|A view of the water and Molokai from somewhere in Napili - sweet backdrop for a ride!|
I got a later start than usual and was on the road by 9:45 headed to Paia. I had mapped out my ride the night before so I had a plan for about 85 miles, which would take me across a lot of the island on a (mostly) flat route.
The trades were already picking up so I had a little bit of a headwind out to Paia, but nothing too harsh. I turned around and headed back toward town, around the harbor and up to Waiehu - by then I was one hour in and things were going well! I cruised across the base of the West Maui's toward Lahaina and tackled the Pali - it's not that big of a deal, but I've never ridden it by myself. I'm a firm believer in safety in numbers and this stretch of road can be a little sketchy at times. I just prayed everyone was paying attention.
I hit Oluwalu at about 2~ in, so I stopped to refill water and have a snack (mmmm....Amrita bars!) at the general store. This is the first time I've ever taken my bike into a store - felt a little silly, but it was getting HOT and no one seemed to mind. Back on the road, through Lahaina (where I veered off for a pit stop and took my bike into the bathroom with me - I have it on good authority that I'm not the only cyclist who does this!) and out to Napili. As soon as I got back out on the road, my Garmin died. Not enough charge. D'oh!
Once I passed Ka'anapali, I hit the tradewinds that wrap around the west side head-on. It was HOT and that's when the mental chatter began. I told myself I could turn around at Kahana, but then I got to Kahana and kept going (really missing my buddies, POG and V, by then - POG usually pulls us through this section when the wind gets tough). By the time I turned around at Napili, I had convinced myself that I was going to stop at McDonald's and get a vanilla cone and a Coke! After all, I deserved it! It was HOT, mid-day and it was going to taste AMAZING! (If you know me at all you know this is crazy talk!)
I passed the Kahana McDonald's because I was on a downhill stretch, telling myself I would stop in Lahaina and spending the next few miles trying to figure out how I was going to manage this on my bike. Would I go IN with my bike? Drive-thru? As I passed Ka'anapali I ran over a bit of tree debris in the shoulder, then THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. Something was stuck in my tire. The bike shop was up ahead and if I needed anything I could stop there. I caught a red light just after, and as soon as I tried to take off - ha ha (insert sound from Simpson's kid here) - flat front tire. Nice little kiawe thorn about the size of a thumbtack - the bane of cyclists on Maui.
This is the second ever flat tire I've gotten, and the first one I had to change by myself so I was a little panicked at first, but I set to it and was done in about 10 minutes. NICE! I stopped at West Maui Cycles and they were awesome - checked to make sure I did it right (because I still had a ways to go before I got home), checked my air pressure, then picked up a spare tube and C02 because I only carry one spare.
After this, McDonald's was completely forgotten. Nutrition wise everything went rather well - I had water, diluted coconut water, salt stick caps, Amrita bars, a couple of Justin's almond butter packets and a banana for backup. Right near the end, with about 12 miles to go I really got tired of anything sweet - I think I'll throw in some salted macadamia nuts for next time - they would have been perfect.
I battled the last of the headwinds after I came back over the pali. I had to take it slower than usual over the pali because the crosswinds coming down through the canyons and ravines were fierce and I almost lost it a couple of times. I guessed the trade I hit head-on on the last few miles were in the 30mph range. Slow. Going.
I'm proud of myself for doing it, but after the flat, the stops, and the headwinds I was out there for 7.5 hours. That's a long freakin' time, midday, in Hawaii, near summer. And I have the burn lines to prove it (even though I was wearing sunscreen):