Inaugural No Ka Oi SufferFest Lives Up To Its Billing!!!

TomaszewskiImgp3377Imgp3422Imgp3546_1 Imgp3539and Stevens Finish the No Ka Oi SufferFest in Record Time

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Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote that only beauty and pain can truly penetrate the human soul.  This past weekend’s SufferFest had plenty of both to go around! 

Day One had us riding from Kahului to the Seven Sacred Pools at Kipahulu with packs.  Day Two was riding to Kaupo and then ascending Kaupo Gap to Paliku (6,500 ft.) with bikes and packs on back.  Day Three involved summitting Haleakala (10,023 ft.) with bikes on back and then descending. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights, lowlights, and the just plain dumb:

Highlights, in order of enjoyment:

  • Taking our packs off at the end of each day!
  • Finding water at Paliku.  Jeff was particularly concerned because I told him 3/4 the way up Kaupo Gap that the water at Paliku was from catchment.  Thirsty and running low on H20, all the bone dry waterfall troughs were making him a bit nervous!
  • Descending 10,023 ft. on road bikes.
  • Knowing that with a little patience and laughter, we could do it.
  • Crashing the exclusive Hana Ranch Resort for a 1.5 hr. nap in their oceanside hammocks after 60 miles of tough up and down riding on the winding Hana Highway.  A few questioning looks from the resort staff failed to deter us in the least! 

Lowlights, in order of difficulty:

  • Kaupo Gap took us over 9 hours to get up.  6500 vertical feet in only 8 miles is utterly brutal with a 25 lb. pack and a unruly 20 lb. bike strapped to it, not to mention the wheels you are carrying.  We took many naps, remained patient while our derailers and handlebars were grabbed by branches, and dreamed of getting to Paliku and sleeping under the stars!  Many times, we nearly knocked one another unconscious or poked eyes out when one of us would turn too quickly or unannounced, sending the protruding handlebars off the side of the pack into the other guys face. 
  • Both our legs and aerobic systems held up fine, but our shoulders and backs were aching pretty well by the time we summitted on the third day.
  • Waking up at 3:00 AM Saturday morning to catch our 5:05 AM flight.  However, watching the prologue of the Tour at 2:30AM did get me pumped up for our ride to Hana.  Go Hincapie!
  • Fighting with my bike to get it into the box for the plane.
  • Making wry jokes about using EPO since it seems everybody on the Tour is hitting it pretty hard. 

Vital Stats of the SufferFest:

Miles on bike with packs: 108

Miles hiking with packs: 19

Altitude gained on bike: 4,000 ft. (rough estimate of Hana Highway hills from Kahului to Kaupo)

Altitude lost on bike: 14,023 ft.

Altitude gained on hike: 10,023 ft.

Official Finish Results:

  • Jeff and Matt tied for first place with a final time of 3 days, 7 hrs, 29 min and 22 seconds.  However, Matt and Jeff both took sprint points on two 40 meter sprint prem’s that occurred on Kaupo and near the summit.  Dirty tactics were allowed since no judges were present.
  • Both recieved one free Jamba Juice coupon for the win, and one Jamba Juice coupon for setting a new course record. 

A future SufferFest, you ask?

  • Brainstorming has been initiated about an innovative way to touch foot in Kona, Hilo and then the summit of Mauna Kea in the course of three days.  More to come!