Sunday was my third time riding up Haleakala and it didn't disappoint. You never know what you're going to get in March. It could be clear, sunny skies, no wind and 70 degrees or it could be cloudy, rainy, wet and cold, cold, cold. Well, let's just say we lucked out this year and had almost perfect weather for our ascent.
The ride is actually quite nice, if you don't mind climbing up a mountain on your bike all morning. And any day you get to ride bikes is a good day in my book! It's a totally achievable ride, if you are prepared and have the right support. Thanks to all the BOCA support people, family, coaches and cars that were there for us, it would have been a much less enjoyable day without you all out there! Definitely a must do if you enjoy riding your bike in cool places.
You can break down the ride into 3 distinct sections and each of the sections should take about the same amount of time to complete, so it's nice palatable chunks instead of thinking you will just be going up, up, up ALLDAYLONG. The first section is from Paia town to Kula Lodge at about 3000ft. The second section is from Kula Lodge to the visitors center at 7000ft and the final section goes from the Visitors Center to the summit at 10,023ft! Making sure you have enough liquid and fuel before starting each of the sections is always a good idea. The most difficult section is definitely the middle portion of the climb, it's the steepest and seemingly takes the longest. But, after you pass the visitors center ($8 to get past on a bike) the final section flattens out quite a bit and you can kind of jam the rest of the way to the top.
The last quarter to third of a mile to the top is a doozy. This section is almost nicer when you can't see what's up in front of you. We had a beautiful day so you could see every steep section and sharp turn in the final push to the top! When you make the final turn to the summit the road gets extremely steep and you, well I, just want to get off my bike, but you are so close and have ridden almost the whole thing anyway but you just need to keep plugging along, get out of the saddle and press on, you're almost there!
The reward at the top is so worth it, especially when you worked for it and you didn't just ride in a car to get there!
I am beyond proud of this one ^ what a trooper, her first trip up Haleakala and she didn't give up, not once!!!
What a great day! 36 miles (well 42 from the hotel) from Sea-level to summit! And look at the sky!!!
Then came the descent. The weather started to turn, the clouds rolled in, the temperature was dropping, so we needed to bundle up to head back down the mountain (that might be a little dramatic, but it did get cold on the descent, I mean look at what I'm wearing!) #thinblood. I don't love descending, but I would rather descend than sit in a car, potentially get car sick and be back at the hotel in the same amount of time.