Cycling (the Top Part) of the West Maui Loop

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Day 2 in Maui!

We arrived yesterday around 4pm and made our way to Paumana on the south edge of Lahania after a pit stop at Quizno’s, the quintessential Hawaiian lunch stop :). (Note: our condo’s bikes leave something to be desired.)

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While Chelsea and her mom hit up Costco I frantically called around trying to figure out what we’d do for the week. With light winds kiteboarding is not in the cards for the next few days so this morning after dropping off Chelsea’s brother and dad at the golf course I figured today might be a good day to rent a bike.

We stopped by West Maui Cycles which was recommended by the Maui Exposed guide book (we highly recommend this book if you’re going to Maui!) and I tried to feel them out on mountain biking versus road biking. They strongly recommended road biking as it has been raining recently and the two mountain bike areas are clay and when things get wet, the clay gets very sticky.

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Sounded reasonable so I rented a Specialized Roubaix Comp Compact Rival for $60 for one day. A much nicer bike than my Specialized Allez Elite Triple! To be honest, I’ve been eyeing upgrading to a Specialized Roubaix, so I was excited to rent one. While I had pulled the pedals of Chelsea’s bike (mine were immovable) they had Shimano SPD-SLs so all I needed was shoes and kit. Though I did have to shell out $8 for water bottles :).

They recommended the West Maui Loop. 60 miles, “4000 feet of climbing”, counter clockwise. Sounds good! Off I went.

Now, two years ago when we drove the West Maui Loop I never would have imagined that I’d be able to bike this road. Since then though, I rode the Whistler Gran Fondo, training for which has put a little experience under my belt.

The ride was awesome. But seriously kicked my ass since I haven’t been on a bike in months. The road for the first half was nicely paved and easy going with a shoulder. The second half is in rough shape and for most of it is only one lane. I was very glad to have a nice bike like a Roubaix, but my arms and legs still took a beating. The killer part was the constant up and down required for every curve in the road, culminating in a huge uphill at the end (that I was not expecting!)

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I also wasn’t prepared for the elevation gain. While they said 4000 feet of climbing, Google Maps is saying for the section I did it was 5800 feet! And had I done the full loop it is reporting it as 6600 feet!

Now towards the end of my ride I caught up with a rider from California. She asked if I had biked up Haleakala yet (the volcano on Maui). No, I hadn’t, it is 10,000 feet of climbing! Turns out she rode it on Saturday and said that if I was able to catch her, I’d probably fair just fine. Hmmmm… Competitive juices start flowing… Back at the bike shop, as I was returning my bike this evening, I asked about riding up and what gear I’d need since I left all my cold weather cycling gear in Seattle. The shop guy looked at me like I was crazy. “No one rides up it.” Well, it is possible right? “You’d need arm warmers, leg warmers, rain gear,…” No problem, you sell that right? “No. You’ll have a hard time getting that on the island.” Hmmm… “The weather isn’t looking good for the next few days. I wouldn’t recommend it.”

Well, I guess we’ll see if I do it. Seeing as how I banged out 6600 feet of vertical, 10,000 feet isn’t that far off :). But I don’t have any warmers. But I do have a North Face soft shell I could stuff in a pocket… Maybe this trip I should do the Haleakala downhill and opt to the uphill on a subsequent trip… For next time this post looks like a good primer on doing the rider..

Anyhow, tomorrow is scuba day assuming this light cold goes away.

Check out all my photos from the ride. A few are crooked since I didn’t stop to take them. And some have the “sweat” filter turned on :).

Update: Guess bike store guy was right about the weather. It snowed on Halekala at 10,000 ft closing the road for 6 hours. Sounds like last time it snowed was ’08 and ’06.

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5 Responses to Cycling (the Top Part) of the West Maui Loop

  1. Rob says:

    Amazon Prime, you’ll have that cycling gear there by Thursday at the latest.

  2. Matt Goyer says:

    Want to grab my gear and FedEx it? Did you do it when you were here? :)

  3. David Zaveski says:

    I did the same ride only from the airport to Lahiana. I thought it was one of the best rides I have ever ridden. So amazing. Love the farmstands. I stopped in and purchased a pinapple. They cut it up and put it in a zip lock for me. Very friendly people. I only wish I had brought more water. I had two bottles (yes they were expensive at West Maui Cycles) which is usually enough for what turned out to be a 40 mile ride for me. With all the hill climbing and not 7-11s along the way I could have used more water.

  4. David Zaveski says:

    Oh yeah, I was only a couple of weeks behind you. I went on Feb 15th.

  5. Mark Richardson says:

    Matt – Very interested in “doing” this ride in November. We’ll be there with my wifes beloved Butler Bulldogs for the Maui Invitational. Kind of hard to simulate the elevation changes here in Indiana. Where do you live and how did you train? We will be staying in the Kapalua area. Did you ever ride thru the valley from the airport to the west side? I want to do the full 60 mile loop, but also want to be realistic with my expectations given we have no real elevation to speak of here. Thanks!

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