The 2010 Cycle to the Sun challenge will take place on Saturday, Aug. 21, starting at 6:30 a.m. at the Pā‘ia Bypass. Courageous athletes from around the world will participate in this famous trek that follows the longest, steepest paved road on Earth.
Cyclists begin at sea level in Pā‘ia and finish at the top of Haleakalā at 10,023 feet in this extreme test of mind and body stamina. This race also highlights the spirit of community support, as fans rise early to cheer on their cycle heroes, but also in that this year’s proceeds will benefit the Pā‘ia Youth & Cultural Center.
“The Cycle to the Sun is one of the most difficult bike climbs in the world,” said Donnie Arnoult, the race organizer and owner of Go Cycling Maui and The Maui Cyclery.
“Do you dare take the challenge?” The world-famous Cycle to the Sun event takes place this year on Saturday, Aug. 21. This ultra-endurance, uphill expedition begins at sea level in Pā‘ia and climbs 36 miles to the summit of Haleakalā at an altitude of 10,023 feet. Visit www.cycletothesun.com.
Photo: Mitchell Silver at www.maui2000.com
The Cycle to the Sun was first held in the 1980s, but languished for many years. Ka Lima O Maui bought the rights to hold the race and started it back up in 2001.
In 2009, Arnoult became the organizer of the race. Arnoult formerly owned the Vegas Professional Cycling Team on the U.S. National Race Calendar and is a “Cat One” pro.
The difficult annual ride on Maui climbs vertically more than 10,000 feet over 36 miles and reaches inclines up to 14 percent. “As a comparison, the famed Mont Ventou in the Tour de France is only a 5,336-foot climb over 13.6 miles,” said Arnoult.
Not up for the entire challenge? Cyclists can choose from three races: the whole race, which spans 36 miles with an elevation increase of 10,000 feet; the half race, which is 19 miles long 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.
There will be a limit of 200 racers for the whole distance; entries for the half-distance race will not be capped.
Three aid stations will be set up on the course, and those riding the full race will receive transportation for themselves and their bikes from the summit to the Pā‘ia Community Center. (Half-race riders must provide their own transportation back.)
Riders, friends, families and fans can relax and celebrate at the post-race barbecue at 4 p.m., when the winners and prizes will be announced.
The 2010 Cycle to the Sun entry fee is $200 for the whole race, $150 for the half and $250 for the relay—kama‘āina save $25 on each of the three races. By registering before Monday, Aug. 9, all cyclists can avoid the $25 late registration fee. The final day for registering is Thursday, Aug. 19.
Race packets are available for post-register pick-up at Maui Cyclery, at 99 Hāna Highway in Pā‘ia from Wednesday, Aug. 18, through Friday, Aug. 20, at noon.
Submit entries online only; no mail- or walk-in entries will be accepted. Because the race will benefit the nonprofit youth center, fees are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
This year’s race sponsors include Go Cycling Maui, Maui Cyclery, Kapalua Adventures, Voler, Darrah Builders, Michelin, Hammer Nutrition and Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods.
In addition to the thrill and satisfaction of competing in this hardcore challenge, participants will also receive a pair of official race socks and an environmentally friendly, reusable, cloth shopping bag with their race packet.