Friday, January 16, 2009

Wind and waves

Date: Jan. 14, 15 and 16
Mileage: 30.5, 55.1 and 34.2
January mileage: 429.5
Temperature upon departure: Low 80s

My Hawaii trip so far has been a comedy of errors, but I'm starting to settle into the flow. I feel perpetually lethargic because of all of the heat and sun and the Benadryl I'm sucking down (I seem to be allergic to a lot of different things down here.) But this island is nothing if not beautiful and an adventure in itself. True to my vacation record, even Hawaii managed to throw exciting weather my way.

The first thing we did after the car rental place opened for the morning Wednesday is drive around looking for the start of the Hurt 100. We ended up on a high bluff at sunrise, where I caught my first glimpse of downtown Honolulu. From a distance, it's breathtaking.

I rented a road bike from this place called The Bike Shop. It's light and fast and holds its own on gravel, but the traffic on this island takes some getting used to. It's been really windy, which has been great for my training in the limited time I have to ride. It helps me get my heartrate up without gaining too much speed, which can be scary and hard to control in tight traffic on a strange bike when you're used to none of it.

We camped the first two nights at a private campground on the edge of the North Shore. It was a beautiful spot and crawling with feral cats and chickens. We of course adopted one of the cats, feeding it pieces of ahi tuna and leftover cereal milk. While walking on the beach, Geoff randomly bumped into friends of his, Kelly and Adrian from Smithers, B.C. Neither had any idea the other would be in Oahu. Really, what are the chances?

The day we arrived, the National Weather Service issued a high surf warning, forecasting 25-35 foot waves on the North Shore. The beaches were all closed and I could see few people even braving walks on the shoreline as I rode by, hoping to catch a glimpse of monster wave surfers. I did see one windsurfer out in the roiling mass. His kite jolted wildly back and forth until it dipped low and I lost sight of it. I never did see it come back up.

On Thursday night, we were handed an voluntary evacuation notice with instructions for a nearby shelter that we could go to. We were a little confused about that, especially because our camp site was many hundreds of yards off the shore, so the high surf didn't threaten us. We're in a strange place and inclined to take weather warnings seriously, but there was nothing on the notice that raised any red flags. They were calling for 40 mph sustained winds with 50-60 mph gusts and heavy rain. Similar weather in Juneau is called "autumn." We reinforced our little backpacking tent and hunkered down.

On Friday, the island of Oahu closed all schools and told all non-essential government workers to stay home. I went for a bike ride. It was a little hurricaney, but hardly the kind of weather I think of as "extreme." It was still 75 degrees outside. The drenching felt good.

We headed back down to Honolulu today so Geoff can prepare to run that crazy hard 100-miler tomorrow. We decided to rent a hotel room because it's so much less of a headache than trying to camp close to the race start, which is right in town. A last-minute booking for a $60 room netted us an ocean-view setting on the 43rd floor of one of Waikiki's myriad high-rise hotels. I get a little light-headed if I spend too much time looking out the window, especially with the wind rattling the glass. But I'm excited for Geoff's race tomorrow, and certainly glad I don't have to run it.


  1. Thanks for the warm photos.

    Here in Cleveland, Ohio we have recently experienced a string of sub-zero days. After this week I can't understand how you do what you do in Alaska.

  2. perfect vacation...somehow whenever I hang out with you guys, it always seems to involve cats and/or tuna fish packets too...enjoy Hawaii- looks amazing! can't wait to hear how geoff does on his race...

  3. Similar weather in Juneau is called "autumn."

    Funny stuff. Sounds a lot like me in Northern Minnesota the past few years. School and work closed due to -40 windchills? Heck, I'll go for a ride!

  4. "...a little hurricaney, but hardly...'extreme'"

    Classic. Great pics, too.

    Good luck to Geoff!

  5. Looks like the total opposite of Alaska lol hope ya'll are enjoying your vacation. Beautiful pics!

  6. Who's the pasty looking white guy 2nd from left ?.

  7. What an amazing trip! Enjoy the warm weather!

  8. "I went for a bike ride."

    Says it all.

  9. Enjoy every single second! I went to Hawaii before I rode bikes, but would love to go back someday and explore. I've heard that they have really good trails.

    BTW...I've decided that I'm going to try and find and endurance race to do in Hawaii for next year during the winter time. That was good thinking on Geoff's part :-)

  10. More great photos, thanks Jill. Beautiful shots, although a little glair from all the white Alaskan skin ... lol

  11. your rental bike has the same road tires I do . . . .

  12. This is the second time I've been entertained by Geoff's races while stuck in a village. Thanks! Watch out of those falling coconuts in the wind.

  13. Ok, that's a weird comment from micro1985. Anyway.

    Wishing Geoff good luck in that race! 100 miles. Wow.

    Hope your allergies lighten up and you get to settle into the island pace. I *know* a bunch of triathlete bloggers there if you want to connect for recommendations on bike rides.

  14. I love your weather luck, Jill. Still, I think Hawai'i is beautiful.

    I just checked in to see that Geoff seems to be leading at the 19:05 hour. If for some reason you actually speak to him during this INSANE ordeal that is his running passion, wish him the BEST of luck with the next 30 miles!!

  15. micro 1985...Are there red flags flying all over that or what? Maybe the blog is about some Nigerian who died but left a lot of money that only you can help collect. Be sure to log in with your credit card number. Or maybe not, but I'm not going over there. You guys first.

    Ride that little bike up a volcano yet?

  16. I have been following your blog from St. Paul, MN. Thanks for posting while on vacation. I will be on Oahu this March, also renting from The Bike Shop and would be interested in any tips including routes that you liked the best. How do you like the Allez?


  17. Lance was just in Hawaii to work on climbing. They chronicled it in Bicycling Mag. Something to try, maybe?,6610,s1-4-403-18390-1,00.html?cm_mmc=BicyclingNL-_-2009_01_20-_-training-_-lance_in_kona.

  18. Mirco 1985 is just trying out his English, it's a blog in Japan.

  19. It was good getting to know you last weekend. You guys are fun to be around!!


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