14 March 2011

training-ride Molokai

5 Time
of Day
9:00 AM
Breakfast 5:15 AM – cereal
Workout Food 2 large bottles each w/3 scoops Perpetuem, Pop Tarts, Gatorade, water, root chips
Workout Type  
Weather low to upper 80s, sun, wind
Course Molokai, HI
Equipment Road Bike
39/53, 12-25
Clothing bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt, sleeveless jersey

Today was extra credit! Last year I heard Donnie A talk about this island off the coats of Maui and how the riding over there was pretty good so I suggested we go and Greg A and Dean J were up for it. Yes!

I didn't know it but Dean was feeling les than stellar but in true form he gamely tried to come along anyway.

We drove to Lahaina and caught the 7:15 ferry to Molokai. The boat ride took about 1:45.

By the time we got there Dean must have already been feeling like crap but we started off heading east to our first destination as I was still not aware of just how bad he felt. There was a stiff headwind all the way which did not help Dean out any... he stopped pulling but still was having trouble. At mile 16 there is a mini grocery store/sandwich shop and he pulled the plug here and told us he was just going to rest until we returned. Rats.

So Greg and I carried on. Around mile 20 the road got more interesting. Up to this point was just flat, windy and had it not been 80 and sunny it would have been a pretty gross ride. Now the road started twisting and turning along the sea shore and we got to ride over some tiny bridges and the width shrunk pretty dramatically as well. Fun stuff.

Around mile 22 the road started to climb and it climbed all the way to mile 25. The surface was perfect and it continued to twist and turn so I was already looking forward to the descent. On this climb we met a buy from OR who was also heading up the hill so we slowed and talked all the way to the top. This guy from OR told us that from here it was two miles down to the park at the end of the road and that it was 18 percent! "First gear triple steep" is what he called actually. Well, this is what we came for so Greg and I forged ahead. OR dude stayed where he was.

We started down a steep hill (not 18 percent) and after rounding two turns the road tipped up... a lot. As we're laboring and sweating we were wondering just when this 'descent' was going to get easy. It took about half a mile. And oh my god was it spectacular.

The road surface was still perfect asphalt. There was some debris in places but no big deal. On the downhill side there was a two foot high rock wall and there was no center line. The road made some TIGHT turns but it was no problem as we were going really slow trying to enjoy the view while not riding off of the cliff. I felt like I was in Vietnam. We were descending into this deep canyon, lush with jungle foliage and a 500' water fall at one end and an idyllic lagoon at the other. There were a few bamboo(?) huts partially hidden in the hills and that was it. At the bottom is a tiny church, a toilet, no potable water and a dirt road. So cool. Then we started back up. Slightly less cool.

Honestly the first mile was not so bad, it was only about 6-8% but the second mile was mostly 12% with pitches of 16% and 17%. Ouch. At the top we met OR dude and descended back to the ocean. Once we finished the descent here is what that twisty road along the shore looked like.

Did I mention the headwind coming out? Hello tailwind coming home! In short order we had dropped OR dude and then we pulled up to the store that Dean was still sitting at... poor guy. We picked him up, connected with OR dude again, dropped OR dude again but then had to slow as Dean was NOT feeling so hot. Still. No worries, we took it easy into town where it was time for a snacks and drinks. Dean elected to find a shady spot to feel miserable in (there is only one boat going home so he unfortunately had to wait) and Greg and I took off on our second loop.

This time we headed west and climbed up to the top of the northern cliff that overlooks the ocean and the former location of a leper colony. The path down to the lookout was paved so we rode it. It was so cool I filmed it going back up.

By now Greg and I were SO done with riding. And climbing. And the heat. We rolled down the hill, soldered through the last three miles of headwind and then somehow found the energy to sprint for the city limit sign. :) Greg won.

We grabbed Dean and got some pizza and beer and had a feast under the shelter of a canoe club awning down by the water. On the ferry ride home the winds were much stronger than in the AM and the boat was pitching quite a bit. Dean was leaning over the railing most of the ride back to Maui. I was sitting on the top deck and frequently got splashed by spray which put a nice salt crust on all my clothing, my shoes, my helmet, you name it. On the up side we also saw tons of humpback whales! I have never seen any whales in the wild before and here they were frolicking and breaching and slapping the water – amazing.

Here are all the pictures and video.

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