Saturday, June 13, 2009

I rode up Haleakala thursday morning. I had the most amazing time and I should probably write a little bit about it. So the pictures are all messed up in their order so sorry about that.
I started the morning at 5:10 in Kihei which is on Maui. I wanted to make it up as high as possible for the sunrise, but after the kids woke up a few times during the night I was too tired to wake up at 3, so I had my night light ready to go. By the time I got to kahului the sun was already starting to rise and I knew I would miss the rise on the slopes.
In order to make this ride legit, one must dip their toe in the water before you start to ride that way you can be at the lowest point, and the highest point without cheating. So the pictures of the beach are when I dipped my foot in the water and the sun was rising up on the north shore of Maui in a little town called Paia. This town was the best place to start the climb according to others and the race in august follows this route. It was about 6:30 when I actually started to climb and I made it to 1000' and left Paia in about 20 minutes. In order to reach my goal of 3 hours for the climb I needed to average this speed, which was about 12 mph. I was feeling great at this point and after another 10 minutes or so I saw another rider up ahead. I caught up to him in no time and we rode together for the next hour. He was from Utah and was named Lance. We had a nice chat about whatever and by the time we reached 5000' the trees were gone, just a grassy hillside, and lots of cutbacks in the road. The picture below was from here... Well it was just about this time when I began to run out of water and food and started to bite the dust, but i had averaged 12mph. I couldnt keep it up however and stopped on the side of the road. I drank the rest of my water and ate a powerbar and took a good look around me, then got back on the saddle.
I carried on alone for the next 3000' of elevation untill I rode into a huge set of clouds and then past the ranger station. where I was finaly able to refill my bottles and resurect myself. The station was at 7000'.
I need to note that there must have been a few hundred people riding crappy bmx and mountain bikes down the mountain. They were wearing crappy rain slickers, winter gloves, and motorbike helmets. It was funny cause they would all look at me and some would even say it out loud..."holy (&^%), you are going the wrong way! WOW". so that made me feel good, but I was just thinking to myself... why would anyone pay 200 dollars to have someone drive them up the mountain slap them on a bike and then coast down the hill... Kind of a waste to me I think, but I guess it is like paying for a ski lift... well not quite... But call me crazy I just feel that those people are cheating God. You should have to suffer and endure the climb to really appreciate what He put there, then after all the pain, you can ride down having earned it. Whatever, I am a nut... back to the story...
So I was averaging the same heart rate at the ranger station, about 160-170, only being dehydrated I could only ride at about 8-9mph. So I was losing time to Lance, and not reaching my goal. I ate two more bars and kept going.
I had to stop at 8000' to stretch and take a few pics from the phone and text Robyn to let her know I was going to die up there.
I carried on alone. This is about the time I noticed a few things: I havent been up a mountain that high since I climbed mount temple with Dad many years ago. The air is thin. I cant breath very well. There is absalutely no noise up here!
I loved it. I was now averaging the same HR but was ony able to go about 6-8mph at the best and was really dying and feeling like quitting. Robyn sent me a text to keep on going so I did. At 9000' I could see the observatory and the top. The sign on the road said 2 miles to go and I was at 3 hours and 45 minutes. already long past my goal of 3 hours flat. I put my head down and tried not to fall over. Lance was on his way back down and stopped to see how I was doing. he had just reached the top and turned around immediately before he got cold. He gave me some gummy bears as he sipped on his ice cold gatoraid. I thanked him and tried to block out the voices telling me to turn around and go home.
I finally made it to what I thought was the top. It was a big visitors center with a bathroom and parking lot full of cars and tourists snapping pics and heading out on hikes. I looked at my altimeter and saw 9800' This wasn't the top... I had 200 more to climb and I saw the road continue on. I felt a rush of energy and flew up the last 3/4 mile to the summit. I saw the sign SUMMIT - 10032' and almost started to cry. I was finally there.
I took some pics, chatted with a few strangers and followed Robyns recomendation and laid down up there and took a nap. There were no clouds that high up, and I could see Mauna Kea 100 miles away looming above the clouds at 14000 feet (my next feat). So nice, quite and sunny.
Well the next hour was a blur. I raced down the slopes averaging 40 mph and passing about 8 cars. I shot out the bottom only to find an italian gelato shop at the bottom of the road. I went in and ate a bowl of pistachio and drank down a cold water.
I finally made it back to the hotel about 3 hours later than I thought I would. I got back at 1:00. I rode 110 miles in 7 hours ( 36 miles uphill and 10500' climbing). I must say it was an experience that will be hard to match... that is untill I ride the next mountain !!!
If you actually read this whole thing thanks... althought I bet nobody will torture themselves enough. enjoy the pics of my first really EPIC ride...
Dan






3 comments:

Proud Momma said...

I miss you and your smile! What a beautiful ride...I love Maui!

Jeni said...

ohhh sounds awesome! and look ssooooo radical too. bikers paradise!

Robyn Melia and Troy said...

sounds like it was the best day of your life!!