today was the final day of the tour. we woke up and started getting all of the gear together. it was a slow start. inevitably, the tour was coming to a close. neither of us wanted it to stop, which is common when you are doing something you love with great company.
we met with the group one last time to have breakfast, make arrangements to pick up our luggage at the hotel and talk about the ride. everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing, wanting to ride forever.
the climb from spencer beach to akoni pule highway was about 15%. maybe it wasn’t, but it felt like it was. our bodies were sore, wore out and the gear seemed to be heavier. the good news came when we turned south and the wind was at our backs. a nice, consistent 20 mph tailwind. the long hills were easy and the sun was out, there wasn’t much to do aside from pedal and enjoy the ride.
after about ten miles, it was time for a break. there wasn’t much for water along the way, so we were excited to stop at the hilton minimal area and grab a coffee and fill the water. we rested in the overly maintained grass and slowly the rest of the group appeared with the same ideas to stop for coffee. this little area that hilton has created is basically a small village, to mimic the hawaiian experience. There are maintained crushed lava fields, palm trees everywhere and it feels fake. if you have the experience of enjoying the big island, it’s not worth stopping here unless you want a laugh of the “authentic hawaiian experience”. i’m sure they get plenty of business, but really, there are a lot more places worth visiting. ten minutes later, it was time to start riding again. the winds had shifted completely and it was now a 20mph headwind. to top it off, the heat had climbed significantly since sunrise and this part of the island was very dry. with the headwind, it didn’t feel as warm as it was, but our bodies needed much more water. there were only a few places along the way to stop for water, but they were a few miles off the road. we pushed on feeling the exhaustion and our water supply diminished. we reached northern kona after a few hours of hard pushing into the wind making a stop at a big box store to refill our waters, take a break and have lunch. it was a well deserved stop and we were happy to find shade, seats and cold water.
once rehydrated, we slowly made our way back to uncle billy’s, the same place we had been to roughly two weeks before at the beginning of our trip. we rested near the pool in the shade and talked with the other cyclists to see what their plans were for departure. our room was ready, so we moved our bicycles up, showered and then collected our baggage from the guide who had retrieved it from storage. the tour was officially over and everyone was ready to either relax or travel home.
sera and i walked around for a little while, grabbed a meal that was primarily deep fried and coconut crusted, as well as delicious. we had a few mai-tais that were a great compliment to the food. one of the guides reached out to us later on and asked if we were interested in grabbing dinner. though we had just eaten, we were more than happy to meet with everyone and have a few drinks to bring the evening and tour to a close.
last time for photos at spencer beach, not excited to end the tour.
southwestern view on the road to akoni pule highway.
western view on the road to akoni pule highway.
eastern view on the road to akoni pule highway.
northern view on queen ka’ahumanu highway
yes, the tailwind made us smile.
barely visible, spencer beach is down there.
it’s too hot. don’t’ take my picture.
fresh laundry, clean shower, relaxing on the balcony at uncle billy’s.
while we were walking around after lunch.
sunset from the bar with while we were grabbing drinks with the others on tour.