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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

100 things

I guess I'll play....

1. I think this is going to be really difficult.

2. I don't like talking about myself.

3. This is an easy one..I started swimming competitively at age 6.

4. After college, I never thought I would swim again. Nor wake up in the morning to swim. Never say never...

5. I LOVE swimming again and wish I could swim with more people more often. I do a lot of swimming on my own.

6. I want to start swimming on a master's team, I just need to MAKE the time to go the first time.

7.. Swimming in the Ocean is fun...I'm just starting to really appreciate the ocean and what we are so lucky to have here year round (crystal clear water that's not very cold)...even though it's kind of sort of wetsuit swimming weather in the water now.

8. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, UpState, not the city, they are two totally different things. My parents still live in the house I grew up in.

9. I've been in Hawaii for 6 years.

10. I thought I'd only be here for 3 years (see #9), but now couldn't see myself anywhere else.

11. I haven't put this out there, on the world wide web, but in all honesty...Came to Hawaii, married, thought I was happy, pretended I was, I wasn't, I stayed, he left and I couldn't be happier with where my life is now.

12. Not sure how I feel about putting that little tid bit out there.

13. I am truly the most happy I've been in a very long time.

14. When I got to Hawaii in 2009 I was super out of shape....30 pounds heavier, out of shape
15. My college swim coach had been trying for years to convince me to do a triathlon to no avail..he finally convinced me to do a marathon and thus began my journey back to fitness.

16. Never ran more than three miles before 2010.

17. In 2010 ran my first marathon.

18. I have run 6 marathons since, 3 open and 3 Ironman

19. I stand by the fact that an Ironman marathon is "easier" than an open marathon

20. I started triathlon in 2011 with Hawaii 70.3

21. Since then I have completed 5 70.3s and 3 Ironman's (one 70.3 and 1 IM on the schedule for this year)

22. I've been skydiving, it was amazing, not something I ever thought I would do and I don't think I could ever do it again, but glad I had the experience.

23. I have a tattoo on my right foot, a hibiscus flower that I got when I first got to Hawaii.

24. I'm not even a quarter of the way there yet?

25. I used to only wear black swim suits, not the brighter and more obnoxious the better.

26. I have my master's degree in School Counseling.

27. I work in a middle school as a Behavioral Health Specialist

28, I want to get my spin instructor certification.

29, I miss being a swim coach and I want to start coaching swimming again in some capacity.

30. Triathlon has given me some amazing friendships and relationships.

31. That being said...32 and 117 4lyfe! bff4eva HA!

32. This is hard

33. I love having a coach to guide and push me to and past my limits as well as reign me in when needed.

34. I have a younger brother that lives in Maine, way to far away in my opinion.

35. We used to drive each other nutso and now I wish we lived closer and could see each other more often.

36. The one bad thing about living in paradise is being so far away from friends and family...but at least it's a great place to visit.

37. I went to Italy in high school (Florence, Venice, Rome, Tivoli, Tuscany, Pisa, Verona).

38, I would love to go back to Europe and explore some more countries, but it's such a trek from here.

39. Someday I want to go to Australia

40. and New Zealand

41. and bike tour France

42. and bike tour a whole bunch of other places

43. I tore my ACL in high school when I went skiing with a boy.

44. Bad decision, couldn't swim for weeks.

45. Didn't have ACL surgery until after I was done with college swimming (that's how I got out of all the running!)

46. and now I love running...I can't believe I just uttered those words, but I've said it before, I really do enjoy running.

47. Only other surgery I've had was getting my wisdom teeth removed and that was terrible!!

48. I just got a new bike!

49. Hopefully I can figure out the electronic shifting and I don't break it..yikes!

50. Hawaii turns you into a blood has thinned and now I think high 60s and low 70s is cold. I swear I grew up on the east coast and know what REAL cold is.

51. I do not miss the snow.

52. I take that back...I miss the first couple hours of snow: the slush, dirty, brown, nastiness that snow turns into after it first hits the ground, that's what I don't miss.

53. I was on a bowling league with my mom when I was in grad school (I have my own shoes and ball)

54. I've bowled a 200 before (probably can't get close to that now)

55. I used to play baseball and softball

56. I was a cheerleader in elementary school (gasp!)

57. I also took dance, tap and ballet when I was super little (not evidenced by my killer moves on the dance floor now).

58. I also did synchronized swimming for a year before competitive swimming

59. When I started swimming for real, I was so excited I said, "I can't believe they swim back and forth and back and forth in the pool, this is so fuN!!"

60. RED WINE over white

61. One of my favorite trips was a girlfriends trip to Napa

62. We need to make these happen more often, but babies and distance make it tough. thank goodness for texting and email.

63. I want to run Boston at some point.

64. I have a whole lot of first cousins 35, I think.

65. That's embarrassing that I'm unsure 

66. I just learned where my name came from..kind of!

67. My grandmother's name was Electa, when she was little, they called her Lectie (I knew that).

68. Her father was a member of the free mason's and their symbol or something that has to do with the group is a 6-pointed star and one of the points on the star is called Electa, so that's where my Grandmother's name came from and then my name came from hers.

69. I'm hesitant to push the publish button.

70. I really enjoy reading and have been in to non-fiction lately...just read "The Boys in the Boat," highly recommend it.

71. I'm now reading "Wild:From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail"

72. I spend way too much time on my phone

73. I like reading blogs and social networking, social media and feel like I know so many people out there in blogland...creepy? Not sure,but it's fun to have a "connection" to what's going on out there in the triathlon world.

74. I love cooking and sometimes wish I would have gone to culinary school.

75. A cooking class would be super fun. There are cooking classes that happen at one of the community colleges here and I WILL go to one of them sometime.

76. LOVE farmers markets. Have started going much more this year and how much better is fresh, local produce than what you get at the grocery store?

77. Kombucha...I'm addicted and I need a mother...anyone in Hawaii have one so I can start to make my own.

78. I think making a cookbook would be fun, but I would have a hard time writing actual recipes

79. I don't bake.

80, This is kind of fun, but a little scary at the same time

81. I hate having dirty dishes in the sink

82. I enjoy a good tequila (I blame this on my mom)

83. The first time I saw the ocean I was 16 (lakes and rivers growing up)

84. I used to be scared of the ocean. Now, big waves are intimidating, but I will go swim if there are waves and the choppier, the better.

85. I lifeguarded all through high school and some of college

86, I was a "cart girl" at a golf course a few summers in college

87. I get seasick (most of the time, not all the time)

88. I get airsick (not on commercial flights, but on little flights and glider planes, whoops)

89. I want to go in a hot air balloon, but not sure if that's the greatest idea

90. I would love to get my Scuba cert

91. Someday soon, I want to do 100x100, but need a friend to do it with

92. The longest I've ever swam was 7.5 miles and it was on accident

93. I want to see the Northern Lights

94. I've been to almost all 50 states, 11 to go (most in the mid-west)

95. I hate not being organized or having a messy desk/work area

96. I like making lists, and lists on paper. Crossing out what is done is so satisfying.

97. Paper calendars/planners are still in my life (I can't get used to electronic schedules)

98. I love sleep and am in bed pretty early most nights (read 9pm)

99. I'm much better about icing and stretching and taking care of my self in this past year than I have been in the past. Being a swimmer, I never really stretched, rolled or iced much (well I iced my knee), but that is something I've learned is a very valuable and important thing to keep up with

100. Family and friends are the most important things in life.

Welp, that wasn't terrible, but hitting publish is taking me a while....I challenge you to try this! It's not as easy as it seems!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sharon's Ride

Yesterday was the 12th Anniversary of Sharon's Ride. This ride serves as a memorial to Sharon Rosenfield, nurse and teacher who was killed during a cross country bicycle ride in 1993. She was deeply involved in supporting epilepsy and epilepsy patients. 
"Sharon's Ride Run Walk for Epilepsy was started in 1996 in St. Louis, Missouri by Dr. William Rosenfeld and Dr. Susan Lippmann, neurologists who specialize in epilepsy and who created the event to honor the memory of Dr. Rosenfeld's sister. Sharon's Ride takes place at 7 sites across the country, Honolulu being one of them."
It was wet, it was rainy, it was chilly, it was hot, it was sunny, it was windy, it was a quick 100k AND it was a great morning spent with friends who like to ride bikes. AND I got to try out my fancy new aero helmet that Aaron got me for Christmas. It was comfy and warm, great for a colder day here in Hawai'i. Everyone thinks he looks like RoboCop in his, so I suppose now there will be two RoboCops out there riding bikes. 

Not a whole lot to say about this...pretty much the same as last year...hold on for as long as possible then ride strong and hard the rest of the way. I held on for a shorter amount of time this go around, but I ended up with a faster and more consistent ride this year when compared to last (I know conditions can dictate pace and time so I shouldn't look at time as a predictor of fitness). Even though I wasn't able to stay with the big boys (and Michelle, and Chiyo) for very long, I do think I had a better, stronger, steadier ride this year.

A big, huge thanks to Michelle for hanging out at the top of Makapu'u and waiting for me because without her, it would have been a very lonely, windy sufferfest out there on my own. We were able to ride the rest of the time together trading pulls and pulling a whole bunch of boys around the island. No shame there, seems quite typical for this ride. If you can't hang with the big boys, the next group just lets you pull them around (after they skip one of the loops for a snack break and hop on to catch your draft). We prefered it that way though, pulling and setting the pace rather than drafting and getting an easy ride. On the last climb we dropped them all and rode to the finish strong, together. Better watch out for this girl come June and Haleakala.

If you're up for a fun, fast, police escorted (if you can hand with the lead boys), supported ride, this is one you should for sure check out. A great event, for a great cause....until next year.....