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.)