Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 2010 Century

Having signed on for two UMCA challenges in 2010, my first challenge was to figure out how to get in a century in January when the temps are in the teens and snow is on the ground in Chicago.

Our 12 January days in Hawaii held promise for "getting it done" but it was not a "slam dunk, January's in the books" given.

The bike I brought to HI was my Bike Friday Tikit, named Tilda, a folder with 16 x 38 wheels, 8 gears and no front derailleur; I was one month post-op for repair of a torn rotator cuff; and Kauai had only one road with virtually no shoulder. Maui's roads were much more bike friendly, we'd be there our second week, so my shoulder would then be 5 weeks post-op.

Can't even count how many times I've ridden 100+ miles, but sleep was not to come the night before my Maui January UMCA qualifying century (90 miles or greater). Sun rose at 7:15; the Door Man at the Westin Kaanapali Resort Villas signed my Year Rounder Personal Ride Verification form--Miles ridden "0", time of departure 7:42 a.m. January 26th, address: 6 Kai Ala Dr.

A great tail wind carried me over the rollers on Honoapiilani Drive up to the steep climbs in Napili and Kapalua with take-your-breath-away vistas of the Pacific along the western edge of West Maui. Then came the rain that bathes these Maui cliffs with 200+ inches of rain a year, the fast descents that even Tilda took at 30 mph followed by mile-long climbs that Tilda took at 5 and 6 mph. To get my needed mileage I needed two of these Honoapiilani loops.

I practiced Hammer's 3 hour rule of no fueling 3 hours before a hard or long workout or race, so celebrated the completion of my first loop with a bar and a bottle of Hammer Heed and Sustained Energy. A stop back at the Resort for the Door Man to sign my Ride Verification Form at mile 27.5 and I'm off for the next 60+ miles.

Out of the rain forest now and into an arid coastal region protected from the fierce trade winds by the Arizona-esque mountains. I found the trade winds for real when I headed northeast from Ma'alae toward Kahului. They favored me with a 20 mph coast into Starbucks at Kahului which, upon the return, would be a 5 mph crawl. Fun to see a large cruise ship in the Kahului harbor and be free to cruise the island with my Tikit, Tilda.

The trade winds were now more cross winds than head or tail upon the return--I'm lovin that. My plan was to stop in Lahaina under the 130+ year old Banyan Tree, 6 miles from my finish, and find someone to take my picture since 27 years ago I finished the Maui Marathon, 3rd place in my age division, under that same Banyan Tree.

Two amazing, unexpected gifts awaited me in Lahaina. My bike computer registered 79 miles at the Banyan Tree which meant I'd need to ride back north on Honoapiilani Drive to get the balance of my miles. I had not looked at my Garmin since turning it on at the time of my departure but in Lahaina my Garmin registered 89 miles! No more Honoapiilani Drive would be needed! At that very moment my phone rang; it was Kirk wondering how I was progressing. I said, "I'm under the Banyan Tree in Lahaina looking for someone to take my picture." He said, "I'm under the Banyan Tree, too. I'll take your picture." Can't get any better than that. We recruited a willing volunteer to take our picture.

Rolled into the parking lot; the Door Man signed my form: Time--3:42, miles so far 95.5. I washed the rain, road crud, and salty air residue from Tilda out of a wastebasket filled with warm water and shampoo from my room; soaked my tired body in our in-room Jacuzzi; and enjoyed carry-in Thai on our balcony with Kirk.

Tilda was up for the task; my bod held up on the upright, although I'm not planning on any more long rides on Tilda or any other upright for that matter. But good to know I can do it, and for that I'm deeply grateful to all those both past and present who have contributed to my long-road healing process, the most recent piece being my shoulder repair.

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