Hilo, Hawaii - anybody else trying to get back in shape?

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Dan Birchall

Aloha, folks.

I'm on the "other" side of the island - the one without the Ironman championships. (We do have our
share of competitors, though!) Many years ago and thousands of miles away (and I'm serious there), I
was in USCF Juniors, but since then there've been too many desk jobs, so I'm looking at trying to
drop 3 pounds a week all summer to get back to my "ideal" weight.

Thanks to biking (and hiking and swimming) I'm in fairly good shape for a person of my size and
mass, and often get mistaken for being far lighter than I am, but... I feel the need for speed. ;)

So! From home (right smack in downtown Hilo), there are five primary obvious directions to go.

1. North along the Hamakua Coast on Highway 19 and the numerous scenic detours. Out-and-back trips
of all lengths are options here, up to at least century length (Waipio Valley and back). Altitude
gain is fairly gradual, staying under 1200' at least to Honoka'a/Waipio Valley. So far I've been
out about 13 miles, and have done everything within 10 miles multiple times. I'm hoping to work
my way up to the full out-and-back century on this route.

2. Southwest on Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. With altitude gains of 250' per mile
sustained for... uh... quite a ways! this provides an excellent outlet for any masochistic
urges, close to town. If I ever hit the 28 mile marker at 6,000+ feet, I could always attempt
the Mauna Kea access road, too... that goes up another 3,000 feet in about 7 miles, before going
unpaved for the last few miles (and the last 4,500+ feet of altitude). I've only seen some crazy
alpine bikers from Austria up there, and they camped overnight at the 20-mile point. I've only
gone up about
3.5 miles on this so far, somewhere 1,000' to 1,500' altitude.

4. East on Kalanianaole Avenue out to the end... it's only 5 miles and change each way, coastal,
very gentle terrain. Popular with the sort of folks who want to bike to (or from) the beaches...
or who simply can't swim without then jumping on a bike (and presumably going for a run
afterward). Easy ride, probably a good place to work on getting my speed up over time. Done this
route many times.

5. South to Kea'au then southeast out to Pahoa and on to Kalapana or Kapoho. Not terribly hilly,
pretty rural. If I go to Pahoa and then around the Pahoa-Kalapana-Kapoho triangle and back home,
it'd be around 75 miles. I've only gone out 10-15 miles in this direction.

6. South through Kea'au to Volcano. 500' at 8 miles, 1500' at 15 miles... 4000' at 28 miles. The
sort of hill you ride up just so you can ride back down, I imagine. :) I've gone up to the
15-mile point and a little further.

So... a few questions, which overlap the 3 groups to some extent.

Anybody else out here in Hilo?

If yes, anybody who's in the 15-20mph range on flat terrain? I need to drop weight before I'll be
cruising at 25+ again... I know at least one racer in my own neighborhood, but I'm not anywhere near
that kind of shape yet. :)

Anybody know any organized/regular group rides on any of the general routes I've listed above? (Yes,
I will check with the LBS too!)

Anybody want to go riding?

Malama pono,


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