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  1. #1
    since 4/10/2009
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    MTB on my Hawaii vacation

    I got to spend a week in Hawaii with my wife recently. It was my celebration for kicking cancer's ass (see the linked thread in my sig).

    On one of the days we were out, we decided to rent bikes and find some trails. I hooked up with gmats from MTBR to ride the Kaloko Trails in Kona. A couple other guys wanted to come, but were unable to make it, hangingchads and ae111black. Hangingchads got a shoulder injury and ae111black had a wedding to attend with the wife. Too bad guys, you missed a fun ride. If you're ever in my neighborhood on the continent (currently in Texas), drop me a line.

    The wife and I were scheduled to pick up our bikes around 10 and meet gmats at the TH around 11. That would have worked except for a couple things. Jet lag hit my wife that night, and we overslept a little. Got up at 9 instead of 8. Oh well, it's vacation, right? When we got to the shop, fitting my wife's bike took a little effort, too. The seatpost on the bike was too long, and we couldn't lower it enough to fit my wife (stupid interrupted seat tube on the Special Ed). The guys in the shop (Bikeworks in Kailua-Kona...top notch guys) tried to find a shorter seatpost. But when they couldn't, they took a hacksaw to the one on the bike so my wife could use it. Now that's service, eh? That one saved our ride.

    We had a rental Jeep Wrangler and though we had requested a rack, apparently the rental racks are of the trunk-mounted variety. The shop didn't have any spare tire mounting models. Luckily we had been "upgraded" to a 4dr model, which fit both of the bikes wheels-on so we got super lucky on that one. A 3000ft road ascent prior to riding the trails would have sucked big time.

    We got to the trails a little late. Thankfully gmats had been a little late, too. It's Island Time, y'know? We waited a few minutes for Hangingchads (we didn't know about his shoulder at the time) and then decided to head out.

    My wife

    Nice Hawaiian jungle at the TH. There's an organic coffee plantation just down the mountain from here called Mountain Thunder. Mmmm, now THAT coffee I can drink!

    Here's the track of the ride, so you have a reference for location.


    The first section of the trail was quite techy. I believe it's called Jurassic. Very many short ups & downs. Very narrow. Very wet. I noticed how hard the tires were, and the wife and I were quickly deflating them.

    I learned there exactly how bad cheap platforms could be. Because I wanted to pack relatively light, I left my Lake shoes and my Candy SL pedals home, assuming that I'd at least be given decent platforms to ride. Negative. I was given a Trek FS with PLASTIC platforms. I couldn't keep my feet on the pedals to save my life, so I ended up walking a lot of Jurassic.

    Once we got to the boundary, we hit a fire road. Thankfully, I was better able to keep my feet on the pedals and I got to have fun on the gradual descent with many baby-head-sized sharp lava rocks. Stuff creeped me out. Crash on this stuff and you'll BLEED.

    Here we are at the beginning of the fire roads after the techy Jurassic section.

    gmats and I

    I got a shot of the entry to Pig Skull (named for the fact that a pig skull marks the entry to the singletrack).

    Entry to Pig Skull

    Pig Skull is one fun section of trail. Fast downhill singletrack. You hardly need to pedal at all. I cruised down this section pretty quick until I found this spot which appeared to be pretty photogenic.

    Enjoying a flowy piece of singletrack

    My wife, being a beginner, felt the section was too steep and she was too tired. So we continued along until I found a spot more appropriate to her skill level where I could get some pictures.

    My wife cruising

    The end of Pig Skull saw a return to the fire road at the western edge of the trail system. This part was pretty rolling and I opened it up a little so I could get some cardio. No pictures here. After that was a brutal uphill. We had descended over 800ft over most of the trail until this point. Where we gained it all back really fast. This fire road just went straight up the stinking hill. I was feeling pretty good until this point, but that climb really kicked my @$$.

    This is much steeper than it looks.

    STIL

    gmats was long gone. I heard later on the grapevine (well, the guys in the shop) that gmats did the Transalp race some years ago. No wonder he disappeared on this climb, but I did see that even he had to dab a few times before I lost track of him. I think I was able to make it up this climb about 100ft tops before I had to start hiking. I just lacked the strength in my legs to turn the pedals.

    We eventually saw gmats again. He stopped short of the top, at a small false flat. He decided to be a nice guy and take my wife's bike the last bit, then he hiked back down, grabbed his own bike, and rode to the top again. This guy is a beast.

    gmats tearing up the climb

    This pic was at the top of the climb, where it started to level off. It still does not show truly how steep this MOUNTAIN was on that fire road.

    At the top of this fire road, we stopped to chill so my wife and I could catch our breath and let our muscles recover a little (I'm certain gmats could have kept going just fine without stopping here).

    gmats and I chillin

  2. #2
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
    Reputation: ArmySlowRdr's Avatar
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    Cool write-up. Yes when I was on Oahu for three years I found the trails much, much more techie than here in Texas. Did a lot of road cycling there. But the trails were scenic and I got a few tens of rides in each year I was there on the mountain.

  3. #3
    I Have Cookies
    Reputation: ae111black's Avatar
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    Awe Nate it looked great! Next time next time...... shucks!!!
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

    ____
    Kimo

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gmats's Avatar
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    Nate,

    Just to clarify, it's the other "GM" (Grant) that did the transalps. I'm not even in the same league as the other GM................We both do have loads of fun riding though.

    Thanks again for the awesome ride, it was great meeting you and your wife. Keep up the riding and look forward to exploring some trails with you.

    Aloha,
    g

  5. #5
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmats
    Nate,

    Just to clarify, it's the other "GM" (Grant) that did the transalps. I'm not even in the same league as the other GM................We both do have loads of fun riding though.

    Thanks again for the awesome ride, it was great meeting you and your wife. Keep up the riding and look forward to exploring some trails with you.

    Aloha,
    g
    I guess the guy at the bike shop was mistaken when I told them who showed me around.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gmats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    I guess the guy at the bike shop was mistaken when I told them who showed me around.

    Yup, well, I guess the guys at the bike shop would know that other GM 'cause he's the owner of the shop. Therefore when you mention "Grant", they all think of him. I get confused when I walk into the shop because they call him and I look..........

  7. #7
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmats
    Yup, well, I guess the guys at the bike shop would know that other GM 'cause he's the owner of the shop. Therefore when you mention "Grant", they all think of him. I get confused when I walk into the shop because they call him and I look..........
    Oh now that's funny. I suppose I can see how they'd have thought of the other Grant when all I mentioned was your first name.

  8. #8
    2006 Yeti AS-X
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    Nice to hear about your good news with the cancer issue. Hope you stay healthy and riding for a long time to come!
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  9. #9
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    ... and if we just ...

    Wow NateHawk those are some great pics of Kaloko. I hope you enjoyed the Big Island. It was my home for 10 years and I miss it alot. Kaloko is one of my favorite places on Earth. It's like an enchanted forest. I have been up there quite a lot but haven't ridden the trails up there unfortunately. I would normally just ride around Kona town alot. I bodyboard and surf too so spent most of my time at the beach but am wishing now I would have hit those trails! On my next visit I will... thanks for sharing
    Spirit-Tech Solutions http://www.spirit-tech007.blogspot.com
    a blog about music, art, travel, health, cycling, and much more

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