We had a car for our first two days in Kona (we don't like to rent a car there, as we prefer just walking around the village and keeping things pretty chill), so decided to drive out to the town of Kawaihae on the northern part of the island, as Jason heard about a climb he wanted to ride. We didn't know much about the planned route, other than our friend Karlyn told us there was A LOT of climbing. So of course Jason was excited, me on the other hand...
|Driving to Kawaihae|
We parked down by the harbour, and got a whole two minutes of warm-up before the climb started. Jason rode with me for a bit before we decided to just ride at our own pace. The road to Waimea just kept going up, and up, and up, and we kept passing elevation signs. I could see snow on the summit of Mauna Kea to the right, and a road that literally cut up the side of a mountain to the left, and I knew that we were headed that way.
|Looking back down|
|Jason self-portrait while climbing|
|Snow on Mauna Kea|
I'm not that great of a climber, and normally on long climbs I have some sort of a meltdown. But this day I really enjoyed the whole grind (surprising even Jason). After 2 hours and 14 minutes of straight climbing (but who's counting) and passing the 3500 foot elevation marker, I finally got to shift into the big ring to start the descent.
|We started somewhere down by the water...|
|Cows at the summit|
Luck would have it, as we crested the summit of Kohala, the other side was lush and green... and raining. The descent was steep, twisty, wet, and fun! I was on the brakes a lot but soon we were back in the sun in Hawi, about 2500 feet down. We still had the 30 km ride back to the car - this time along the ocean, with a fun crosswind that had me hanging on the whole way.
|If you look at the plants on the side,|
you get an idea of the crosswinds. Fun!
Back at the car, it was a great first ride for our vacation, and I can't wait to ride that loop again. Next year???
|My Garmin died :(, so I created a map of our route online.|
If you're on the big island, definitely ride this loop!