When Randy Reeves told us he rode from sea level to 10,000 feet elevation in one long push while wearing the Veo strip, we had to get more details. We put together a few questions about the ride, and Randy himself, in an effort to inspire other Veo customers to push themselves outside their comfort zones and tackle some buckle list adventures.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the ride?
Well, I'm 56, live in Honolulu and have lived here and on the island of Guam for most of my adult life (mostly Guam actually). I work for the Federal Aviation Administration and have two grown kids. My wife and I made the move to Honolulu last April and are enjoying it here. I've been a lifelong cyclist since my teens, and discovered the sport around 1982. I literally nailed my first pair of cleats on the soles of my shoes. Cycling captured me, and I was romanticized by the European legends. Through the years cycling stayed with me... I evolved along with it.
About the ride... I have been riding with a group here in Honolulu (Velohana), and four of us decided to do a reconnaissance ride up the hill (from Paia to the Haleakala summit) in preparation for the Cycle to the Sun (CTTS) planned for June 25th. Sea level to 10,025 ft in about 37 miles.
How did you prepare for the ride?
Like many things in my life, I am not the best planner and kind of just jump in to things, but knew this would be a recon ride at a relatively low intensity so my game plan was to just pace myself and try to budget my energy stores and not get too excited and frisky at the lower elevations (that was key). Since moving to Hawaii, I've been able to maintain a relatively good fitness base (7-8 hours per week) so the 10,000 ft climb was doable even though I didn't go into the ride with as much training and fitness as I would have preferred. Our group also made a gentlemen's agreement that we would more or less ascend together and regroup as needed if we separated along the way.
What staples did you bring with you during the ride? What bike do you ride?
I didn't carry anything that I don't normally bring with me on rides - I didn't want to introduce anything new into my system that I might regret midway up the climb, so I stuck with my normal go-to nutrition on the bike - Gu, dates (dates are awesome), banana, and granola bars. I've been using Liquid I.V. in my bottles. I have a couple of bikes, and decided on my 2021 Giant TCR SL0 for Haleakala (my other bike is a Giant TCR as well).
Did you have a support crew?
My wife ended up being our support crew and she was amazing... She was reluctant to take on this responsibility considering she had never driven in Maui before, nor driven up Haleakala before with all of the turns and finding the way on her own. We were really fortunate and grateful, especially since it got progressively colder and colder the more we climbed. Too warm for layers at Maui's sea level, so it was great that she carried everything we needed and we could stay light on the way up. We had a long stop in Kula before the entrance to the Haleakala National Park - that's the last stop before entering the park so a good place to get some food and rest before you start hitting the clouds.
How long did the ride take?
We took our sweet time starting off from Kihei on the south shore around 9:30 am... we reached the summit sometime around 2:00 pm. Definitely not race pace (the KOM is 2:30:49!!) with a long stop in Paia and a long rest in Kula.
How did you celebrate/reward yourself post ride?
I've ridden Haleakala before, but it's been close to 20 years now - way before we uploaded our "activities" to the cloud, or tracked our PRs on Strava and other apps. I was hoping to celebrate by riding back down the mountain and enjoying the downhill experience, but ended up throwing my bike in the back of the vehicle because I was so cold and shivering, and felt like I might get hypothermia if I tried to ride down. Ahhhh... Haleakala in January! I grew up in New England, but lost my tolerance for temperatures below 68 degrees from living in the tropics for so long. Again - this was a recon ride... mission accomplished!
What's next for the season?
I'm currently trying to find that "work/ride balance"... Much of my riding has been virtually on Zwift (just made Level 50 yesterday in fact!). I plan to listen to my body and prepare for the June CTTS. The temps at the summit should be more tolerable for me by June, and we might do another recon trip to Maui before the big dance. There are some local races between now and June, so the idea is to keep it fun, stay engaged, and build more fitness. I haven't followed a structured training plan for a couple of years, and I'm focusing more on just enjoying the ride and experience. That said, I'm still hoping to tap into the inner beast mode within me and maybe crack some PRs!
Anything else you think is notable to share? What might be important or of interest to others considering doing this ride or something similar.
Notable - Halekala is certainly notable. The ride is absolutely amazing... the vistas looking out when you're above the clouds at 7,000 ft and beyond are sublime. I remember that the higher I climbed I didn't think of tracking my distance anymore - I was counting feet! One thing is for sure - I couldn't have done it without the extra insulation layers to add as we climbed higher so if somebody wants to do this ride either be prepared to carry what you need with you or have a support vehicle. Also be aware that the change in elevation means less oxygen the higher you get - I could feel it but carried on and did ok - just be mindful and stay in tune with your body. If something doesn't feel right then don't push yourself too hard.