Friday, July 3, 2015

Climbing THE BEAST

The past few years, Aaron has gone over to Maui at the end of June to race, "Cycle to the Sun." And every year he's come back and said I should go over next year to do the race. Well, this year, I decided it was time!
Cycle to the Sun is a bike race on Maui that starts in the little tourist town of Paia, climbs 10,023ft., over 36 miles, up Haleakala, the world's longest paved climb.
I didn't really know what to expect from the race, other than it was going to be hard.  I hadn't done any specific Haleakala training, but I hadn't been sitting around on my butt either. I'd only been up the mountain once before, back in March with our BOCA group and that was more of a celebration of the end of cycling clinic, it most definitely was not a race. The weather race morning was perfect (unlike our conditions in March). You could actually see the top of the mountain and that's always a good sign. There wasn't a lot of wind, the sun was out, the skies were clear and the heat wasn't terrible. When the race started, I was going to race my own race, not get caught up in the group and enjoy the day!

Well, as we were lining up to start the race, I somehow ended up in the front row, excellent, just what I had planned (NOT!), I was on my TT bike too (I would do this race again on that bike, great decision and I don't think it hindered me at all, I love my new bike and it climbs like a champ!), not ideal for a mass start, but I was stuck so I just rolled with it, the starter yelled, "GO!" and we were off. I pulled over to the side a bit so I wouldn't get in the way of all the lead guys and just started to settle in. I kept the lead group in my sites for a while, but I just wanted to ride how I felt and be strong and consistent the whole time, so they were out of site before Makawao.

The first few thousand feet were uneventful, I rode with Sau and company and we were chatting away, pedaling up the mountain. At about 3000ft (I think), I decided to start pushing a little bit more and left the group, from then on, I was riding by myself. It's beautiful up on that mountain, the time goes by quickly as you are pedaling and watching the scenery. Climbing, climbing, climbing. I'm not sure when, but at some point, I passed Brown Sugar...I knew he was wanting to ride around 3:30 so I had to be in pretty good shape at that point to have a solid ride.

The miles kept ticking away, I was just riding solid enjoying my time on the mountain. Right around 8000ft I started to see more and more people, up in the distance, I don't know if it's the altitude (which doesn't seem to effect me, so far anyways) or my endurance training that had me passing people, but this made the 1000ft from 8000 to 9000 go by pretty fast. Once I hit 9000 feet, I was over the ride already, that last 1000 takes FOR-EV-ER. But I just kept keeping on. Finally you make the final turn and the last 200? or so yards is so steep, into a headwind and you are just ready to be done, that when you see the finish line, it is a sight for sore eyes!  I ended the day in 3:28, so with no expectations and just wanting to have a fun day out there, I'm super happy with my result!
It was a great day up there on the mountain and I'm excited to do this race again!
 Great job to everyone who was out there racing, epic day on top of Haleakala!
top 4 out of the top 5 ladies (1st place not pictured)

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