Aloha HURT friends and other friends, (From Matt Stevens)
I'm writing to briefly detail my recent meanderings on Maui and officially post a challenge to any HURT person out there interested in a steak dinner. Here is a link to some photo's, click here.
This past week, I went to Maui with my bicycle with a simple plan: ride up Haleakala, strap my road bike on my back, hike through the crater and down Kaupo Gap, and then ride back to the airport via Hana. I did not succeed for a variety of factors, but I feel that I have scouted the challenge sufficiently for a successful bid the next time I'm over. Till then, I got a steak dinner for anyone who can make it.
Here's how my attempt came undone. The first day was a killer. Had about 25 pounds of gear distributed on my back tire and backpack. Up the steep portions of the 26 mile ride to the ranger station (7,000 ft), I had to be out of the saddle, and my back had its work cut out for itself. After getting permits and funny looks, I strapped the bike on at Hosmer Grove for the 6 mile walk up and into the crater for a stay at Holua. Because of poor loading, I gritted my teeth for 3 hrs. to get to Holua, where I had the good fortune of making friends with an older guy who invited me into the cabin for the night and gave me a couple cups of hot coffee.
The next day, I woke up, and couldn't possibly see making it down Kaupo with the rig. I made the decision to leave the bike at Holua and head across the crater. Because I made such good time, I decided to just continue on down to the church at Kaupo, rewarding myself with a cold drink at Kaupo store and a nice swim at the beach. The next day, I huffed it back up Kaupo to Paliku, and camped under the stars there for a night. On my fourth day, I came back across the crater, got the bike, and headed back out to the road via Halemau'u. However, this time, I put some thought to it, top-loaded the frame on the pack and carried the wheels as walking sticks, which worked out perfectly. Because of this new technique, I now know that the Kaupo descent, while being a killer, would certainly be workable. I polished off the fourth day by stashing my pack in some bushes, summitting with only my bike, and then camping at Hosmer Grove, where I hung out with some pseudo-rastafarian Canadians who enjoyed playing a dijereedoo that they lugged all around Maui. Early the next morning, I descended with the "rig" down to the ocean for a day of rest.
Vital stats of my four day trip:
Riding miles with "rig": 42
Riding miles with out rig: 30
Hiking miles with rig: 10
Hiking miles without rig: 29
Total mileage: 111
Total gain and loss over 4 days: 35,800 ft.
According to the rangers, I'm the first to try this, so I feel that I have
the right to set the groud rules for the steak dinner challenge.
1. The true record will involve getting your whole rig all the way to the summit, and not wussying out like I did by going in at Halemau'u.
2. Don't ever to be too proud to accept charity along the way, although reserving the cabins, and thus not needing to carry a sleeping bag, bivouac and warm clothes would be a violation of rules.
3. Your not allowed to rent a car. The joys of having no base to work from,and thus trying to sweet talk various employees of businesses to help you out along the way are all parts of the challenge.
4. You must carry a Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, and be willing to listen to God when He speaks to you (He will on this journey!)
I hereby offer the following gems of wisdom for the next attempter of this feat:
1. Tell as few people as possible of your intentions. When your five miles into the crater next to a cinder cone, and your back is killing you because you got a Cannondale on your back, the last thing you need is your conscience reminding you of any vain self-glorifying bragging you were doing to Bob and Louise from Georgia up by the trailhead. Just put your head down and be the mule that you were born to be as ultra person!!!
2. Take the skewers out of your wheels when walking with them so that they don't hit you in the back of the knees, but don't lose them! (you'll want them later!)
3. Don't eat an all dried fruit/energy bar diet on day one, lest you suffer the explosive but somehow intriguing effects of high altitude flatulence (a real medical term in ultrarunning, I've since been informed.) 4. Its ok to occasionally cry for your mommy when out there and suffering, although you should have the decency to do it at inconspicuous places along the way.
5. If you love cycling, be prepared for the great temptation of the trip: as you destroy yourself riding up, your going to think to yourself, "why am I going to sacrifice the joy of one of the greatest descents on earth for killing my legs with my bike on my back down 6,500 ft of Kaupo?!" Be ready for this thought: its powerful.
6. One of the great things about this adventure is that its very easy to start conversations with people along the way. They usually went something like this:
Me: Hey, howzit going?
Them: Hey moron, what's with the bike?
Lastly, on a slightly more serious note, I went out to the mountain to draw nearer to God, trusting that He would faithfully draw nearer to me. While out there, I also read a book by John Piper called "The Pleasures of God." While out there, I had the joy of meditating on the fact that God enjoys His own creation even more than we do, and He ultimately wants us to enjoy His creation in a close relationship with himself, the great Creator. I also meditated and allowed myself to believe that what He said in Zephaniah really is true: that God "delights in us" and "rejoice over us with singing" when we submit our wills and hearts to Him, trusting that He will be a far more sufficient ruler of our lives than we can be for ourselves. This in spite of all the ways I have dishonored the name of God in my life! What joy and peace! I pray that each of us would always allow the creation to point you back to hungering even more to know, be loved by, and love the Creator. Submission to Jesus truly does bring the fullest extent of adventure, beauty and intimacy that we go to the mountains and ocean in search of. Let your deep desires lead you to the Source.
Hope to be buying someone a steak dinner soon,
A special note to the HURT gang. While out there, many folks simply shook their head and said, "Man, it must be good to still be young and able to do this!" I was tempted at times to tell them that I have a bunch of friends twice my age who routinely do things twice as dumb/hard as this, but somehow I didn't think they'd believe me. If you got the love and the will to train, regardless of age....GAME ON! (: