a really long ride in the dark in the middle of
    the night.

    Also if you do try to ride up in the dark - watch out for the tour groups' vans (W/ trailers). They
    drive like maniacs and don't watch out for others on the road. The group we went with figured they
    owned the road and didn't even make an effort to stay on their own side of the road going around
    the turns.

    Janet

    p.s. I do agree with "Mister Max" that an independent ride down would be preferable. That's
    what I would do next time - rent or bring a bike and pay someone to drive me up there
    before the sunrise.

    BTW - the bikes that the tour group used needed tools to make any adjustments (seat height
    included). Like I mentioned in a previous post - their bikes were terrible.
     
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