Haleakala

Swim, Bike, Run, and Whales

Friday was a bit of a recovery from the big assault on Haleakala. We drove over to Whaler’s Cove for some swimming, running, and shopping. The whales were putting on quite the show for us all along the highway on the trip out. It made a long ride in traffic a bit more interesting.

Swimming at Whaler’s Cove was quite nice. There were a few waves, which allowed me to practice proper breathing technique and see if it really does help out with the waves. There was also a bit more coral and rocks here, so there were more fish to look at while swimming along. I ended up putting in just under a mile – I started to get pretty warm in the wetsuit, so I stripped it down to my waist and sat in the water for a bit to cool off.

At this point, I could have gone for a run, but I didn’t. I hung out on the beach for a little bit instead, and then we walked to lunch. On the way, the whales started to show up again.  There were several that breached…I managed to get a picture of a head and a tail sticking out. They aren’t the greatest, the whales were out there quite a bit so I cropped down the photos.

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The original schedule for Saturday was to bike the West Maui Loop. Unfortunately, there was a ton of rain overnight (and still happening in the morning) and decided that the safe thing to do was to skip the ride. Instead, we drove down to the beach and went for a short run that went near the airport. Garmin file can be found here.

After the run, the weather improved a bit, so a small group of us decided to go for a short afternoon ride. The goal – climb Copp Road. This road is about an 870’ climb in a mile and a half. The average grade is nearly 11% and the steeper sections are more than 15%. It was the hardest part of the entire week, but I managed to get through it (with one short rest about 1/2 way up). Garmin file can be found here.

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Then it was back down to the B&B to pack up the bikes and get ready to head home tomorrow. Had to have a beer to celebrate completing the camp without any mechanical failures on the bike (or on the me).

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The camp was a blast! I was pushed out of my comfort zone, and did many things that I did not think I was capable of accomplishing. The training was definitely hard, but not impossible. I’ll definitely consider coming back again in the future.

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Haleakala – 36 Miles, 10,023 Foot Climb

Today was the day of the big climb up Haleakala. Normally, it doesn’t happen until the Saturday of the camp, but the weather for the weekend isn’t looking good, so it was bumped to today.

My original plan was to start from the B&B (elevation about 1500’), however, I was peer pressured into going down to Paia to get the full effect of the climb.  Technically, I didn’t start a sea level, but probably around 20’.  I was paired up with a  couple of riders at a similar skill level, and since we are a little bit slower, they sent us off early at 7:45a.

The entire descent into Paia, I wondered what I got myself into – I’m riding down a hill to just turn around and ride back up! Coming back up the hill was easier than I expected – once we arrived at the B&B we did a quick stop to top off our bottles and to pick up a couple of riders that decided they didn’t want to start at town.

The next section of the ride was identical to the ride from Tuesday up to the 4500’ level. From there, it was just another 5500’ up! As we started the ascent up the mountain, the weather started to deteriorate – clouds were rolling in and the temperature was dropping. I stopped at 5000’ to get a picture of the half way point, as well as to put on my arm warmers

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The view from 5000’ was cloudy.

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From there, we continued up, up, up. At about 6500’ we had a support vehicle that I elected to skip – I thought we were close to the visitor center at the park and intended to top off my bottles there. It turned out to be a quite a bit further. I managed to pull in with about 1/4 of a bottle left. Even so, this made my stress level rise quite a bit given my experience with running out of fluids on our Sunday ride.  I took a quick picture of my bike at the lower visitor center before continuing on up the mountain.WP_20130314_004

The road inside the national park wasn’t particularly steep, it was just long.  The road is exposed and there was quite a bit of wind. Just kept plugging away slowly and making progress. Eventually, there was a “2 miles to go” sign. From this point on, I found things to get really tough. 5 hours of riding, plus being at 9000’+ elevation made it a strenuous climb. Then the last stretch from the upper visitor center to the summit was short but brutal. The road steepens to a 12% grade, the winds were gusting to 40 mph, and there was sleet coming down straight into our faces. Stopped for a quick rest about half way up, and then pushed hard through to the top.WP_20130314_006

The top observation area was nice and warm, but the view wasn’t so good.WP_20130314_007

Had to get a picture with the bike at the top!

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Now I’m only half way done, I’ve got to get down off the mountain! We had a vehicle in the upper visitor center parking lot with our warm riding clothes and some food. I put on my booties, leg warmers, sweatshirt, and running jacket, and I was still cold.

Then it was time to go down, down, down. That only lasted for about 1/2 mile before I threw my chain. Pulled off the side of the road for a quick fix and started again. Descending was almost as difficult as climbing. Even with all the clothes on, I was still cold. My hands tired from working the brakes.  I ended up stopping 3 or 4 times on the way to the lower visitor center to warm my hands and let them rest.

I stopped at the visitor center to warm up – went into the men’s room and put my hands under the blow drier. Once I warmed a bit, I went into the visitor center to get a stamp for my national park book, and then it was down the mountain some more.

After exiting the park, I stopped at the support vehicles that were waiting at about 6500’.  At this point I was frozen, and they had room for one more bike, so I opted to get a ride down the rest of the day.

Even though the weather was miserable, I have to say that I really felt like I accomplished something when I made it to the top of the mountain. I was unsure if I would make it starting from the 1500’ level, and the fact that I went all the way up from Paia really added to that feeling. I think I may have to come back next year and start by dipping my toes in the ocean!

My Garmin file can be found here.

Triathlon Camp–Rambo Hike and Open Water Swim

Not a lot of text tonight – pretty tired and I need to get all of my gear together for the assault on Haleakala tomorrow (I have decided to do all 10,000+ feet, details tomorrow).  Today, we went on a cool hike through a bamboo forest along some streams, with lots of waterfalls.

This is a small stream that we crossed right after starting the trail.

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Looking up into the bamboo.

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A good lookin’ guy.DSC00681

Waterfall!

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Another waterfall!DSC00700

I said lots of waterfalls, right?

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This one was cool – you had to swim about 50 yds and scale a small waterfall, then you came to a much larger waterfall basin.  Several people went cliff diving here.

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After hiking, it was off to the ocean for an open water swim!DSC00762

The reef that protected the beach set up a natural swimming flume, allowing the coaches to watch your swim stroke and give you some good feedback. The current flowed parallel to shore away from this picture. It was very strong – I don’t think I could have made any progress against it without training fins on.DSC00766

Triathlon Camp–Winery Ride

Time for another bike ride.  Today we rode out to a winery at Ulupalakua on the south side of the island. The fist half of the route covered the same roads that we are going to take for our epic Haleakala ride (it looks like the Haleakala ride is going to be moved up to Thursday for some better weather), which gave us some insight on things to come.

To start things out, we exited the B&B going uphill for a short ride to the town of Makawao. After making our way through town, the hill became much more steep as we continued on up the mountain side. After a little bit, the climb mellowed out a bit, but it was still a climb. It took just over an hour to get to the road that goes to the summit of the mountain.

The support vehicle was waiting at the intersection and after giving a quick refill on one of my bottles, instructed me to proceed up toward the summit to 4500’ (the intersection is at about 3500’), and then descend down before heading off to the winery.  So we climbed some more!  As we neared the 4500’ turn around, I heard a big squawk coming from the side of the hill and standing there was a big ring neck rooster staring at me. Didn’t have my camera handy, so I didn’t get a picture.  When we made it up to 4500’ we stopped to rest for a minute, which gave me the opportunity to pull the camera out and take a picture of the marker on the road.

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At this point there has been a whole lot of up.  10 miles into the ride and we have ascended 2500’ and only descended 180’. That was about to change – now we went down, down, down.  My hands were getting fatigued working the brakes (I spoke with the coaches later in the evening to talk about a good strategy to help with this) which made the descent a little stressful for me. I made it to the bottom ok.  Then it was another short climb before a long descent to the winery.

Unlike coming down from the side of Haleakala (I guess all the downs are technically coming down from the side of Haleakala on this side of the island), the descent into the winery was awesome. It was not too steep, with lots of winding corners that weren’t too sharp. Did grab a quick picture of the view on the way down.WP_20130312_003

Then we were at the winery.  Stopped for a bit to rest and eat some food.  Topped of our bottles, and then it was time to climb back up that long hill we just came down! Here is a picture of the winery tasting room.WP_20130312_004

and the area where we gathered with the bikes to restock them.WP_20130312_005

The way back was the same as the way out, just reversed (minus the side excursion up the side of Haleakala).

Once we got back to Makawao, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a quick bite to eat.WP_20130312_008

The total length of the ride today was 45 miles with an elevation gain of about 5500’ (Garmin file is here). I did much better on this ride. I think I’ve nailed down a good nutrition system, I just need to make sure that I don’t run out of anything.  While my legs are tired tonight, I feel much better than I did after the ride on Sunday.  Time to head off to bed so I can be ready for the “Rambo” hike and open water swim tomorrow.