Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Credit Spending

Last week I offered to offset unearned vertical for the gravity challenged set. I have not received any payments yet. So I plan to spend some of my credit in Hawaii. The premiere MTB ride on Maui is the Skyline/Mamane descent from the summit of Haleakala. One could conceivably climb from sea level to 10,000ft on pavement with their MTB in 36 miles to earn the ride. But that would likely take 4-5hrs, and we're on vacation after all. I have enough credit (upwards of 80,000ft) to cover Steve and I for a shuttle assisted descent.

East Maui

On April 2 or 3, we plan to have our wives drop us off at the Haleakala summit. The summit area is very nearly barren, martian in appearance. Off the back side, away from all the normal tourists, weaves a ribbon of trail between cinder cones. Very little pedaling is required. In fact, the lava rock can be frightening loose at speed along much of the descent. If we start late in the morning, the daily cloud cover should already be developed below us. It is a quite spectacular sensation to descend from brilliant, crisp air through clouds, maybe some rain, later to pop out from under the clouds in humid, tropical air. I think we pass through five climatic zones on the way down.

Skyline Tr, Mamane Tr, Waipoli Rd

Skyline Trail follows the spine of Haleakala. Mamane trail, a newer singletrack built for mountain biking, cuts down at a much steeper grade to Polipoli State Park. From there a gravel road through redwood forest skirts along the mid flanks of Haleakala in the clouds. Eventually, a one-lane paved road averaging 12% grade with over 20 switchbacks drops us another few thousand feet. Several more miles of single lane roads are take at gentle grades back to Kahului at sea level. 10,000ft plummet in about 32 miles on mountain bikes. Guilt free by using accumulated vertical credits. Life doesn't get any better than that.

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