Maui's famous Cycle to the Sun, described as the world's steepest paved bike race, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. This race, which attracts cyclists from across the U.S. and other countries, covers 36 miles from the sea-level town of Pa'ia to a 10,000-foot-high point on the summit of Haleakala. The event is a benefit for Pa'ia Youth Center.
The public is invited to view the race and cheer on the competitors. All motorists are asked to use caution and show aloha to the riders along the racecourse, which follows Baldwin Avenue from Pa'ia to Makawao, then up Olinda Road to Hanamu Road. The ride traverses the switchbacks of Haleakala Highway and Crater Road through Upcountry Maui and into Haleakala National Park, ending at the Sliding Sands trailhead at about 10,000 feet in elevation. Gradients along the way reach up to 18 percent.
Cyclists interested in participating in this epic ride can register until Thursday, Aug. 23. Riders can register individually or as a three-person relay team. The entry fee is now $225 for the individual full race, or $375 for the three-person team. Kama'aina rates are available for Hawai'i residents with valid identification.
Cycle to the Sun attracts cyclists from around the world.
Photo: Mike Adrian
Due to national park limitations, only 200 entries for the individual and relay races (combined) can be accepted. Once 200 entries are received, entry will be closed.
"This is one of those unforgettable races--a true test of strength, skills and guts," said Donnie Arnoult, race organizer and owner of Maui Cyclery in Pa'ia. "It's the race everyone at home will want to hear about. Sign up early so you won't get shut out."
Arnoult, a category-one bicycle racing pro and former owner of the Vegas Professional Cycling Team, admits that simply completing the race is an accomplishment.
"We have a post-race barbecue at the end of the day, where all of the competitors celebrate their accomplishments and swap stories about the rigors of the ride," said Arnoult. "Some of the comments we've heard in past years include 'the ultimate challenge for a cyclist,' 'the best ride of my life,' and 'after challenging this mountain, I now understand love-hate relationships.'"
There will be three aid stations for the participants. The first will be at the 3,000-foot level (near Kula Lodge); the second will be at the 6,500-foot level (just outside the entrance to Haleakala National Park); and the last will be at the 8,000-foot level.
Transportation for riders and their bikes will be available from the finish line back to Pa'ia. Race participants will not be allowed to cycle down from the summit.
Participants in the three-way relay must arrange for their own transportation for themselves and their bikes at the changeover points, which will be located at about 2,700 feet and 6,500 feet.
Each entry will receive a race T-shirt and a reusable cloth shopping bag. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three in the "Open Division" for men and for women.
Merchandise prizes will be awarded to the top six in all age group divisions. The divisions are: 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70-plus.
For additional information, visit www.cycletothesun.com.