This is one ride I’ve always want to do, but have never done.
The road around the island starts on the North Shore and ends on the West Side. There is a 13 mile gap, the Famed Na Pali coast, where we have no road, so we can not ride all the way around the island. From end to end the distance is approximately 75 miles, depend on a couple minor options along the way.
It wasn’t mileage that prevented me from doing this. It was logistics. Have someone drop me off and pick me up? Find a partner, drop a car at one end, drive to the other and ride back to the first car? Round trip? I feel like now I could do the 150 miles, but there are a couple factors to consider- Start North and head west first? That means going home from west after 75 miles of riding, and facing a majority of the climbing, plus headwinds all the way.
Start from west and fight the winds and climbs at full strength? After getting to the north end heading back, it’s tail winds. And cooler. MUCH cooler. And a lot less climbing, BUT some of the steepest climbs.
So, this past Sunday, there was a group ride planned for “End to End” (N to W) with a note about the ride to “have someone drop you off and pick you up” I just didn’t have it in me to ask any of my friends to get up at 0530 to drive 60 miles so I could ride a bike and/or drive 90 miles during peak traffic to pick me up.
So, I started thinking of options. (I live almost middle of the route: 30 miles from N end, 44 miles from W end)
1. Get up at 0430 and ride to the north shore, then ride west, then ride home. I did NOT like this option, as it would have me facing the most climbing, and battling headwinds during the hottest part of the day on the hottest part of the island.
2. Start riding after work at midnight, and go west first, so I could fight the wind and climbs when I had a lot of strength still, and could beat the heat, and be on the northern route as the sun rises. This wasn’t real appealing either.
3. Bag on the end to end idea and ride north at 0430 and ride with the group back home. I would have roughly the same mileage this way. But why get up at 0400 to ride part way with them when I can just:
4. Get up at a decent hour on a Sunday morning and jump in with the group as they pass by my house and ride South with them on the way to west, which just happens to be one of my favorite rides.
So now that the choice seemed obvious, at midnight ( I got off work at 11:00 pm and still had to put a rear tire on my bike and a few other preparations) I instead ruled out 1 and 2, set an alarm for 0400 and decided I would chose then. Either get up and go with three, or go back to sleep and go with four.
Fast forward to 4 am: alarm goes of. I feel OK. Not not RAH RAH RAH LETS GO, but not groggy either. So….I go for it. Ride to North Shore, meet up and ride home with the group. I won’t get end to end…at least not this time, but it will still be a good ride.
It was awesome riding north in the pre-dawn, and watching as the sun rose over the ocean to light up the ridges in the distance.
I felt great when I got there, considering the lack of sleep, and felt like the ride home would be great as well. The I noticed I was the only one with hairy legs not on a carbon bike. OK…that’s not too bad…then I seen three of the riders I was going to be riding with. Ironmans (the athlete flavor-not the comic book variety).
Good thing I’m only riding back to Kapaa, I thought to myself.
But they intended to make it a fun ride for everyone, and had a couple regrouping points along the way for us a little less than superhuman types.
As the ride progressed, it splintered into three groups. Light Speed, mach speed and humans on a bicycle speed. I did a pretty good job of hanging with the mach speed group. Had them within sight most of the way. I only lost them hen we finally got to the last eight miles on the west side where it’s flat ground and tailwinds.
Last eight miles? West Side? What?!?!
I rode harder than I normally would have had I been by myself, and that was a good thing, as I haven’t been pushing myself enough on my solo rides. Since we had the regrouping points, and since I was mostly keeping pace, I decided to ride to South and turn around there and get a century in for the day, but one rider said they had room to bring me back if I wanted to go to the end. HUZZAH!!! End to End! YAY!!
I started fading on the last eight. Heat, and I was slipping on hydration and food as well. In the end, I finished with a 15.4mph avg, while the mach speed group I was barely hanging with manged a 16.4. The light speed guys were around 19-20.
When all was said and done, I had 108.9 miles, 5700 feet of climbing and 15.4 avg speed.
A great day on the bike!
A small follow up on this story. My bike was making a lot of noise on this ride. Creaking noises. Mostly when pedaling, which can indicate a bottom bracket. It started doing this a couple days ago, but got really bad on this ride, and started making noise even when I want pedaling. When I stood to pedal, cornering, leaning…I was suspecting a crak somewhere, and inspection at my LBS comfirmed. Fortunately, it is covered under warranty.