The Road to Hawi

Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Training

I’m not sure if it’s actually called this.  I know that in Maui, there is The Road to Hana, so I could be making this up, but in any event, the great Steve Kern and I drove to the turn off of the Queen K highway, parked the car near the Cement Factory, got out our bikes, and rode up to Hawi.  As expected, it was super windy and with a fair number of hills.  Steve and I road apart from one another so that neither of us would benefit from drafting off of each other… to better simulate real race conditions.  With about 6.5 miles to go, the climb began and at times, the headwind was so strong that I was barely able to hold 10 mph.  The crosswinds didn’t feel particularly severe, but perhaps that was because of the slow rate of climb.  The climbs really weren’t that hard.  I’ve climbed much harder hills on Route 9W and in Lake Placid.

Once at the top of the climb, we found a little cafe with a few other cyclists there, chatted a bit, took stock of what we had just done, then set out on the return trip back.  Here’s a pic of us at that point:

At the top of Hawi

On the ride back, I hit 45 mph and loved the speed of zooming downhill, but then came the crosswinds.  At times they were moderate, but the first surprise side gust scared the bejesus out of me, and I definitely held back thereafter.  Another strong surprise gust nearly sent me into the lava fields, so I was fairly white-knuckled for a fair portion.  Finally, the downhill section ended and we came upon 11-12 miles of rolling hills that were manageable.  Way off to our right were amazing vistas of the ocean, cliffs, lava fields, vegetation, and a few vacation spots.  Just stunning.

Once we returned to the car, we saw a couple of athletes in the next car over from ours and unbelievably, we realized that we knew them!  Steve and I met at Ironman Brazil in 2008, and lo and behold, in the car was another friend we made there named Monica, and her friend (I’m assuming boyfriend, but I could be wrong) Oliver.  Oliver clearly qualified for this event, so kudos to him.  We expect to really not see him on race day except for maybe the start.

All in all, it was a great day capped off by seeing the first group of my friends who arrived at our house.  Among them are Angie, her sister Allison, Cindy, and Karen S.  They are fantastic people and I am so honored to have them here cheering for me.  Everything changes hereinafter.  With four more friends arriving tomorrow (oh, and our friend Leah later this evening), I will be in a sea of smiling, supportive, loving faces.  What more can a person ask for.



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