Saturday, 24 December 2011

Hawaii....FFT TDU and Cape Epic Training

With a family holiday planned for 10 days in Hawaii, I packed the travel bike for some training around Oahu. The weather was warm, around 21c at 6am and up to 28c during the day, however with it being winter, it was very windy and showery.

The bike travels well and takes me about 20 mins to put together. Nothing like Columbus steel, Dura Ace 7800 and a set of Bontrager Alloy wheels to make up a classic solid road bike weighing in at under 8kgs. With the bike all ready to go, all I had to do was struggle out of bed on the morning of day 1 and beat off the jetlag.

6am day 1, feeling like I have been hit over the head with a mallet, I struggle to get up. As it is the first day, and all the family want to get up and look around, I thought it wise to only go for a short ride to work my way into the island. There weren't too many routes on map my ride and the local bike shop said there weren't any organised rides so I did some local recco and decided to head south on an out and back run along the coast.

As I walked out of the hotel, the rain was pelting down and the wind howling. It wasn't cold, but it took me all my willpower to throw the leg over the crossbar and clip in rather than push the lift button back to room 2320! I was drenched in 10 seconds, however with it not being cold, thought I would press on. I got my bearings, ensured all the bolts were tight on the bike after assembling it and did a nice 40k ride. Day 2 with more time to look around, I thought I would do a ride over the mountains of central Oahu to Kailua via the Pila Highway and then swing home and come around the south western shoreline back to Waikaki. Distance 70k. However it was raining again, and not light till 7am. I wasnt game enough to ride a 13k climb on a highway without street lights in pouring rain on a road that doesnt see too many cyclists, so I headed South East around the coastline past the famous snorkelling spot of Hanauama Bay, on to the turnaround at Waimanalo Beach and back. I thought Maui was the windy island of Hawaii however Oahu is putting our a pretty good challenge! The headwind on the way out was brutal. Probably squalling to 50k an hour, averaging around 30k, I was head down with gritted teeth punching into the wind. Three climbs on the way out. I knew the going was tough when going up a gentle 5% incline just before the turnaround, I was doing 14k per hour and almost falling off the bike! However after the turnaround, I had the tailwind. All of a sudden I am doing 45-47k per hour an on the down slopes, over 60k. What took 1hr 10 mins out, took 50 mins coming back. I was flying, rolling the legs over in the 11 gear. It is a great feeling. Total ride 63k, in just under 2 hours.

Day 3,4,5 rides were the same route, and I was getting tired with the constant riding into the wind each morning. I want to go over the mountain pass, but wont risk it until it stops being wet in the morning. I can be dry on the beach and 5k up the road, a tropical downpour can be underway.

On Friday, I did the now "usual" ride however on the way home, about 8k from the finish back in Waikiki, I turned right to put a climb in as a challenge. I chose a tough little climb up Halekoa Drive. Have a look on Strava its profile. 3.4k with an average of 10%. Max gradient 21%. It is one of the toughest climbs I have done (the toughest was Mt Ventoux on FFT2008 in a howling wind). My legs were tired after a week of riding into the wind (and by to draft!). A quarter of the way up I thought "I'm not going to get up this". I was struggling with the 11/23 cluster on. Then I thought " 12 weeks you will have 9 days of struggle at the Cape Epic". That drove me for another 500m when doubt crept in again. Struggling in my mind for justification to get to the top, I thought "I'll just turn here, no one will know", then I thought, "hang on Strava doesnt lie!!" I couldnt hide! This gave me the motivation to struggle to the top. After 20 mins of climbing I got to the top. Over 500m over the top of Diamond Head and Waikiki. A spectacular view. After collecting my breath I turned back to the bottom, (as it is a dead end road). Without trying, I am hitting 70k per hour. The brakes arent too effective at that speed, and the first corner is at least 35%. Shit, I am going to miss this corner....mild panic sets in. Squeezing hard, the bike finally responded and I got around a very tight corner, narrowly missing winding up on some Yank's Christmas decorations on his front lawn!!

Very gingerly, I descended the rest and found my (now) local Starbucks for my morning Grande Latte and Blueberry scone (pronounced Skone over here!)

Have put nearly 400k under the belt this week so are building up nicely for TDU (or FFT Adelaide) and are on plan for my training for the Cape Epic.

Tommorrow I may try to get over the mountains if the weather is dry. I need to do it at least once before I go home.

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