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I made it up Mt. Haleakala(19 posts)

I made it up Mt. Haleakalabimini
Dec 29, 2003 11:27 AM
I will be posting a full ride report once I get my pictures back.

I was able to talk the wife into letting me ride up Haleakala while we were vacationing in Maui. We took a shuttle up to the park entrance at 6500 feet and rode down the hill together. Once we got to the bottom she checked her bike in and I started to the top.

I was hoping to climb to the top in less than 4 hours. Boy, was I off! The first half of the 35 mile ride I was on track but then the climbing got HARD! The last 2500 feet of the climb was down right brutal. I thought I was going to have to call it quits when my leg muscles started going spastic on me with 6 miles left to go. I had to get off the bike and stand motionless for 5 minutes until the cramps subsided and then rest for another 5-10 minutes to build enough strength for the final drive to the top. The last mile was brutal. No room for switchbacks so the incline got very steep. I had to stand up and pump the last bit.

I ended up taking a little over 5 hours real time and a little under 4 1/2 hours bike time to make the climb. The ride has 10,023 feet of elevation change in 35 miles. Needless to say I was never so tired in my life when I got off the bike at the top. I was glad i did not have to ride back down again. It felt good to climb into the car at the top, turn up the heater and sit motionless.

I should have some great pictures of the ride, the top of Mt. haleakala, and a fantastic sunset from the top. I will be getting the pictures on Wednesday so should be able to get the report posted on Thursday.
Man, that's impressiveTNSquared
Dec 29, 2003 11:34 AM
Being a Mississippi Delta flatlander, I can't even imagine a climb like that. Suffice to say, I have enough trouble with the 6 mile, 2,500 foot elevation gains available over in Arkansas.

Just curious, what gearing did you use?
Man, that's impressivebimini
Dec 29, 2003 11:43 AM
I'm an Iowa flatlander myself. I don't believe in triple but am sure glad the Lemond I rented had one. I never took the time to count teeth, but the rear looked to be either 27 or 29 teeth and the front was probably 32 or 34. Once I hit the switchbacks at 5000 feet I spent all my time in the lowest two gears.
You are da man....Dave Hickey
Dec 29, 2003 11:48 AM
That is great... How'd ya feel the next day?
You are da man....bimini
Dec 29, 2003 11:56 AM
Actually I felt better the next day than I felt that evening. I was wasted. Even with 5 liters of Gatoraid, 5 liters of water and a couple of snickers, the ride took everything out of me. Fortunately, the next day we took the drive to Hana around the Eastern side of the island, so I spent most of the day on my behind driving.
Vert : Mileage ratio - Those are like Mtn Bike #'sB2
Dec 29, 2003 11:53 AM
I'll bet you needed a triple!

Now that's impressive. What kind of speeds do hit on the descent??

Don't know what speed down. No speedometerbimini
Dec 29, 2003 12:03 PM
I also let my wife lead, I have a bad habit of dropping her if I lead.

My guess is she let it get up to 35-40 MPH or so. I rode my brakes the whole time down. We got passed by cars only a couple of times on some of the lower flat sections.

I am certain you could go as fast as you are brave enough to go on the top half. I never took it close to the limit. Just coasted and enjoyed the views.
and where are the pics?cyclopathic
Dec 29, 2003 1:28 PM
or you will keep us waiting? ;)

I'd bet with altitude effect last mile was really brutal. I've been only a few times that high, and 10-11,000' I had to get off the bike several times to catch the breath.
My buddy did it last year and got dropped...............BIG RING
Dec 29, 2003 2:25 PM
by the son of a nearby bicycle shop owner. he got a wild hair while on vacation, walked into the shop, asked if they had a loaner road bike and a guide. The owner got a funny smile on his face and said, "oh, about twice a year I get a crazy mainlander who wants to go up instead of come down." He then introduced my friend to his son, a 130 lb. climber who Roberto Heras'ed him to the top. Great story and climb.
That is one brutal climbMel Erickson
Dec 29, 2003 1:29 PM
I've been there but haven't done it. Took the wife and daughter down the mountain but didn't have the time to go up. Don't know if I would want to. That's a terrific accomplishment. My hat's off to you.
Dude, you're my hero!!PseuZQ
Dec 29, 2003 2:03 PM
That sounds totally cool. It's on my long-term goals list. I tell very few people, because they tend to laugh at me when I do.

Some questions:
How much climbing do you do ordinarily? How's your fitness in general? (Are you super-core or a recreational guy?) And did you do anything special to train?

Congratulations -- I'm really looking forward to the full report.
I'm a 47 year old fart that rides a lotbimini
Dec 30, 2003 5:38 AM
and dabbles in local races. I have placed before in small Cat 5 races but the best I have done in masters was a 4th out of a small field. We have rolling hills in this section of Iowa but no real climbs. I put in about 750 miles a month on the bike. I average 19-20 MPH when I train alone.

Climbing is my weak suit when racing. At 6' 180# the little guys drop me if they attack on a long hill.

I did nothing special. With winter my milage has dropped considerably and did not get a chance to ride at least a week before the climb. This may have helped build energy reserves.

I'm an old 35MM film guy. So I have to wait for the film to get back from Wally World. (great price but they are slow). I am having them digitize all the pictures and post them on the internet. Only costs an extra buck. I shot 13 rolls of film on vacation including 3 rolls of underwater shots. My wife has the digital camera and has those downloaded already but I have not had a chance to go through those yet. I will take some time New Years day to go through the pics and get some good ones posted here of Haleakala.
I **looked** at Mt. Haleakala a lot this week...lonefrontranger
Dec 29, 2003 6:24 PM
sat around the pool and on the beach at the Wailea Renaissance quite a bit, gazed longingly as a lot of roadies tooled around Wailea and Kihei, put a SERIOUS dent in my Visa card in Lahaina, and got my ass kicked at snorkeling by my SO. We did some serious hardcore hot, tough, nutcase lava hikes at the crack of dawn every morning to get to the best snorkeling spots (i.e. getting to the locale is so ungodly daunting that you won't have fifty thousand other prats and their hell-spawn mucking it up and scaring all the fish away). I wound up using my Kevlar MTB gloves to boulder over all those razor-sharp rocks, god help you if you slip and fall on it!

My SO, who weighs about 140 lbs. soaking wet (and that's after a big breakfast) did every one of those freaking crazy-assed lava hikes carrying a 45-lb bag full of gear, then snorkeled like a madman in fairly rough water for 3-4 hours each day. I got one good coral slash which fortunately isn't showing signs of growing stuff, a decent sunburn, and some really, really tired legs from the week... It was well worth it though. We saw about a million fish of every colour and description, and some beautiful reef formations. The one day we didn't crazy lava hike, we snorkeled around Wailea. The sea was kinda rough all week, so visibility was next to nil, but it paid off 'cos we saw a bunch of sea turtles, then hauled out at White Rocks to watch the whales playing out by Molokini. Man, there is some good post-jaunt grub to be found in Wailea!

Dude, I saw the Haleakala road (we drove it, I was not even interested in attempting the descent on a rented rig) that is indeed impressive. What day? I was there 21st - 29th, returned to Boulder this AM.
We did a lot of snorkling alsobimini
Dec 30, 2003 5:48 AM
But were on the other side of the Island in Kihei. We did not do the Lava hikes. We were able to reach some nice snorkling sites but just wading out on the sand next to the rocky coast. We also took the Molokini / turtle coast trip. Molokini was way too crowded but the turtle coast spot was real nice. At one point I was surrounded by 4-5 sea turtles. I think Judy got a picture of that. I also free dived 3 of the 5 caves there. One was about 30 feet down and 30 feet long. When I was out of breath at the far end of the cave there was a 3-4 foot white tip shark blocking my way. I did not have the air to turn around so I crossed my fingers and swam by him. Did not have time to snap a picture.
Opps, we were up the road north of you.bimini
Dec 30, 2003 5:57 AM
We were there Dec 17 to the 24th
Dec 30, 2003 6:47 AM
I did that ride about 15 years ago! Gawd that seems like a long time ago when I say now, great ride, lots of fun and great scenery.
Congrats!wily in pacifica
Dec 30, 2003 9:26 AM
I was on the Big Island last May for a triathlon. I took my road bike with the triple ring along since I wanted to ride around a bunch of the island after the race and didn't want to ride a tri bike. I took a set of 27mm cross tires because I was planning to try to get to the top of Mauna Kea. I ended up hurting, breaking a toe, during the race so did not attempt it. I did ride a bunch of the perimater of the island but my toe hurt when I stood up as my foot would then drop down in the toe box of my shoe.

I drove the first 27 miles from Hilo to the base of the volcano and it is all uphill. Not too steep but I don't remember one downhill or flat section. That gets you to just over 6,000 feet, which means you have another 8,000 feet in only 16 miles. Plus you will be getting up to 14,000 feet. There is a 5 mile section of dirt at the top. That is why I took the cross tires.

My bike has the DA triple group with a 30-27 low gear. Not sure that would work but I figured I could always just turn around and coast home. But even 30 plus miles of downhill would wear me out.

Here is a web site with a story and pictures about a guy who did it.

I am going back this May so might give it a shot again.
That last 8000 sounds near impossiblebimini
Dec 30, 2003 10:20 AM
The last 3000 feet of Haleakala covered about 9 -10 miles which kept me in my lowest gear all the way. (333 ft/mile)

8000 ft in 16 miles is 500 ft/mile. Ouch. I was able to handle 10,000 feet elevation okay (for a flatlander). I was not winded but I was exhausted. Not sure if it was the elevation, the climb or both. I'm fairly certain I could not of handled 14,000 feet with an incline of 500ft/mile in the dirt!

I'll save that climb for my next trip to Hawaii. We did not get to see the Big Island and the active Volcanos this trip. I'm not sure if we will be going back but if we do it would be to see the Big Island.

I just found out yesterday that my stepson is probably going to moving to Denver. I'll have to take my bike with me when we visit. There should be a few hills around there to climb.
Better do some high altitude trainingMel Erickson
Dec 31, 2003 10:32 AM
The air gets mighty thin at the top. I drove to the top a couple of years ago and was pretty goofy just walking around up there. There's a huge difference in available oxygen between the ranger station at 9,000 ft. and the top. If you go in the winter be prepared for sub freezing weather. I'd also recommend disc brakes for the descent. Those switchbacks can do a number on rim brakes. The road is fairly wide and relatively smooth, even the gravel part. There are numerous turn outs to stop and rest (up for your body, down for the brakes). That ride would be a real challenge.

I also did some touring this year around the Big Island. Here's a link to my post. MB1 "Hawaii - Coast to Coast, deja vu" 8/10/03 2:32am