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End to End. 29 June 2014

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.




Kokee/P2M January

Another month, another test in Kokee.

I was a little worried about this one.I hadn’t been getting the training in that I should have been, weight is up a bit, and it’s been a hectic, crazed few weeks of not getting proper rest.

In all of my tests prior to this one, month after month has been a new PR. I was afraid I would not hit it this month. In fact, I was even having doubts about riding all the way to the top today.

I didn’t get as much sleep as I wanted the night before, so the plan was just do the test portion, then ride back down to flat ground for 3 hours of endurance riding.

It was also raining when I left the house, and it would be possible it would be raining at the upper levels of Kokee. And in the winter, that makes for a miserable ride, even for Hawaii.

When i got to the west side, it was bright and sunny. No clouds over Kokee, and it was dry. And as a bonus, nice an cool. Low 60s.

I felt pretty well rested, I did my warmup riding and then headed up the mountain for the test. I kept waiting to fade, but it never happened. The “test” is 30 minutes of riding at anaerobic/threshold level. Each month, the distance I have covered has been increasing, and today was no exception. Not only was it an increased distance, but the rest of the numbers were the best they’ve been as ell, cadence, HR…

Just as hit the 30 minute mark, I seen a couple on bikes just ahead. I stopped, hoping they didn’t see me, as needed a break at this point, and I didn’t want to stop where they were, not being able to breath or talk. I also didn’t want them to see me turning around.

BUT….they seen me. They cam to check on me even, as I was sitting on he side of the road to catch my breath and recover. They had packs on one bike, and pulling a trailer with the other. Insane. Especially considering the first half of Kokee has 5, 7 and even 9% grades. There was no way I could turn around now. We chatted a bit, and I decided to go the halfway point before turning around. There is an alternate way up part of Kokee, and the junction where the two roads up meet is at this halfway point, so I had a back door to escape through.

I got to the halfway point, and figured I would keep going. About 200 feet past that, I turned around. Got to the junction and was about to take the back way down, when I started thing about the couple with the packs and trailer. At this point there was only one way to go.


So I did. And I am glad I did it too. I felt great all the way up. There was no reason for me to turn around. It was all mental that I felt I needed too.

Rather than push for a PR as I have in all previous rides though, I decided to actually stick with the training plan this time and ride at endurance pace rather than charging it. This way I would have an excuse for not hitting the PR

At the top, my time was slower than my December run, but faster than my November run. Considering I did not ride as hard, and that I did a couple hundred feet down and then back up again, I would have to say today’s ride was a success.

The ride down was a blast, and when I got to flat ground, I did another hour and a half endurance riding. Rode out to the end of the road on the west side, where it might rain four days a year. And wouldn’t you know, today was one of those four days. I also got caught in a small shower band on the way down Kokee from about 3000 feet to 2000 feet. Nothing surprising about that, though, considering the weather when I left. Everything was ON today. Cadence and HR were great for this last segment, the test was great, the rest of the ride up was great, my avg speed was 1.5 to 2+ mph better than it has been. Even the rain was refreshing, and I think I may have more fun riding up than I did riding down today.

A great day on the bike today. Even without the PR.

Dead End West

December 24, 2013

In the last six weeks, I missed more training rides than I have gotten in, and I took a step back as a result. This should have been an easy ride.

It started out simple enough. In the dark to catch the sunrise. The rain had stopped, but the roads were still wet.

And so went the first third of the ride. It seemed the rain was 5 minutes ahead of all morning. I got one flat. Had to stop in wet grass and deal with road grimy tire to fix it. In fact, the whole bike was a mess. I looked more like I had been mountain biking than road riding.

I was also having shifting issues. Bike is near that point of needing a tune up, and the road grime in the derailleurs wasn’t helping.

By the time I got to the west side, the hottest sunniest dry side of the island, the sun came out. And it was also getting to be the naturally hottest part of the day. And it got blazingly hot. That wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for steady winds of 20+ and gusts of 30 making me work harder than I had to. I stopped at a beach park at one point to stick my head under a shower to cool off.

And my legs…they were not ready for this at all. From 75-90 miles, I had to stop several times to give then a break. The best part? On a 3 mile steady climb, the wind was blowing straight down the road. I’ve gone 12-15 mph on this climb before. I was to reduced to 4 mph a few times, and probably averaged 6 mph up the hill.

And when I got to the top, it was a right turn. No more headwind!!! Yay!!! Now I just kept getting pushed off the road and into the grass for about 5 miles, until I encountered some nice hilly sections to shield me from the wind.

At about 90 miles, I was far enough back on the east side that heat was gone, and that was a huge improvement in how I was feeling. I was feeling mostly alive again, but my legs were ready to just stop. Got home 9h 25m 7s later with 102 miles and a 13.8 mph avg. Actual moving time was 7:17:52. Two plus hours of non moving time is ridiculous. Should have been about 20 minutes. And even the moving time was terrible. Should have been around 6:30 and over 15 mph for the miles I had.

But I did do something I have been wanting to do forever. Ride from home to the end of the road west.  Rode to the end before, but it’s always been starting from a west side location.

My Bike Bucket List

The top three:
Furnace Creek 508
Race Around Slovenia
No Country for Old Men

And the rest in no particular order:
Fireweed 400
HooDoo 500
Cross Vegas
Death Ride
Race Across the West
Leadville 100
Adirondack 540
Race Around Slovenia
Race Across Oregon
Henry-2-Hoffbrauhaus (sp) 2014
Honolulu Century
Hawaii, Arizona, Pennsylvania UMCA cross state records.

More to follow…

P2M Day After Group Ride

This was another ride I didn’t really expect to make or plan on doing.

After yesterday’s effort I didn’t think I would be able to ride today, even though I knew I wanted to. I was going at least going to try and get a casual ten miler in.

I felt pretty good this morning though, and at 8:00, decided to ride down to HQ (Kauai Cycle) where the group ride was scheduled for 8:30.

When I got into the parking lot and seen the riders that were there, (about a dozen or so) I knew I was out of my league here with these guys.

Fortunately, the first 4 miles were along the bike path, so that limited our speed allowing me to remain with the pack.

That all changed when we got to the highway. I was able to keep up (barely) for the first mile.

My plan for the day was just see how far I could go. I told them not to worry about me, don’t wait for me…I would most likely turn around before Anahola ( 6 miles?) but most definitely I would turn back at Mola’a Fruit Stand if (and that’s a big if ) I made it that far.

I didn’t really plan on going into Anahola because the climb back out just sucks. Not that it’s that bad of a climb, but even when I at my best, I always hated it.

I made it to the fruit stand (planned regrouping point). I wished them well on the rest of their ride, said my goodbyes and headed home, as they proceeded on to the North Shore- another 20 miles with far too much climbing.

When I got back to start point, I was just shy of 20 miles. And at this point, I was back on flat ground for the most part and I felt good enough to do a bit more riding. Ended up finishing the day with 30 miles.

It was nice to ride today. And nice to make gains.


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