The Haleiwa Metric Century Ride is now in its 25th year. It starts just down the road from where I live on the north shore. Close enough that I can leisurely ride my bike to the start line, pick up my packet, take the schwag bag back to my house and make it back to the start line all in the time span of about 25 minutes. The route is all on open roads and takes you from Haleiwa down the Kamehameha highway past Turtle bay and down the Windward side to Kaaawa where you turn around and head back to Haleiwa. The route is scenic but also moderately to heavily trafficked. Luckily with over 1000 rides on the course and police providing traffic control along the route most of the drives behaved well. All in all it was a great event and if you have the chance and are comfortable riding with cars I would highly recommend you try it.
The ride is difficult but not terribly so. The route is pretty much flat so I decided to upgrade the difficulty by riding my Specialized Epic instead of my Norco Tactic. I started my self in the middle of the pack thinking that with me being on a mountain bike and everyone else on road/TT/Tri bikes that I would get dropped by most of the field. I was wrong. As the race started I quickly realized that my fitness (or my willingness to push it on this ride) relative to the rest of the pack more than made up for the increased weight and resistance of my Epic. I must say that there is a sweet satisfaction that comes from dropping pack after pack of roadies on a full suspension mountain bike. I must have passed about 200-300 riders between Haleiwa and Pupukea. Once I got past Turtle Bay the route turned into a head wind and the extra drag from my bike really put the hurt on. I probably gave back about 50 spots. Most of those I made up, however, by blowing by the first two aid stations and taking only a short stop at the turn around aid station. On the way back I had a tail wind and put down some more power to grab back a few more spots. By the time I pulled back into Haleiwa I was feeling pretty well spent but had enough left in the tank for the obligatory sprint across the finish line. What do you mean "its not a race"? Those words have no meaning.
Overall I averaged 15mph with my aid station stops included, 16.2mph if you only count moving time and finished in about 3 hours and 50 minutes. As I looked at all the people on bling road bikes I had left in the dust one fact really struck home with me. Bikes are awesome. It’s fun to obsess over them, tweak them, yearn over that new tech that give your bike that next bump in performance however slight it may be. But it is important not to forget that the most important component on your bike is YOU. That was the biggest lesson I took away from my time at the Haleiwa Metric Century ride last weekend. Don’t let the type of bike you have hold you back from getting out there and riding. Your own capability, your own will, and your own sense of enjoyment are the most important components in any ride or race. People have been riding bikes and loving it for well over a century. The bike you have RIGHT NOW is fine. Throw a leg over it and ride it. Once you get back you can stop by the local bike shop and spend all your money.