Reposting this thread as the pic links for the original are broke. Enjoy.
So my wife and daughters decide we need a vacation and where going to Hawaii for a week and I'm thinking OK, there must be mountain biking in Hawaii right? They do have mountains don't they? Well I'll just throw a post up on the General Discussion forum and see if I can get the 411 on Hawaiian mountain biking. And as usual the MTBR folks come through. ArmySlowRdr (Pete) answered my post with helpful info on the Oahu mountain biking scene. Not only that, he offered to hook me up with a rental, and have his gracious wife Sally shuttle us from trail to trail! Well I told my wife about the connection and her first response was: "What if he is a serial killer?". What's funny is that Pete said his wife said the same thing! Guess trust is a rare commodity in this day and age but how many serial killers do you know of that were also mountain bikers? Uh,,, strike that question.
Well I pack up my camelbak, pedals, shoes, and we are off to Hawaii and I am not thinking of Beaches, Wakiki, hula girls, no all I can think of it the ride coming up on Saturday. As we are leaving the airport in Honolulu and driving H3 towards Kailua where we will be staying I am amazed at the mountains we cross. They are beautiful, incredibly steep, and enveloped in a rain forest type canopy. All I can do is stare at them and wonder if these are the ones we will be riding. They look so imposing and steep I think that there is no way this is the place for the ride.
As soon as we get to our B&B I immediately get on the horn and call Pete to make sure we are still on for Saturday. He confirms our ride and tells me that we have an epic in store covering 3 trails spread from one end of Oahu to the other. He also arranged to pick up the rental, a K2 full suspension rig, from Barnfield's Raging Isle Surf & Cycle on Friday so we could get an early start Saturday AM. Now the anticipation is getting unbearable and only 2 more days until ride day!
I decide I better get myself acclimated to the heat and humidity so I run a few hills near our B&B. This turned out to be a good idea as it is like a sauna in Kailua in the summer and even at 6 in the AM I was soaked to the bone with sweat after just a short distance. I also spent a significant amount of time holding down the sand at the beach and giving my best effort to stop the waves with mind power, this also helped me to attain peak condition for the ride.
So one final call to Pete to set up the meeting place and I am stoked to go. Saturday morning arrives and we gather at Cinnamon's Restaurant in Kailua at 7AM to load up Pete's car with the gear. A friend of Pete also joins us for the ride, Devin a local boy riding a sweet Turner 5 Spot. Pete briefs me on our game plan and we are off!
The first stop is an incredibly technical 10 mile single track called Maunawili Trail . It winds along the shear cliffs I saw on my way into Kailua earlier in the week. It starts out at a turn out on the Pali Highway and winds it's way SE along the cliff face through some of the most spectacular rain forest imaginable with vistas of the mountain range and ocean at every opening in the canopy. I was like a kid in a candy shop I was having so much fun! There were ferns as big as 2 story houses, banyan trees, tropical foliage of every type and a trail that required that you pay serious attention to what you were doing of you may find yourself flying off a cliff. I found myself constantly struggling to pay attention to the trail and not the scenery. As I mentioned this trail is very technical, especially the first half. There was a lot, I mean a lot of hike a bike action going on to work our way over roots, big roots, rocks and creek crossings. I didn't mind a bit as it was just so cool to be in the rain forest and it gave me a chance to check out the views. The second half of the trail was sweet single track swooping in and out of the crags along the cliff face culminating in a awesome I mile long downhill. Damn that was fun!
We get to the end of the trail and Sally is waiting with cool beverages and snacks. We quickly load up and head back to Cinnamon's for some lunch. If you ever get to Kailua you gota eat at Cinnamon's. The Mahi Mahi sandwich was outstanding!
Well enough slacking, we say goodbye to Devin as he had other plans for the remainder of the day and we head off to our second destination the Hau`ula Loop trail. This is where hanging with a Local was necessary because this trailhead was difficult to find. Once we got on the trail we hit our first major hills of the day. It's pretty much straight up for the first half of the trail with a short run along a ridge and then straight back down to the trail head. This was a very cool trail, again with spectacular views and single track that wound through a surreal looking pine forest. I think they were Norfolk Island pines but not the little 3 footers you get at Home Depot, no these suckers were about 70 feet tall or so and very thick. It was like being on another planet.
Sally is again waiting for us at the trail head and we load up in a hurry so we can do the third trail and still get the rental back to Raging Isle by 6PM. Forty five minutes later we are at the Kaunala Trail (Cambodia) up at North Shore Oahu. We have exactly 1 1/2 hours to complete this loop if we are going to get the rental back by 6 so we waste no time in hitting the trail.
It was voted "Most Technical Trail" in Hawaii and I will have to agree. The roots were unlike anything I have ever ridden before. These puppies were averaging 1 foot in height and knife edged. They were coming off some kind of eucalyptus tree. These "root gardens" would at times run along 60 to 70 feet of the single track making it darn near dangerous to clean. Had to do a bit, well maybe more than a bit, of hike a bike on this trail as well. By now we are getting a bit concerned about the time as it is taking longer to do "Cambodia" than we planned for. Pete's comment was, "This trail is a bit longer than I remember it." But we managed to keep to the schedule and made up the time on easier sections.
We came to the end of "Cambodia" and the roots to connect to the Kuhuku Motocross access road which was steep, extremely rutted and slick. It was quite a challenge and the climb made me notice for the first time that day that my legs were getting a bit heavy. Finally reaching the top we were rewarded by about 3 miles of downhill on the Pupukea "Boyscout/Army" Forest Road. Great action to end the days epic! However, it was not without it's scary moments. We were blasting down this sucker at about 25 to 30 mph and round a blind turn to be greeted by a huge eucalyptus tree that had recently fallen across the trail. Man did we clamp on the binders! We skid on the loose dirt to within inches of hitting the tree. What a shot of adrenalin that was! Thank God for disk brakes! After checking our shorts we cross the windfall and finish up the ride with the ever patient Sally waiting for us at the trail head.
We had exactly 30 minutes to get the rental back so we immediately hit the road. Tired, hungry, but hugely satisfied with the days ride we head over to Raging Isle and get there at 6 sharp. We bring the bike in and check it in with owner Bill Barnfield. If any of you know surfing you will know the name. He is a legendary surfer, board shaper, and world class downhiller. We chat with him for about an hour and then we are on the road back to Kailua where a hot shower meal, and a glass of red awaits me.
I have to say that this was one of those "adventures of a lifetime". It exceeded my expectations big time. Pete and Sally were the greatest hosts you could ever ask for. They went way out of their way to make this a memorable trip and I will be forever in their debt. And to think one little post on MTBR made it all possible! Pete, next time you’re in California I owe ya. Hopefully your experience on our trails will exceed your expectations as well. Also many thanks to Bill at Raging Isle for the great rental. Mahalo and Aloha.
A few pictures for your enjoyment:
Gettin in condition for the ride
Gearing up for the Maunawili trail, Sally and Pete
Pete and Devin at the trail head
Hike a bike action
An opening in the canopy
Maunawili single track
Devin negotiating one of many windfalls
More windfall logjam action
Towering cliffs over Pete
Pete and I taking a view break
Devin and Pete slackin'
The trails over there
Kailua in the distance
Jungle single track
Pete roosting through the ferns
More jungle action
Some of the sweetest single track on the ride
Of all things found a Geocache out in the jungle
MTBR riders Oahu
Hau`ula Loop pictures
Pete cruising up the trail
Grinding up a hill
K2 on the ridge
Pete and I hamming for the camera
Climbing through the Norfork Pine forrest
Just doesn't get any better than this
Kaunala Trail "Cambodia" pictures
Surveying the line through a root garden
Jungle to jungle
One of the many Banyan trees
K2 and creek crossing
Final shot of paradise
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Thread: Hawaiian Passion Redux