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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Training suggestions for Haleakala

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    In spite of my screen name, I am not Hawaiian. I'm Canadian and got the nickname because I windsurf and spent some time living on Maui when I was in my early 20's, before I started coaching or was fit enough to ride up Haleakala. This pretty much makes me the closest thing to Hawaiian that many Albertans have seen.

    Fast forward about 18 years or so and now I am a multisport coach. I currently have a client whose big goal is to climb Haleakala in late May while she's on Maui for vacation. I'm writing up her training plan and I was wondering if anyone on the board has riden up the Mountain and if you had any insights on things to work on training wise.

    The climb is 38 miles and the elevation gain if she does it from sea level is more than 10, 000 feet. I've driven up the road and I seem to remember it being a pretty steady climb without many truly steep spots. So basically, I'm planning a lot of longer steady efforts to simulate a long, steady, but not steep climb. My client is mostly riding indoors right now, so these are on the trainer for now. When we can get her back outside, we have a really nice 22 mile climb and another 15 mile steady climb that she can get to work on.

    If you've ridden up Haleakala, were there things that you did in your training that were particularly helpful? Were there things that you wish you had done more of?

    TIA for suggestions.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Gosh, we went up in a car! At the top we felt really strange because of the altitude. One thing for sure I would tell heris to bring warm things to wear for the descent. Seemed to me to be climbable, just a long haul.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,234
    +1 to Mimi. I've never ridden quite that high (I don't think so at least....), but I can tell you that I start feeling the elevation on my bike at around 5,000 feet or so - it feels harder to breather, harder to move - it slows you down. It's not as noticeable if you aren't going all out. In a race it makes me feel like I'm going to hyperventilate and/or puke... on a training ride or a fun ride it just slows me down. Definitely something to think about when planning how much time it will take.

    I train for other long hill climbs, like Mt. Baker which is 24.5 miles by doing repeats on a shorter hill - it works fine.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Marin County CA
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    That's definitely on my to do list.

    I haven't done it, but I coached people for the Death Ride for years and have also done quite a bit of hiking between 10 - 14,000 feet. I would look at the training in 2 parts:

    1. Training for the climb. This part is easy - what Eden said. Hill repeats, focusing on steady climbs. It doesn't seem like its a particularly hard ride once you take elevation out of the equation.

    2. Preparing for the elevation. It seems that half the ride is going to be over 5,000 feet, which is where some people start to notice effects of altitude. This is a completely personal thing - whether and to what extent altitude affects you. It would be critical, I think, to have your client spend several days riding at elevation to start to understand how it affects her.

    Some of our people noticed real breathing problems and dizziness above 7500 feet. Some got nausea. Others had no effects at all. I don't think you know til you get there how it will affect you.

    In my climbing (on foot) over 12,000 feet or so, I observed it also didn't make a lot of different whether someone was "fit" or not (to a point). It really seems that elevations effects are more targeted than that. A less obviously fit person may be little affected by elevation.

    So my recommendation would be an exploratory training camp of sorts where she can do some rides that get to 7000 feet or so. I'm not sure if you have roads that can get her that high. We certainly do in the Sierras if she could make a road trip - and by the way most all our roads are open because there's no snow!! I'd say spend 3 days riding and really feeling how it affects her.

    And acclimatization is largely not attainable by normal (employed people). Altitude actually has deleterious effects for at least the first week or so, so you're gradually losing fitness (largely through dehydration) for that period of time. After a couple of weeks, you can start building extra red blood cells, etc. But it really takes a long time before you start getting beneficial effects.

    Also preparation for the change in climate is going to be critical. Hawaii is balmy, but I suspect that will be a cold descent toward the top. She should prepare herself for always unpredictable mountain weather!!
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. She is very familiar with Maui and the Volcano so I think she's aware of the cold descent issue but I'll be sure to remind her. Maillotpois, the altitude training tips are great. Thank you.

    I'm going to see what kind of climbs I can find that get her up to 7000'. I may sense a road trip in the future.

    This client doesn't work and finances are not really an issue. She is not into camping at all. Anyone have suggestions for a destination, riding trip that would include some elevation and a nice place to stay? The Sierras are a possibility but I wonder if there is something closer.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


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  6. #6
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    If finances aren't an issue, why try to find something close?
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    If finances aren't an issue, why try to find something close?
    So that I can go with her without having to take too much time off work.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
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    5,920
    Well, if you do end up heading to the Sierras, I can give you some suggestions. PM me if you like. Roads are dry now and even though some of the passes are closed to cars, I can't imagine they're not clear enough for a bike. I can do some inquiring of friends on the eastern side of the sierra as well.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
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    9,258
    Wahine's training camp in the Eastern Sierras? That could be fun! Sign me up for those rides!

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Elon, NC
    Posts
    70
    I climbed it in Aug of 2010.

    If you are familiar with the island, you know the weather can play a huge factor.
    It did for us. We left sea level around 430am (def still dark out). It would have been a century ride, had we completed the out and back in the same day. Unfortunately, weather stopped us from reaching the summit. It started raining around 930am and we still had a ways to go. We continued on for another hour and with 8 miles to go, I gave it up. The fog, rain, and cold turned my butt around and down to the visitor's center. I stood under the hand dryer for a long time trying to thaw out.
    We went back 2 days later, started from the visitors center and did the 11 or so miles... without incident.

    The altitude change had zero effect on me..but like others have mentioned, it may be different for your client. I think going at a steady pace (not race pace nor in a car)...is what made a difference for me, anyway, in not feeling the altitude.

    There is about 500ft of down hill...yes, that's right, only abut 500ft in a roughly 40mile ride of downhill and even that, you MAYBE get to coast for what equates to about 4 pedal strokes.

    It is a slow, steady grind. The pitch is not horrific...until the very very last section...where you can opt to go past the parking lot to the observation tower and that IS a nasty short little section...especially, after having climbed what you just climbed.

    So, for training...endurance...without stopping...for a long time.
    Weather...be prepared for wind, rain and cold. Bring gloves, arm/leg warmers for the ride down. Gels, water, etc.
    Flexible...watch the weather for the duration of the trip and pick a couple of different days as options.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Maui, Hawaii
    Posts
    7

    Training for Haleakala

    HI, I live on Maui, and although I have not ridden to the top, I have done partial climbs on rides. I would suggest you have your client do climbing intervals to build stamina and endurance, also try to get some mileage at higher elevations. The summit is over 10,000 feet. That is 2 miles up. The air
    gets noticeable thinner at about 3,500 feet.

    I find interval work has helped me the most in building my climbing skills.
    Another thought, would be to contact Go Cycling Maui and ask them for some input. They sponsor the Cycle to the Sun race each August and the owner, Donnie Arnault, is a former racer. They lead many cycling camps and also do rides "up the hill." They may have some targeted tips for you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    I second the recommendation to talk to Donnie or someone at his shop (Maui cycles in Paia). My bf climbed Haleakala in September and the guys at the shop provided good info on where to get water during the climb and clothes to take for the descent and other logistics. They also offer a service where they will guide/sag the climb with clients, if that would be of interest to your client.

    The bf blogged about the climb and you might find some of the info useful- you can find the blog and his strava link at djconnel.blogspot.com (search for Haleakala). Another interesting tidbit- there is a phone number that you can call to get the weather forecast for the summit the next day- useful for planning clothes and the like.
    Last edited by NadiaMac; 03-04-2012 at 01:25 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,575
    Thanks for your input everyone. I really appreciate the tip about getting a sag wagon. My client wants to climb it but is not keen on coming back down. Mostly because she's gets very cold. So she's been trying to coordinate a ride back down. A paid for sag would be great.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

 

 

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