Thursday, April 23, 2015

Big Island Love

Headed to Big Island today for our annual BOCA training weekend! Can't wait!! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lanikai Tri

I look forward to this race every year. It's such a great, small-island, family-style race. The people, the entertainment, the atmosphere, everything about this race is fun. 
Who wouldn't want to start the day at a place like this? What a way to kick off the a beautiful home town race. 
The swim is super short and fast. 6 minutes and change short. You never know what you're going to get in the waters of Kailua Bay, well, scratch that, it's usually pretty windy and choppy, Rarely do we get a calm, crystal clear, flat day in the bay. But the choppier and windier the better, at least that's what I prefer. I only wish the chop and the wind were working against us instead of pushing us in the right direction. 

Women started 3 minutes back from the men (as usual). One of these days, just maybe a race can start the women first? No?! Probably not, so learning to swim and navigate through many people has become somewhat of a strong point for me, good thing because I was able to successfully navigate though the wind, chop and men which put me coming out of the water with the fastest swim time of the day (minus one relay swimmer)! 
The swim was over before it started. Short run to transition and off on the bike. The bike course was altered this year because we couldn't gain access to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (total bummer). But the course is the course and everyone is racing the same conditions. I struggle with being happy about my bike. I thought I was working hard and going fast, but in retrospect and thinking back on it today, I don't think I pushed as hard as I could have/should have (can I pedal any faster? yes can I push a bigger gear? yes. Not good during a race, Lectie). Giving a little more on the bike, wouldn't have taken away from my run. I think know I was just a wimp (one day I will do my new, pretty bike justice and ride it like it's meant to be ridden!). But there's nothing I can do about it now, other than learn from my mistake and not let it happen again. 
evidence of not riding hard enough 
The run is a relatively short, flat (4 minor bumps), fast run through a cute little neighborhood in Kailua, called Lanikai (side note: I would NOT recommend trying to drive into this neighborhood on any major holiday for fear/reality of getting stuck in grid-locked traffic for 3+ hours). 
Now, there was some work to be done on the run. I felt good coming off the bike, which isn't a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either, when you don't feel like  know you didn't ride how you should have. Anyways, I was happy with my run. I'm confident that my run is coming along and I could sustain that run pace for many more miles. Does that mean I should/could have run faster, maybe, maybe not, but I'm happy with how my body was able to run yesterday. Confident of good running things to come in the future.
I love this race and will continue to support our fun, local races. There's nothing better than racing with friends, family and loved ones and hanging out enjoying the Aloha Spirit on a Sunday morning in paradise.
Thanks to Raul and Hina (and their team) at BOCA Hawaii for putting on a top-notch race, Planet Sun Hawaii for keeping me protected in the extreme Hawaiian Sun, BioAstin Hawaii for your natural, sustained energy that helps me train harder and recover faster, ROKA Sports for the best swim attire, hands down and SOAS Racing for the cutest, most fashionable, functional race kits out there. And Aaron, for putting up with my crazy when things get too triathlon-y!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Castle to Hanauma

Bike races are hard. I think every time I do a bike race that's the first thing that comes to mind and the first thing I want to write. This one was no different.
  When you think about riding 12 miles as hard as you can it doesn't seem like it's going to be that difficult. It's only 30 minutes, it's not going to be terrible...oh it was. But terrible in a good way, terrible in the way that I know my biking is coming along (slowly it's improving), terrible in a way that you know everyone else is suffering too, terrible in the way that it's not terrible, it's great!!
I wish I could have gone a little faster and thinking back there are maybe one or two spots that I could have and should have pushed it beyond where I thought uncomfortable was. Live and learn. Next time. All-in-all a super fun way to start off a Sunday morning!
Thanks Kalani and everyone out there snapping pics!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Climbing Haleakala

On Sunday the goal was to climb Haleakala. Haleakala is a massive volcano that covers 75% of the island of Maui. The West Maui mountains (which we rode around on Saturday forms the other 25% or so of the island. The highest peak on Haleakala sits at 10,023 feet at the "house of the sun." 36 miles from Paia town to the top.
Photo Credit John Wollenbecker
Almost the whole group ready to go. We left the hotel at about 6:30 am and it was already raining and cold. But Sunday was the day, so we rolled. It's just over 6 miles from the hotel to Paia town. Once we got to Paia town a few of us got to take a 30 minute pit stop for breakfast and coffee to let the rest of the group get a little head start and continue up the mountain.
30 minutes later we were off and headed up the mountain. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, I knew it was going to be a long day and I knew it was going to get cold (it was already wet and chilly to begin with) and I knew it was going to be 10,000 feet of constant climbing (I thought it was going to be constant, but there were a few sections of relief!), but other than that, I wasn't sure what to expect. The beginning is pretty mellow, we had a small group, 6 of us, and we rode together, chatting and enjoying the scenery, just pedaling away. The "Makawao Wall" is the first significant climb of the day (mind you we've been climbing since we left Paia town) and it's pretty steep, but very short and nothing too crazy; it was actually much less steep than anticipated. After that it's more up, up, up, up. Through beautifully paved roads, free of massive traffic, fresh, crisp country air and friends. 
Photo Credit: Kalani Pascual
Our first aid-station/support vehicles were at 3500ft. At this point it wasn't too awfully cold, I kept switching from wearing my rain jacket, taking it off, putting it back on, taking it off. I couldn't quiet get my temperature right and I didn't want to get all wet underneath and then freeze when the temperatures dropped as we gained elevation. Anyways, 3500 down 6500 to go. We were off for section 2 of the climb (we were told the night before that the climb can be broken down into 3 different sections, the second section being the most difficult (which it was), but in the end each of the sections would probably take the same amount of riding time and that was exactly spot on!). 
Section two took us to a point where we got a little break from the clouds, the only point in the day that we were able to see some sun. Lots of switchbacks, but still feeling pretty strong considering we were getting on up there in elevation. And the temperature continued to drop! 
Photo Credit: Kalani Pascual
Still riding happy not quite to 7000 feet
Photo Credit: Kalani Pascual

Quick regroup for another change of clothes (hot, cold, hot, cold) and a picture. 

At about 7000 feet, just past the main entrance to Haleakala National Park ($5 needed if you want to go further by bike) we had our second support vehicle. At this point the weather started to get nasty! It was in the low 40s, cloudy, moisture in the air (I am not going to call it snow, but it was not just rain) and the wind was starting to pick up...time for a full change of clothes.  At this point, I think I put on a new undershirt under my jersey, my jersey, a winter insulated running jacket, a waterproof rain jacket, headband/ear-warmers, running tights over my bike shorts, two pairs of full fingered gloves and hand warmers underneath my gloves, if that sounds excessive, it might have been, but I'm soft now and don't do well in cold (I was by no means the most bundled either).  
Photo Credit: Kalani Pascual
All bundled up and ready to conquer the last 3000 feet. 

Photo Credit: Kalani Pascual
I made it maybe 1000 feet and I started to overheat, now, the temperature was still in the low 40s, but I did have on lots o' layers (see above picture and everything unzipped). I saw Stacia, Brandy and Katy on the side of the road so I pulled over and stripped off my tights, a pair of gloves and my outer rain jacket. They looked at me like I was nuts, asked if I was ok and told me it was going to be in the 30s by the time I got to the top. I told them that I was fine, I was just super hot and needed to shed some layers, if I kept moving I'd be fine for the last 2000 feet.

After I left them the wind began to really pick up. When we heard there was wind toward/at the top and the reports were saying 30+mph, we kept saying at least it won't be 30mph sustained winds...whoops, they were constant and relentless. I kept pushing forward, but those last 2000 feet were not easy and it was cold. When I made the final turn with less than 1000 yards of paved road left I saw Michelle up ahead, heard the cheers for Aaron finishing at the top and knew I was close. As soon as I passed Michelle the wind was whipping so hard I was barely moving up the mountain (I've never moved so slow on a bike before), I was moving so slow I was afraid I was going to tip over/get blown off the mountain. A gust of wind came and almost did knock me over. I got off my bike, walked for less than a minute, got mad at myself for getting off so close to the top, got back on and finished riding!  
The warm rental truck with hot chocolate and dry clothes. 
After I put on a new change of dry clothes and more layers, I told Aaron we needed to go ALL the way to the top to get a picture. I made it!  It was cold, it was tough, but I made it and I'll be back in June to "race" to the top. 
and then there was this........

After we got all bundled up and got our picture at the top it was time to descend. Not something I particularly wanted to do (but in the end I'm glad I did...on a nice day, this would be a beautiful descent), but there was not enough room in the vans for all the bikes and all the people so some people had to suck it up and ride down. You would think as we descended it would get warmer, I would thaw out a bit and it wouldn't be miserable, nope, I never got warm (it took me 24 hours and a run on Monday to get warm again! That  might be a little dramatic, but that's what it felt like). We stopped a few times at the ranger station bathrooms and stood with our hands under the blow dryers to warm up so we could hold onto our bikes, squeeze the breaks and shift when necessary. We made it back to the hotel without incident and Haleakala was conquered!

Climbing this mountain was close to one of the best rides I've had on bike. It was so peaceful up there on the mountain. It was never too steep, you just had to keep on pedaling, onward and upward, the fresh, crisp mountain air is something special (I found myself taking deep breaths, breathing in the clean air up there and it was glorious), the views would be spectacular if you could actually see through the clouds, a tranquil place to ride your bike. Haleakala is a extraordinary place and I can't wait to ride her again! See you in June!

Thanks to the BOCA fam that was out there supporting us on our trip up Haleakala, without you all, this would not have been possible!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Maui No Ka Oi

Day one on Maui....mission West Maui Loop by bike.
61  miles, 4000+ ft of climbing, cappuccino and crepes. 

This was the first time I've ever ridden on Maui and let me tell you, the roads are amazing, the views spectacular, the company top notch. It was a bit chilly, but it was so nice to be able to ride on roads and not worry about pot holes and angry drivers. They even have legit bike novel! 
I can't wait to do this ride again! (June perhaps). But I think next time, since now I've done the full loop, it would be fun to start the ride in Kahului, ride counter-clockwise to Lahaina, have crepes at Maui Swiss Cafe (note: super good mid-ride crepes and cappuccino, a must stop) then turn around and ride back the way we came, through all the hills and rollers (barley any cars, peaceful, serene and tranquil). That ride ends up being about 80 miles and 7800 ft of climbing. 

What a great day on bike...tomorrow we ride the beast (Haleakala). There was snow on top yesterday...hopefully the weather cooperates and this girl doesn't freeze!!  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hill Hell Day...Part 1

Yesterday one  of our friends, who was visiting from another island decided it would be "fun" to get a group of folk together to do an epic ride, riding all the ridges on Oahu, basically 85+ miles with over 10,000 ft of climbing! He decided to call it, "Another bad idea." Aptly titled. Who knew there was that much climbing on Oahu! It would have been quite the epic day, had we done what was planned, but we diverged from the plan a bit, thank goodness, my legs couldn't handle any more climbing yesterday! It was still a solid day of riding and climbing. We rode about 60 with over 6,000 ft of climbing in not very much time.

Climb #1 Tantalus, my weekly staple.....about 1500 ft to the top, 5 miles up, 5 miles down
It's always a good idea to start a ride sprinting up a mountain because you forget a spare inner tube and have to go back to the car to fetch it and the group (of pure cyclists mind you) decides not to wait for you...

Climb #2 St. Louis Heights...just shy of 4 miles...just over 900ft of elevation gain...average grade 7.49%, max grade 17%

The best part about this climb, was the mini pit stop at this park (Waahila ridge State Park) at the top. This climb is no joke and I get to do it again this coming weekend! 

Climb #3 (we skipped Sierra Drive and Laukahi, I'm sure we will do them this Saturday) Proceed to Kamehame...just over 3.5 miles to the end, 1085 ft of gain, average grade of 9%, max grade 18%. (I love this climb, even when my legs are screaming at me, this is a great climb, I think my favorite here on Oahu)...the views at the top are totally worth it! 

Climb #4 (kind of) Makapu'u, Not sure this really counts as you have to go up this hill on almost any ride you do on the east side of the island, but I'm counting it yesterday because that's how tired, heavy and sore my legs were. 

Climb #5...Waimanalo back roads...this doesn't really count as it's not truly a climb, a hill, or a mountain, It's a gradual hill that I absolutely cannot stand, hidden in the back roads of Waimanalo, if you've ridden with me you know what this road is and if you are ever here and ride with me, you will for sure hear about it. It's nothing special really and if you were riding on it, you wouldn't think twice, but I despise this piece of road, not because it's difficult, but because it gets me everytime! 

Climb #6 Old Pali...we did this in reverse, so I don't have true data of info, but we took the Old Pali then hiked a bike, under the freeway for a few feet and made our way to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. 

There was a Climb #7 Pacific Heights (3.5 miles, 721 ft of gain, 9.11% average 19% max grade) I opted out of this one as we will for sure do it this coming weekend.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for riding and thanks, Rick for getting all of us together! A great morning was had by all.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I finally bit the bullet and joined a masters team (UH Masters) again and it was amazing! It's super nice to be able to hop in the ocean or a public pool almost any time I want, for free, but to be in the pool with other people who love and want to swim is great. I get that already on Wednesday mornings, but the other 2-3 times a week I swim is usually on my own and that is getting old. There's only so much motivation I can/want to give myself, alone in the pool and I want a new swim routine! I have been wanting to shake things up a bit and start swimming with a group again so.....I went to my first practice last night and actually getting to swim with other fast people was everything I hoped it would be and more! They offer 11 practices a more excuses for not swimming. I'm looking forward to continuing swimming with this group and can't wait to love swimming again!
On another note, I swam in the Ocean with the BOCA fam this morning and I had to bust out the wetsuit because it was sooooo cold! But it was a beautiful morning to be swimming outside in the ocean, in February, lucky, I know.