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Nachoman 04-09-12 01:49 PM

Haleakala Fail! (need more excuses)
Haleakala has been on my bucket list for many years now. So when my wife began planning our recent vacation to Maui, with my sister and her family, I began to get excited knowing that Iíd get to pedal up to the top of Haleakala, take a picture of myself in front of the observation tower and post about it here on BF.

The long story short is that I climbed 6,500 feet, gave up, and turned around totally dejected.

I wasnít dying, but I was pretty beat up. I could have climbed another thousand feet. Maybe another two thousand feet. And maybe, if I was lucky, even another three thousand feet. But I knew I couldnít climb further. So I just cut my losses and turned around. It was a physical and mental humiliation.

I have no reason at all for my recent failure. But Iím looking for excuses. If anyone asks, hereís what I have so far:

Excuse Number One:
I did no specific training for this ride. In fact, the month before the ride, I probably had less mileage than Iíve had in years.

Excuse Number Two:
I drank a lot. All I did for the 3 days prior to the climb, was eat, drink and snorkel. Cocktails began by the pool each day around noon. Then we brought a cooler of beers down to the perfect, white sand beaches of Wailea. Then wine with dinner. And finally post dinner music with more cocktails.

Excuse Number Three:
I didnít eat enough food. The night before the ride, I prepared a PB&J sandwich and set it out with a banana. When I reached 3,500 feet, which is past the last store, I started to get hungry and realized I left my food back at the hotel.

Excuse Number Four:
I couldnít drink enough water. I had this bright idea to fill a camelbak 3\4 of the way to the top and throw it in the freezer. Then the morning of the ride, I filled the remaining 1\4 with water. I figured as the ice melted, I would have ice cold water the entire way up the volcano. Wrong. I had a block of ice sitting on my back the whole ride up.

Excuse Number Five:
Unnecessary weight slowed me down. When I went to take my first photo, my camera battery died. Always prepared, I reached into my jersey pocket for the spare battery. That one was dead too. One camera and two dead batteries is a lot of extra weight.

But in fairness, I made up for some of the added weight by forgetting my garmin back at the hotel. It was sitting on the table right next to the banana.

Excuse Number Six:
I wasnít on my road bike. I ride a custom, titanium road bike with Di2. I was on a heavy Bike Friday folding bike with far inferior 105 and a saddle Iím not used to.

Excuse Number Seven:
When I got to about 5,000 feet the clouds got thick and it started raining. Okay, maybe it was more of a light drizzle. But it didnít help.

Condensed version:
I climbed 6,500 feet, gave up, and turned around. Need more excuses.

save10 04-09-12 01:56 PM

no excuses needed. that's a tough ride. I did it in 2009. I was delirious around 9000 feet.

blacksquid 04-09-12 01:57 PM

Altitude. You didn't train above 10k long enough.

caloso 04-09-12 01:59 PM

I wouldn't call those excuses. Any one or two of those things could derail a summit. It's like 3 Mt. Diablos stacked on top of each other, except that the bottom one is hot and humid, and the top one starts at 7000 feet. It's a damn hard ride.

Just learn from those mistakes and next time, you'll do it.

RB1-luvr 04-09-12 02:01 PM

ooo, this sounds like something I need on my bucket list.

mpath 04-09-12 02:07 PM

My dad always said to me, "You only ever need one excuse, son".

Anyone one of those is legit. Except maybe the rain - but I'm from the Pacific Northwest.

caphits 04-09-12 02:07 PM

I feel blasted after a little local hill. Nevermind a monstrosity like that...

dstrong 04-09-12 02:25 PM

You tried it on a toy bike? Good thing you didn't go any would have died on the descent when the baby rims overheated and the baby tires asploded. Baby bike bolts EVERYWHERE!

ahsposo 04-09-12 02:29 PM

Originally Posted by dstrong (Post 14078387) would have died on the descent when the baby rims overheated and the baby tires asploded. Baby bike bolts EVERYWHERE!

But man! Wouldn't that have made a good thread!

ColinL 04-09-12 02:47 PM

your prep errors definitely contributed to your failure. I don't see how you would've practiced at high altitude, but the drinking the night before and lack of nutrition on the ride were huge issues.

the drinking thread talked about dehydration to no end and we don't need to rehash it now, but for sure you can't set a PR (which that climb would no doubt be) after having more than 1-2 drinks.

pallen 04-09-12 03:21 PM

How about "I'm not superman".

I wanted to go from Texas to ride to the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it wasnt going to happen. I'm sure I could get further now than when I attempted last. No reason to feel shame. Even halfway up Trail Ridge Rd was the most amazing bike ride I have done yet.

There's no fail in an epic ride like that!

tuxbailey 04-09-12 03:36 PM

Did your wife sabotage the ride in any way because you sold her bike?

Nachoman 04-09-12 03:44 PM

Originally Posted by tuxbailey (Post 14078678)
Did your wife sabotage the ride in any way because you sold her bike?

Haha. Good one! The answer is no, but that makes me think of another failure excuse.
Aren't prizefighters supposed to abstain from sex the night before the big event?:innocent:

SuperGregNo1 04-09-12 03:48 PM

Originally Posted by tuxbailey (Post 14078678)
did your wife sabotage the ride in any way because you sold her bike?


elemtee 04-09-12 03:52 PM

deeper sleep can never be a bad thing.

OrionKhan 04-09-12 04:00 PM

Bah, I just wish you had pics. Given that you were on Maui doing what people do (eat, drink and snorkel) you did pretty good. In fact, it would have been way less cool if you did all sorts of crazy mountain training before and were properly prepared. Boozin' for days before and giving it a shot on one of them crazy folding bikes, it would have been epic if you made it to the top.

PhotoJoe 04-09-12 04:03 PM

"All the freds whizzing by me on the downhill tour created a headwind to put Hell's Gate to shame!

mpath 04-09-12 04:14 PM

Originally Posted by blacksquid (Post 14078273)
Altitude. You didn't train above 10k long enough.

Altitude is definitely a factor. But where does one train above 10k?

A couple of weeks back I was on the Big Island, and drove up to the Mauna Kea observatory just shy of 14,000ft. I'm pretty fit right now but with my bronchitis, I'd think long and hard before attempting Haleakala - next summer is my goal.

kimconyc 04-09-12 04:32 PM

I'm a climbaholic but hanging out by the beach, soaking in the views seems less intense.

I mean, if you were willing to lug all the crap (portable bike, Camelback, camera, etc.), you might as well have opted to install a motor for bailout situations.

That's my advice for next trip, install a bottom bracket motor for special situations. Then you can sip on your Corona or whatever you were drinking and climb at the same time.

icyclist 04-09-12 04:43 PM

"Aren't prizefighters supposed to abstain from sex the night before the big event?"

You aren't a prizefighter, so theoretically sex before your ride was possible. However, you're married. So sex before your big event? Yeah, right! :lol:

valygrl 04-09-12 04:58 PM

Haleakala fail still sounds like vacation win to me.

I honeymooned on the Big Island in January. Next time I go back to HI, Haleakala is on the list for sure.

trustbran 04-09-12 05:09 PM

You should have prayed to the Hawaiian Gods for strength up Haleakala! That was your first mistake brah!


ultraman6970 04-09-12 06:11 PM

Sincerely i doubt that volcano is even close to these ones...specially because just to get to any of these ones you have to ride at least 2 hours uphill from the closest town and you are already over 7000 to 10000 meters over the sea level that is just when the curves start. Probably you need to train more... or climbing technique is bad, or both. The other key thing is that you need a team to go with you to give you at least water, if nobody went with you (trow away the camel back that thing doesn't work, specially on this situations) in a car with fresh water then... there you have the problem. You need support or you are condemn to fail...

jrobe 04-09-12 06:52 PM

I have ridden most of the big climbs in the US and Haleakala is right up there near the top in terms of difficulty. There isn't many places where you have to climb steady for 35 miles with absolutely no breaks except stopping to rest. That is mentally one of the hardest climbs I have ever done. It just seems endless. Then you get to the park entrance and you can see all the switchbacks still ahead.

I think your real mistake is that you underestimated it by quite a bit. You really have to bring your A-game to that climb. You definitely aren't the only one to be humbled up that climb though. You are lucky to have had the experience. You won't make the same mistakes the next time you try a major climb like this.

save10 04-09-12 07:01 PM

not being familiar with the bike-friday bikes, is it harder to climb on such a thing vs a regular road bike?

also its been a few years since I went up there and all i have is good memories. But looking back on was seriously the hardest thing i've ever done in my life. I was to back to maui the year after for a conference and someone asked me if i was going to ride up Haleakala answer - F no.

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