Monday, September 20, 2010


I'll come right out and say it: I don't like crosswind while I'm on the bike. In fact, it plain just scares when I'm going downhill.

This past weekend was my peak weekend. My longest ride and run leading up to Ironman. I'm not sure I'm doing my training correctly but that's what I did last year and it seemed to work. Saturday was a 120-mile bike ride. From my house to Kawaihae, about 35 miles, then start climbing for about 40 miles. 18 miles from Kawaihae to Hawi, take a right and keep climbing another 20 or so to the summit of Kohala Mountain Road just above Waimea. Then you have a steep and very windy descent for about 7 miles into Waimea and another long descent to Kona some 40 miles away, depending which way you decide to ride.

(The elevation profile for my 120-mile ride. The big hump in the middle is Kohala Mountain Road)

Did I mention the wind? Out of the 120 miles I rode Saturday, about 100 miles of it was either into a strong headwind or a crosswind. On the climb past Hawi to the summit it was mostly a strong, and very loud headwind. The wind blowing through the trees would howl so loudly I couldn't even hear my iPod on full blast.

(The first elevation sign appears. The summit is at about 3,600 feet. I had planned on taking photos of all of the elevations signs as I came to them but it became so windy I couldn't ride with one hand and I didn't want to stop.)

And when I reached the treeline at the summit the wind had turned into a shrieking, howling, incredible crosswind making it extremely difficult to stay on my bike. Stopping to take photos I could barely stand up. I was so tempted to get off my bike and hitchhike down to Waimea, but the wind was blowing too hard to take a hand off the bars to stick out my thumb.

Besides, I figured, what doesn't kill you, only makes you think you're going to die, so I made my way -- very slowly -- along. Scary. I've never been on a bike in that much wind before, let alone trying to ride down a narrow mountain road dodging traffic and wind gusts. I kept wondering if they ever have to ride in this kind of wind in the Alps or Pyrenees mountains during the Tour de France.

(View from the top. I nearly lost my cell phone taking this photo, the wind almost blew it out of my hands.)

By the time I rolled off the mountains my hands were so cramped from holding the brakes and my arms were so tired from trying to hold onto my bike I had to stop for a few minutes to rest up. The funny thing is my legs felt pretty fresh and that was after about 80 miles of riding.

I don't think I'll ever ride over Kohala Mountains Road again. It's not that it is that hard of a ride -- 30 or 40 miles up hill -- but the wind is just too much for me. The ride was spectacular though. Horses, cows, lot's of pine trees. It looked a lot like Eastern Oregon to me.

On second thought, I may make my way back up that mountain. Only next time I'm leaving the bike at home and running the thing. That'd be great! I bet I'd reach the summit faster than I biked it.

(Heading to the summit above the tree line.)

1 comment:

Debbie said...

WOW , is that sign in your photo bending from the wind?. That must have been some long bike ride. How long does something like that take? Did you feel a little like the wicked witch on her bike in the tornado, Be careful out there. That all sounds so scary.


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