Cycle To The Sun: Saturday’s ‘Grueling’ Maui Race
By Laura Greene
Cyclists from all over the world will descend on Maui this weekend to compete in the annual “Cycle to the Sun” race, described as one of the world’s steepest, most challenging bicycle races.
The event, which starts at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday August 18, will see 200 riders pit their skills against each other in a 36 mile course that climbs from Paia to the summit of Haleakala.
“From beginning to end this race is grueling,” said assistant race organizer Mark Moquin.
“It’s the only race in the world that goes from sea level to 10,000 feet and it is straight up- it doesn’t level out and there is nowhere you can coast. Its very demanding.
“We have pro racers coming from California and Oahu, we have racers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and even as far away as the Czech Republic and Holland.”
Moquin added: “They all come to prove themselves on this course.”
“Cycle to the Sun” is organized by Maui Cyclery and will benefit Paia Youth Center. It begins in Paia, where riders will pedal up Baldwin Avenue to Makawao, then up Olinda Road to Hanamu Road. From there, the ride traverses the switchbacks of the Haleakala Highway and Crater Road ending at the Sliding Sands trailhead.
Riders can choose from three races: the whole race, which travels the full 36 miles from Paia to the summit, the half race which travels 19 miles with an elevation increase of 5,500 feet and the two-person relay, which travels the same distance as the whole race, but is divided between two riders.
Three aid stations will be set up on the course. Those riding the full race will receive transportation for themselves and their bikes from the summit back down to Paia Community Center. (Half race riders must provide their own return transportation.)
Motorists are being urged to exercise caution on the race route: “Please pass cyclists only when there is not traffic in the oncoming lane and leave at least three feet or more between your vehicle and the cyclists,” said race organizer and owner of Maui Cyclery, Donnie Arnoult. “The public is also invited to watch the race and cheer on the riders.”
He added, “Those competitors will really appreciate your encouragement and your aloha.”
Cash prizes will be awarded to the overall top three finishers in the men’s and women’s divisions. Merchandise prizes will be awarded to the top six finishers in all age group divisions.
Some openings are still available for additional competitors. To learn more about the race, view course maps and enter, visit www.cycletothesun.com.
Entries are only taken online; no mail or walk-in entries will be accepted. For additional information or to arrange for a bike rental, call Maui Cyclery at 808-579-9009 or email [email protected]