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2009 Cycle to the Sun

Take an amazing journey for a good cause.

August 13, 2009
Trisha Smith
It can be quite a challenge to get up early enough to catch the magnificent sunrise atop Haleakala, yet residents and visitors continually journey “up top” to view the incomparable sight from the 10,023-foot summit.

And there are diligent “soldiers” who make the trek several times a week for work purposes—the intellect up at the observatories and the tech-savvy individuals who keep systems running efficiently.

There are a variety of bike tours every day coasting down the hill. But the few hundred who are “mad” enough to want to bike up the hill gather each year for the Cycle to the Sun, an uphill 36-mile ride on the “steepest paved road on Earth.”

Riders from all over the world will test their endurance and ascend the challenging path to the sun finishing at the summit inside Haleakala National Park for the 2009 Cycle to the Sun on Sunday morning, Aug. 23.

The race originally began in the ’80s, but disappeared over the years due to poor organization. Kalima O Maui bought the rights and started it up once again in 2001.

This year’s event was organized and produced by Go Cycling Maui and The Maui Cyclery, both owned by Donnie Arnoult, an exceptional competitor in the sport. This will be Arnoult’s second year as organizer, and he hopes that this year’s race can be just as good or even better than last year’s “most successful” event. This year’s beneficiary is the Pa‘ia Youth & Cultural Center.

There are three different race divisions: Full, Half and Full-Relay. (See sidebar on page 2 for details.) There will be a limit of 200 racers for the full distance, yet there will not be a cap regarding entries for the half distance.

All entries must be received by Friday, Aug. 21; entries received after Aug. 7 will incur a late fee of $20. Entries are only taken online this year—no mail-ins or walk-ins. All entry fees are tax-deductible.

Mandatory race packets will be available for pickup at Maui Cyclery from Saturday, Aug. 15, through Saturday, Aug. 22, at noon. Riders must sign a waiver to receive packets.

Make sure your required helmets are shiny—The Travel Channel will be on hand to film the event. Riders will rise and shine early, at 6:30 a.m. sharp, and meet other brave souls at the sea-level starting line at the bottom of Baldwin Avenue in Pa‘ia. Riders are asked to check in at least one hour prior to race time.

There will be three designated aid stations along the way so riders can “refuel” and regroup. This is “an epic ride against the clock.” The race will end at 1 p.m. that afternoon, which gives riders six-and-a-half hours to complete the distance. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in the men’s and women’s “Open” division, with merchandise prizes for the best 10 in all age divisions.

Racers are not allowed to ride down the summit; and shuttles will be provided or riders can utilize their “support/accompanying” vehicles.

There will a post-race barbecue around 4 p.m. (location TBA). Hang out with some great people and replenish the nearly 10,000 calories you’ve just burned off!

The Maui Cyclery Bike Store is located at 810 Kokomo Road., Unit 10A, in Ha‘iku. Call 575-7469 or visit for more information.

Article Photos

Want to experience the ride of your life? Join hundreds of riders on Sunday morning, Aug. 23, for the 2009 Cycle to the Sun. All proceeds benefit the Pä‘ia Youth & Cultural Center. Call 575-7469 for more information. Photo:

Fact Box

Entry Type, Distance, Climb, Cost, Kama‘äina
Whole, 36 miles/60km, 10,000ft/3,048m, $150, $125
Half, 19 miles/31km, 5,500ft/1,676m, $125, $100
Two-Person, 36 miles/60km, 10,000ft/3,048m, $200, $175

All entries must be received by Friday. Aug. 21. A $20 late fee will be applied for entries received after Friday, Aug. 7, so add $20 to figures above.

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