I wasn’t kidding when I said we had an early wake up call yesterday morning. Our alarm was set for 1 am. Yes, you read that right. 1 am. But for a good reason. We signed up to do a bike ride at Halealaka Crater. There were two options – the Sunrise ride and the regular ride. Despite the ridiculously early hour, we both felt that the sunrise tour was the way to go.
We had to be at the Haleakala Bike Company store at 3 am. It was in Haiku, about an hour away. We got there, drank some warm beverages and got fitted for our bikes and equipment. Despite being in Hawaii, it was COLD on top of that mountain. The bike company provided us with rain gear which I wore on top of a North Face fleece and t-shirt.
We got in a bus and headed from the store to the crater. The bus ride took about an hour. The driver was explaining things about the area and about our ride the entire time, so I managed to stay awake but it was very hard not to doze off! At about 6am, we made it to top of Haleakala, at least as close to the top as we were allowed to get.
There were a lot of people at the top waiting for the sun to peek out of the clouds so they could get a good picture. We spent about an hour watching the sunrise and then moved to another viewing spot.
Around 7 am, the bus took us to the landing spot for our bike tour. Unbeknownst to us when we signed up, the Haleakala Bike Company was one of two bike companies that didn’t have guided tours. They gave us a map with the turns clearly marked and sent us on our way. If you got lost, they promised to pick you up (for $20).
The top of the mountain had a lot of switchbacks and I was pretty scared. Needless to say, I was riding heavy on the brakes. So much so that my hands started to ache. Every time we went around a hairpin curve, I was afraid that I would spin out of control into oncoming traffic. Of course, this didn’t happen, but I was very conservative with my speed.
After we descended down the mountain some, the switchbacks were fewer and farther in between and I wasn’t as nervous. The last few miles, I felt like I was flying down the street. We made it back to the bike store safe and sound. And starving. We’d just biked 25 miles. Does biking downhill burn calories? Jason said it doesn’t, but I don’t know. I hope it did! Although, the only thing that is really sore is my butt. And my hands!
Haiku is about five miles from a little town called Pa’ia. We decided to stop there for lunch and walk around a bit. I really wanted to check out this natural foods store called Mana Foods. Yum, hummus wall.
We didn’t buy anything there and instead we stopped at the Flatbread Company. This was so good! Definitely recommend it if you are ever in Maui. I had the Vegan flatbread, but un-veganized it by adding local goat cheese.
After lunch, we made our way back to our resort. We were exhausted. Getting up at 1 am and riding 23 miles (even downhill) will do that to you. We took a nap but I couldn’t sleep for very long and ended up being a grumpy mess for most of the night. Now, I am well rested and feeling better. It seems to me that the MO of everyone in Hawaii is get up early, go to sleep early. I’m cool with that!