By Tommy Noyes
When chatting with folks about bicycling for fun and exercise, a frequent observation is, “I love to ride my bicycle, except when I have to climb long hills.”
Apparently, that increased effort can change a joy ride into a workout. For those who rely on bicycling to sustain and build strength and stamina into their 50s, 60s and 70s, a major objective is to regularly give their hearts and muscles good workouts. For them, bicycle riding without any hills to climb would be sort of like doing weight lifting routines where one is only lifting the bar without putting any weights on it.
The epitome of hill climbing for road bicyclists here on Kaua‘i is riding from the coast up to Koke‘e. The annual Pedal to the Meadow bicycle road race is designed for competitive cyclists and those who want to test their mettle.
This year the Pedal to the Meadow (P2M) road race will be held Sunday, May 25, and will be the fifth annual running of this hill-climb race.
Binney and Mary Williamson coordinate the P2M, and the Tradewind Cycling Team presents the event. Registration for a nominal fee is required to participate in the race and sign-up is easy to complete at www.pedaltothemeadow.com. Binney manages the volunteer support, and those who can kokua with ride logistics are asked to send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There are a lot of people who train specifically for this event as it’s the only sanctioned road race on the island,” Mary said. “Last year’s winner will be returning to defend his title. Last year he set the course record at just under one hour, and we keep the course open for three hours.
She said some people set a leisurely pace doing the climb as they take in the scenery.
“But no matter how quickly riders are able to climb to the meadow, every year we enjoy the great camaraderie and welcome competitors from our neighbor islands and from out of state,” Mary said.
On race day, riders gather at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center on the Westside, pedal out to the starting line on Koke‘e Road, and climb past the intersection with Waimea Canyon Drive, then along the Waimea Canyon rim up to the Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Koke‘e State Park.
It is a scenic and steep climb that starts at hot, dry sea level and ends deep in the cool, wet upland forest of the Garden Isle’s interior. The finish-line celebrations and award ceremony are conducted in conjunction with Koke‘e’s famous Banana Poka RoundUp.
For the first time this year, many of the riders will be wearing the event’s custom jersey, designed Robert Rekward using an illustration by Michelle Dick.
Dick is an award-winning artist whose intricate and beautiful designs tell stories about Hawaii’s people and culture. Her art can be found at the Koke‘e Museum in Koke‘e State Park.
- Tommy Noyes works for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness branch, serves on Kaua‘i Path’s board of directors, and is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.