After completing the Women's day ride with West Maui Cycles my World opened up a little and to my surprise, out-popped a cycling enthusiast.
Suddenly I found myself perusing the shoe department at West Maui Cycles and day-dreaming about being able to complete the West Maui Loop. I'd had my first and second dates with a road bike and I couldn't help but want more from this new relationship. I knew that if I was really serious about this, shoes meant commitment.
I was certainly not ready. At all.
However, what I lacked in bike knowledge (and fitness), I made up for with enthusiasm and a sense of humor.
The week prior, I took part in a Women's Day Ride and I found riding a breeze! Since actually, there was hardly any wind at all. My legs felt strong and my breath, light. I said to myself, "I'm going to do the West Maui Loop." I also wasn't going to tell any one about it, just in case I catastrophically failed. Alas, by the end of the week, I had told everybody I know what I had planned, and even persuaded a couple of girls to come with me. There was no backing out now and failure was not an option.
I had a full fit with Nathan at the shop (in my shiny new shoes). It was astonishing what a difference small alterations made to my various ailments! A preexisting injury had affected other areas of my body from over-compensating. With minute adjustments such as cleat placement and the addition of foot beds to your shoes, you can alleviate hot-spots and numbness, increase your performance and prevent new injuries from occurring.
I set up Strava so I could track the ride, my speed and time. Strava is a really useful way to connect with other riders, to challenge yourself and explore new places to ride. West Maui Cycles even has it's own Strava group. If you can, I would definitely recommend riding the Loop with a friend and the Strava group is a good place to find one!
The ride began much the same as our Women's day ride, except with a glorious head wind! This time though the hills seemed steeper and my legs felt heavier.
Just beyond Kapulua, I suddenly saw what I was working for and why everyone loves the West Maui Loop so much.
I was pushing myself harder than I had before on a bike, concentrating on preserving energy and breathing and keeping hydrated. I felt absorbed by the mountains and SO alive!
The views were incredible and the road; a dreamy winding masterpiece of interval training. I was elated and exhausted at the same time. Time didn't matter, in fact I'm not even sure that time was still passing when we reached Kahakuloa. My favorite place on the whole ride and inspiration for this blog.
I had heard about the village, nick-named 'The Banana Bread Village' because of it's two little competing Banana Bread stands. Each boast to have the best, but in reality two very different, banana breads. You decide! The first I came to was Lorraines'
As I descended into Kahakuloa Village Lorraine's was the first stop on the Left. A large sign pointed me in the right direction (down her drive way) to her beautiful home, where she'd grown up and now lives with her husband, Guy. She said she'd been expecting me and the girls, informed by another cyclist who had passed us earlier. Lorraine filled my water bottles with ice cold water, offered me the rest room and a tour as well as a fabulous selection of Banana bread.
A hundred pictures of happy visitors from all over the world filled her side room.
My friends were ahead of me, and had missed the first turn down to Lorraines. They had began climbing back out of Kahakuloa and reached Julia's banana bread stand. Julia offered another great selection of goodies, including dried mangoes with li hing mui and coconut chips. Julia's was incredibly relaxing, looking down onto the village.
The climb back out of Kahakuloa was long and arduous. I knew there was a decent somewhere but it felt just out of reach. Once we finally made it past Wailuku the ride was all about endurance for me, mentally as well as physically. I knew at this point I was easy to rescue, I had phone signal and there was always the bus as a last resort..
Reaching the end of the loop I was exhausted but so THRILLED! I did it! For a new cyclist this was a tough ride, thank goodness I had so much banana bread to keep me going!