Maui winter training: Day 2, West Maui Loop

Initially the weather forecast pointed to this day to be the most optimal for climbing the big volcano on the island, Mt. Haleakala. The Mt. Haleakala climb is world famous for going straight up from sea level to 10,000 feet in 40 miles on gently graded perfectly smooth pavement, a climber’s dream. In the days preceding the trip, I started to come down with a cold, and woke up in the morning knowing that attempting the big day would be a mistake. Instead, we opted to sleep in a little longer and hit the less ambitious West Maui loop. 
Sonoma or Maui?

The first portion of the loop was pretty mellow taking us south through sugarcane fields on the side of a small highway, then west and north right along the coast. The weather was overcast, so we didn’t get a great view of the nearly vertical green mountains we were riding next to that dominate west Maui. The ride was fairly lack-luster for the first 40 miles (at least compared to expectations) as we rounded the west coast of the island.

Once we approached the north side, things got interesting quickly. The highway gave way to a twisty two lane road, not unlike California hwy 1 in parts. In fact, parts of the north west coast were completely indistinguishable from the coastal roads of Marin and Sonoma counties: rolling hills covered with short grass and rocky outcroppings on coastal cliffs with fenced cattle land. The obvious difference was the frequent tropical rain-forest grottos.

Some sections looked straight out of central america

Being from the heart of redwood country, it usually takes a pretty spectacular forest to impress me, and this did not disappoint. The rolling hills quickly added up to 4,000 feet of climbing and that, along with neglecting to bring enough water, left me in bad shape nearing the end of the ride.

Fortunately, there happened to be a great fruit stand selling coconut water (nature’s electrolyte drink). Aside from the drink, the guy there was practically giving tropical fruit away. He was pushing plenty of free samples, and parting with bags full of fruit for only a dollar! I fit all of the passion fruit and apple-bananas (bananas that taste kind of like apples!) and headed back for home.

Fresh coconut water!

West Maui loop (Strava link)