we had set the boundaries for beginning and end of day rituals. today was the first day.
6am – wake up and get ready
7am – breakfast is ready/pack your lunch
8am – you should be riding or leaving to ride
lunch anytime you want
4pm – dinner should be started
5pm – dinner is ready
715pm – map meeting
without knowing how things would pan out for speed, others on the tour, and really not sure of what to expect for the terrain we left a few minutes early. it isn’t that we didn’t know what to expect, we had maps, elevation maps, route maps, scenery maps, all sorts of maps. i’ve got maps for days. they were there to help. during our orientation yesterday, we had the first map meeting to go over any changes in the route or road changes. these are also scheduled for every evening after dinner. i didn’t think there would be to many changes, but the roads are changing here all the time.
the first five and a half miles were along the western coast, spanning from kona to keauhou. nice, flat, sea level riding. then the first climbing began. it started with a steep incline, probably close to 12 degrees. i don’t think anyone expected it. almost a mile up, there was a scenic point that we pulled off into. it was a great first stop for water and to catch our breath. as much as we thought we would be ready, it seemed like this was going to be tougher than we expected. while resting, we had three others show up that had the same things in mind. not wanting to be off the bicycles for too long, we finished our moment of rest and got right back into it. only about six more miles of climbing for this half of the ride.
the scenery was amazing. really just breathtaking. i knew it was going to be beautiful, though i guess i didn’t expect this much. after eighteen miles of riding we decided to stop at the paleaku botanical gardens. it was originally going to be a quick stop, just for water and shade. it was getting hot. very humid as well. when we rode into the parking lot and leaned our bicycles along the fence, a woman walked out and said to bring them in and put them in the courtyard where she could see them. then we saw the sign for coffee. mmmm coffee. this has got to be the best coffee in all of hawaii. it was made by a company called kona lisa. it was also their macadamia nut flavor. if you get the chance to either try it on the big island or order it online, take this chance to sip and enjoy it(not a sponsor). after a couple of calls and the coffee, it was time to go again. on the way up to the road, we saw a few cyclists pass the entrance. we had sat long enough for most of them to pass us.
there were a few other noteworthy sights along the side of the road where the people that had passed us went. we thought we’d continue on. we started coming up to an intersection that i knew we had notes about from the map meeting. there was also construction on this intersection. we stopped in front of one of the trucks and asked where the road was we were looking for. it was straight ahead. the truck we pulled up in front of had blocked our view of the road ahead.
five miles later of a primarily downhill ride with beautiful scenery and then it was time to turn off to go to the beach. we were warned about this hill. it was two miles down, rough pavement, potholes, and curves. our bicycles fully loaded wouldn’t make the decent any easier. by the end of it, i thought for sure we would have to find a bike shop to get new brake pads by the end of the tour. we ended up being the first to arrive at the camp. it was a pleasant surprise.
slowly others started to arrive, setting up camp and then getting ready for dinner. at dinner we learned one of the people on the tour wouldn’t be continuing. an old injury she had was irritating her. we all said our goodbyes and then promptly went to sleep. as relaxing as the sound of the waves were, the sound of the frogs was much louder. somewhere there were earplugs they had given us at the orientation.
sera & jaik @ ho’okena beach