Category Archives: Bike

Bad: Change Just for the Sake of Change

Richard Ha writes:

Things are moving fast in terms of energy, and nobody knows, right now, where we are heading. Where we end up will not only shape our own futures, but it will also determine how easy or hard our children’s and grandchildren’s lives are.

The PUC just told HECO that the utility had better change what it’s doing, and HECO responded that it will. But there are lots of moving parts to this situation, and none of us know where things are going. 

Change merely for the sake of change is not wise, and it’s worrisome. We need to conscientiously adapt to conditions with careful consideration and purpose. We must have a smart vision, and work toward that vision.

Henry Curtis wrote that Energy Futurists Need Open Minds:

“…stakeholders and regulators need open dialogue on a variety of future scenarios.

And yet, although there are at least four different ways the future can unfold, many are gambling their careers by assuming that the Smart Grid scenario is the future and therefore all other scenarios can be ignored.

Later this month the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would hold public meetings to discuss their Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

The feds want to use the 1300-page document to develop guidance on how the DOE can fund the Smart Grid future.  They too have ignored the alternatives at their own peril….”

Being “first in the world” at something is a risky proposition. It’s far better to copy the first in the world. Folks who attempt to be first in the world frequently fail, and the question here is, who is going to pay if we try something and we fail?

From my perspective, it seems clear that we want a future that leaves no one behind and makes us competitive with the rest of the world.

Take mountain bikes, for example. Nowadays they have shock absorbers, multiple gears, lightweight material and instrumentation that aids the rider. The tool kit is very light and efficient. But the heart of the system, the wheels, are still round.

Say we want to improve a bicycle to win a race. Do we make a unicycle? A bicycle with every innovation but only one wheel? 

We need to be clear about what we want. It’s better to carefully consider the heart of the bike, which is its rider and energy source. Do we want the leanest, meanest bicycle rider – i.e., the best and cheapest energy source? Or a one-wheeled bicycle? Do we want a bicycle with fenders, flaps, mirrors, titanium saddlebags and just an average or slow rider?

Mina Morita, Chair of the PUC, likened the electric grid to an ‘auwai. It’s the irrigation system that keeps a lo‘i alive.

Certainly what we are looking for as we reshape our energy future is a combination of things. We need to make careful choices that make good sense in the long run. We can’t change merely for change’s sake. It’s going to be a long race, and we want to come out ahead.


Riding Along

Richard Ha writes:

On January 7th, I started on a program to lose a half-pound per week.

Weight on Jan. 7, 2007: 204.5 lbs.
Weight on Sunday, Mar. 18th: 198.5 lbs.
Target weight yesterday was 199.5 lbs.

I am 1.0 lbs ahead of schedule.
I gained .5 lbs. this week.

My resting heart rate was 57 beats per minute. As long as it’s in the 50s, I consider that good.

I trained twice this week instead of the five or six days I normally do. After spending the last two weeks on special, one-time work projects, I spent a lot of this week catching up and I lost focus. If I had planned properly, I could have fit in the exercise. I must remember to put my exercise time as the highest priority.

Two days this week I rode my bike for 90 minutes. A circuit that normally takes me an hour only took me 50 minutes. That was surprising. But then I was very well-rested.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot lose weight by exercise alone. I think I need to really concentrate on how many calories I’m taking in. I’ve tried to work around that. But I don’t think that there is any alternative for me. In contrast, my friend Mike Tanabe tells me he can eat anything he wants. He’s in his late 50s and is an elite mountain bike rider. I’m far from that caliber of bike rider.

I now have four weeks left to prepare for the Poker Run. I plan to train this week at a medium high rate, next week at a high rate and at a moderate rate during the third week. I’ll take the fourth week off except for easy riding, and that should be good enough preparation for the Poker Run.



On January 7th, I started on a program to lose a half pound per week.

Weight on Jan. 7, 2007: 204.5 lbs.
Weight on Sunday, Mar. 4th: 198.4 lbs.

Target weight yesterday was 200.5 lbs.
I am 2.1 lbs ahead of schedule.

I’m getting in shape for a mountain bike “Poker Run” on April 15:

Monday – Forty minutes on the elliptical training, plus some weight lifting (three sets of 10 reps).

Tuesday – Cross-country hill climbs on the farm. There is a 35-minute course with three steep hills. Next week, I’ll do one of those hills twice.

Wednesday – Sixty easy minutes on the elliptical.

Thursday – Forty minutes on the elliptical, plus weight lifting (three sets of 10 reps). I’m working toward four sets and increased weight. Last week, I did four sets of 25 crunches. This week, two of those sets were done with five-pound weights behind my head.

Friday – I rode Banana Hill, which is 45 minutes straight up. I’m improving; it wasn’t so painful.

Saturday – Rest.

Sunday – I rode for three hours. I am a little ahead of schedule with my weight loss, so next week I’ll take it easy and do two and a half hours. Then the following week, three hours and the week after that three hours and 30 minutes.

I am increasing my training intensity and so far, so good. Every third week, I’ll decrease the intensity so that I don’t injure myself.

Training is something I like to do. It’s much easier for me than controlling calorie intake. It is what it is and I’m not agonizing about it.



Richard Ha writes:

On January 7th, I started on a program to lose a half pound per week.

Weight on Jan. 7, 2007: 204.5 lbs.
Weight on Sunday, Feb. 25th: 199.6 lbs.
Target weight today: 201.0 lbs.

I am 1.4 lbs ahead of schedule.

Last week, I wrote that I’m in training for a mountain bike Poker Run on April 15th. My plan is to be able to ride my bike for three continuous hours by then.

Today I rode for two hours and 35 minutes at an average heart rate of 126 beats per minute. I’ll probably be able to do three hours within two more weeks.

Although I was not able to go this week, I still plan to practice in Kulani twice per week. This past week, I did a cross country ride through the farm, going up and down four hills. This week I’ll add one more hill, and so on. The whole ride takes less than an hour.

It’s obvious to me, though, that the single most effective thing I can do to increase my performance on April 15th is to lose weight. So in between the heavy training, I’ll spend at least an hour per day burning fat at a very low heart rate. I say a “very low heart rate” because my objective is to avoid training so hard that it affects my training schedule. This takes a lot of self discipline. One needs to force oneself not to charge, and train too hard.


Poker Run

Richard Ha writes:

January 7th I started on a program to lose a half pound per week.

Weight on Jan. 7, 2007: 204.5 lbs.

Weight on Sunday, Feb. 18th, 2007: 200.3 lbs.

Target weight today: 201.5 lbs.

I am 1.2 pounds ahead of target. Resting heart rate is 64 beats per minute, which is 10 beats per minute higher than usual. This probably means I am not completely recovered from two hours on my bike yesterday.

I’m training for a Poker Run on April 15th. I just learned about this from Chris Seymour, elite mountain biker and owner of the Hilo Bike Hub. It’s a mountain bike event where jugs, with playing cards in them, hang from trees along the way. You collect one card from each jug you come upon. The further you go, the more cards you collect. And at the end of the day the best poker hand wins. This will be a fun ride.

The route is long and tough. Chris told me there will be a beginners’ loop, which will continue on as the advanced riders’ loop. When I asked him how long it would take, he said it might take him 45 minutes or so for each. I know it would take me at least two hours for the beginner loop. This is off road, and there is a world of difference.

On Monday, when I first heard about it, I thought the Poker Run sounded interesting. On Wednesday, I thought, “Hmm.” By Friday, it was “Where am I, and what do I need to do?” On Saturday, I took a two hour ride. On Sunday, I was totally committed.

I have eight weeks to train before the Poker Run. My goals:

• To be able to ride continuously for three hours by systematically increasing the length of my long rides.
• To be comfortable riding off road by practicing in Kulani twice a week.
• To increase my ability to ride at high heart rates for short frequent bursts by doing off road hill climbs, where I reach high heart rates for short periods.

What would help me the most is losing weight. I’m like a 170 pound guy in fairly good shape who’s carrying a 30 pound pack. Any weight I lose between now and then will allow me to go faster for a longer time. So I plan to cut way back on sugars and fats. I’ll be careful to eat the amount of carbs and proteins I need, but not go much over. I’m eating salads every night.

Now I have real motivation to lose weight. I have a hard time getting motivated by things such as, “You will look better,” etc. But mention a race and I can really relate and focus.

I’m busy making up my training schedule. This will be a lot of fun.


Face Plants

Richard Ha writes:

One last holiday meal to go, and then it’s back to serious weight losing. Besides the usual holiday parties, we have had several birthday parties, a wedding and a homecoming from Iraq. I gained a lot of weight. I am now 202.7 pounds.

I’ve been coming to the conclusion that calorie intake is more effective than exercise when trying to lose weight. I’ve decided to use the plan that has worked so well for Leslie, with one modification–cutting out an occasional evening meal.

Leslie eats three normal meals and two controlled-calorie snacks in between, and that’s all. The key to her success seems to be that she does not eat anything after the evening meal–not even a grape, she says. She gets results with very little exercising. This takes more discipline than I have.

My brother Kenneth told me he has been able to maintain low body fat over the years by cutting out an occasional evening meal. He otherwise eats three large meals daily.

I hadn’t considered that, but I fasted before seeing the doctor this past Friday and it was fairly easy to do. That will give me a safety valve when I drift a little from Leslie’s routine.

My new plan is to eat 2000 calories per day broken up into three meals and two controlled-calorie snacks. If I start to gain more than a half pound or hit a plateau, I’ll cut out an entire evening meal.

Last week I wrote that Chris Seymour, the owner of Hilo Bike Hub, was going to take me, my son Brian and Rodrigo Romo on a tour of the Kulani mountain bike trails.

We were really fortunate to have Chris take us on the Kulani Trail ride Tuesday. He is a different class of bike rider from the average person. He just participated in a “from the ocean to the top of the mountain” bike ride. As in, put your toes in the ocean at Hilo Bay and then ride nonstop to the top of Mauna Kea.

He showed us how to navigate the trails on our own. It may have been 10 years since I was on those trails last, and it’s really confusing in there. It all started coming back. Now I can go back again without getting lost.

I went over the handlebars three times, Brian got lost in the forest and Rodrigo did a “face plant” on a log crossing. I had forgotten how much fun mountain biking was.

We parked at the quarry, where mountain bike riders and illegal target shooters uneasily share parking. We rode around the block and entered the “Criterium Trail.” I remember having a conversation with someone once about this trail being down range and running across the target range’s line of sight. I think we agreed that it might be below the crest of the hill. Whatever we discussed, I decided I was going to ride with my head low, just in case.

On the gravel road around the block, I came across a diagonal eucalyptus branch about 3 inches in diameter. I made sure that my front tire hit it square and not on an angle, and Chris nodded approvingly. But I was uneasy because I did not lift my front wheel enough. I was leaning too far forward and did not coordinate the front wheel lift, the power stroke and the unweighting of the back tire. Then we came upon a steep rutted downhill and I wondered if I was going too fast or too slow. The disc brakes were working really well. Too well—I was locking up my front and back wheels with one finger and a light touch.

I saw Chris and Rodrigo enter the “Criterium Trail” and they disappeared. As soon as I entered it, memories started coming back. Stay loose and hit the roots square or they’ll just suck your front wheel out from under. Why am I drifting off the trail for no reason at all? Hold the brakes, go easy on the front brake or you’re going over the handlebar. Watch out for those rocks—some look solid enough to roll over but some are loose. While I was concentrating on those things the trails drifted off to the right.

Then it occurred to me that I need to be loose on the bike. One needs to change the center of gravity on the bike so you can react quickly. This means you cannot just sit on the seat and expect to get through without something bad happening.

Uh oh. Here comes some rocks and a big root running diagonally down the trail and then the trail jogs to the left and drops off downhill real quickly, and on the bottom is a big root going straight across the trail. Information overload. I’m out of position on the bike—leaning too far forward while going downhill approaching the root. I know I need to unload the front of the bike so I can clear the root.

But too many things are going on and next thing I know I’m over the handlebar and on my back with the bike on top of me. Brian is asking me if I’m all right. I think that he is following to babysit me. I hate that.

I flip the bike on top of me one more time and make my way out of the trail, where the guys are waiting. My heart rate hit 166. I’m not exhausted, but I decide to go back to the truck so I don’t hold them back.

Soon Chris and Rodrigo ride up, looking for Brian. They can’t find him. Eventually Brian shows up and Chris suggests we ride the roads. As we ride along, Chris points out trails that Brian and Rodrigo can take, which will meet up with us further ahead.

He shows us a log crossing where there are two log obstacles to cross. The second one has a ramp up and over it. But you need to make the first log under control in order to ride up and over the ramp on the second.

Chris and Rodrigo make it over nicely the first few times. I take off, but flip over the handlebars again. Not hurt, I decide to go easy.

Rodrigo is an aggressive rider. On his fourth time over, he charges the first log and clears it easily and then gets over the second log with some speed, but his front tire falls off the plank and he crashes head first and is lying under his bike face down. Chris tells him to lay there and not to try to get up too quickly.

Rodrigo is fine. Chris says, “That’s why they call it a face plant.” Rodrigo has paid his dues. He left some skin in the Kulani Trails.

After that we head back up the road and Brian and Rodrigo duck in and out of trails and we all take the last one that ends up back at the quarry. It took 90 minutes over all. For me, it was an occasional really high heart rate and lots of cruising in between. The others spent more time in the actual trails. My heart rate spiked up over 160 five times and hit 172. I am actually in better shape than when I first tried the Kulani Trails many years ago. This will be lots of fun, especially when I reach a lower body weight.

Rodrigo is probably thinking of how he’s going to successfully ride and clear the log obstacles next time. Me? I’m thinking of how I’m going to run or carry my bike over them without losing too much time.


Nodding Vigorously

Richard Ha writes:

I’m under 200 lbs., just barely.

I lost .6 pounds this week.

My goals: To lose one pound per week for 39 weeks, and to get my resting heart rate below 50 beats per minute.

Today’s weight: 199.5 lbs.
This week’s target weight was 199.6 lbs. 
I am .1 lbs. ahead of schedule.

Starting weight on 5/23/06: 214.6 lbs.
End goal, on 2/18/07: 175 lbs.
Since 5/23, I have lost 15.1 lbs.

On 5/23, my resting heart rate was 65 beats per minute.
Today’s resting heart rate: 52 beats per minute. *

* This goes down as one gets into better shape. Lance Armstrong’s is said to be 32. George W’s was reported to be 47 beats per minute. Out of shape, mine is in the 70s. My best was 52 many years ago and this week I’m there again.


I broke 200 lbs., and hit my lowest resting heart rate of 52 beats per minute this week. This is cause for celebration. I’m going to call our friends Dan and Linda Nakasone and invite them to celebrate at Alan Wong’s restaurant with June and me.

I was finally able to do an intensive bike ride and not have to take off the following days to recover. On Wednesday, Rodrigo Romo and I went up Banana Hill. It was funny because at the beginning, Rodrigo was holding a regular conversation with me. At first I answered, and then as we were further along I nodded and answered in three-word sentences. As we rode higher, I held up my end of the conversation by nodding vigorously.

Then, while I was trying to keep myself together, Rodrigo took a business call on his cell. I’m sure the person on the other end of the phone had no idea Rodrigo was on his bike climbing Banana Hill. As for me, I kept my game face on, taking really deep breaths in case I needed to make a one-word sentence.

But this was better than the first three times I rode the hill. This time, I did it in three intervals. The first stop, just above Damasco’s house, I hit a heart rate of 140+.

Rodrigo kept on cruising up the hill and although I kept falling behind, I did fairly well, for me. I actually rode straight up; I didn’t have to ride side-to-side, searching for flat ground in first gear. On that segment, I hit a 160+ heart rate. Very good.

I stopped on the intersection of Susie and Danny’s house road to get my heart rate below 120, and then rode up to the forest line where it climbed back up to 150 again.

This was the part that Rodrigo was looking forward to—the downhill. I asked him to go first and he took off, coasting downhill. I followed behind, making sure my brakes were working well. As I started rolling faster and faster, this question came to mind: “Are you sure you locked the front wheel down?” I wasn’t sure.

The faster I rolled, the more another thought crept to the front. “You do remember that you don’t bounce very well anymore, right?” That was what I learned when I crashed a dirt bike many years ago, and broke a couple of ribs and a collarbone.

So I balanced all those thoughts and went as fast as I dared under the circumstances. By the time we were three-quarters of the way down, I had fallen quite a ways back and pedaled as hard as I could to lessen the gap.

When we hit the bottom, I asked Rodrigo how fast he’d been going. He had hit 39 miles per hour, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t pedal at all. I hit 26 mph. But that’s okay, considering how well I bounce nowadays.

That was Wednesday. On Thursday, I got on the elliptical and did 500 calories worth at a slow speed, and on Friday I forced myself to do it again. On Saturday, I felt rested and I increased the intensity. This is a big deal to me because in previous weeks I’ve had to take two days off after bike rides.

Recently I’ve been losing a half-pound per week. I hope to resume losing a pound per week from here forward. We’ll see.


Shedding Pounds and Picking up Awards

Richard Ha writes:

I lost .5 lbs. this week.

My goal: To lose one pound per week for 39 weeks

Today’s weight: 200.7 lbs.
This week’s target weight was 201.6 lbs. 
I am .9 lbs. ahead of schedule

Starting weight on 5/23/06: 214.6 lbs.
End goal, on 2/18/07: 175 lbs.
Since 5/23, I have lost 13.9 lbs.

On 5/23, my resting heart rate was 65 beats per minute
Today’s resting heart rate: 57 beats per minute.* (after 2 cups of coffee)

* This goes down as one gets into better shape. Lance Armstrong’s is said to be 32. George W’s was reported to be 47 beats per minute. Out of shape, mine is in the 70s. My best was 52 many years ago.


I lost half a pound this week. I started riding my bike, and because of the increase in intensity I had to rest for two days. Based on how rested I feel today, I should be back on track with my workouts this week.

On Wednesday, Rodrigo and I rode our bikes from the farm down to the ocean and back. We went over the highway and down Banyan Tree Road through an open gate–the same one featured on the front page of the Tribune-Herald a few days later because it was blocked with boulders—and down to the ocean access road. We headed north and stopped at the main fishing spots to see what was going on.

The coastline is falling into the ocean there and pine trees with most of their roots exposed are barely hanging on. We saw a few turtles floating on the surface, and even a flock of seabirds gliding in and out of a sea cave as if with the wave motion.

Rodrigo’s comfortable pace is much faster than mine. Of course, he’s a couple of decades younger than me. If he had not stopped to wait for me, he would have been halfway home by the time I reached the top. It was a good reminder that I still have a ways to go with my training.

The week before, Rodrigo had ridden the Kulani trails for the first time, and he commented on how challenging and active the trails were. In Tucson, he used to ride to work on a 15-mile loop several days per week, and he’s been riding a similar trail since they moved to the Big Island a couple of months ago.

He said that the Kulani trails are different in that you tend to be outside your comfort zone. The terrain is varied and the trail is such that one needs to accelerate, decelerate, maneuver though and around roots and rocks and trees and branches the whole way. To make it more interesting, the person he rode with was an advanced rider/racer.

My goal is still to ride in Kulani and have fun. In order to do this, I need to weigh no more than 175 pounds and be in good aerobic shape. I’ve got a long way to go. But I do know what I need to do.

We have some news and here’s even a bit of entertainment:

We were going to wait to announce that Ha Ha Ha! has been selected as a Typepad featured blog and will appear on its homepage on September 1st.

But when we started checking out Typepad’s featured blogs, we enjoyed this one from the San Jose Mercury News so much that we wanted to share it.

It features two Chinese guys lip-synching to Jessica Simpson, the Black Eyed Peas and others. These guys are big in China and they are hilarious. Check it out.

We’ll come back and tell you more about the Typepad thing when it’s time.


Gaining Weight

Richard Ha writes:

I gained .6 lbs. this week.

My goal: To lose one pound per week for 39 weeks
Starting weight on 5/23/06: 214.6 lbs.
End goal, on 2/18/07: 175 lbs.

This week’s target weight: 202.6 lbs.
Today’s actual weight: 201.2 lbs. 7/23/06
I am 1.4 lbs. ahead of schedule

Since 5/23, I have lost 13.4 lbs.

On 5/23, my resting heart rate was 65 beats per minute
Today’s resting heart rate: 55 beats per minute.*

* This goes down as one gets into better shape. Lance Armstrong’s is said to be 32. George W’s was reported to be 47 beats per minute. Out of shape, mine is in the 70s. My best was 52 many years ago.


I gained weight this week and it’s starting to worry me.

I’ve read in a lot of places that one can expect to come to a weight loss plateau. And I am in the middle of one right now. So I need to increase the duration of exercise or the intensity or both.

The routine that I had settled into felt harder when I started it three months ago. I must have adapted fairly well as it feels very easy now. Maybe too easy. I believe that I need to get back to the original feeling of difficulty in order to start losing weight again.

I notice that a heart rate of 118 per minute seems to feel the same as when I first started. I’ll increase from the 110 beats per minute that I’ve been doing lately to 118 beats per minute and see what happens.

Last week, I rode my mountain bike up Banana Hill for the first time. It was tougher than I remembered. I made it to the bottom of the last steep climb before I had to stop to rest. I’ll be riding my bike several times per week and should improve steadily.

To recap: I’ll ride my bike twice per week and that will automatically increase intensity. I’ll do the other five days at a heart rate of 118 per minute or so. This will still be fairly easy. But it will be slightly more strenuous that the 110 or so that I had settled into.

Hopefully, this will get me pass this plateau that I am stuck at. Fortunately, I am 1.4 lbs. ahead of schedule.


There is Hope

Richard Ha writes:

Goal: lose one pound per week for 39 weeks
Starting weight on 5/23/06: 214.6 lbs.
End goal, on 2/18/07: 175 lbs.

This week’s target weight: 207.6 lbs.
Today’s actual weight: 204.6 lbs. 7/9/06
I am 3 lbs. ahead of schedule

I lost 3.8 lbs since last week
Weight loss since 5/23: 10 lbs.

Resting heart rate 5/23: 65 beats per minute
Today’s resting heart rate 55 beats per minute.*
* This goes down as one gets into better shape. Lance Armstrong is said to be at 32 beats per minute. My lowest was 52 beats per minute many years ago.

Baby Boomers, there is hope.

It is now really clear that the heart of my weight loss program is exercise.

If one pound equals 3,500 calories, then all I need to do is move around enough to use up 500 extra calories per day, seven days per week, and I’ll lose one pound. This absolutely works.

It takes approximately 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer to do this. I use the elliptical because it is easy on the joints, it shows the amount of calories used and it’s very time efficient. Get on for 500 calories, do a little extra and get off. Done.

I highly recommend that one record his or her resting heart rate early when starting a weight loss program. This is like a before-and-after photo. You need it so you can feel good about your progress.

Successfully lowering your resting heart rate is actually more important than the speed at which you lose weight. A strong heart pumps more blood with one stroke. It’s more efficient at helping to get oxygen into the system and waste out of the system. This must be good for one’s brain, wouldn’t you think?

New studies are starting to show that fat and fit may be better than slim and unfit in relation to cardiovascular issues. It seems to me that the primary goal should be to maintain a lower resting heart rate.

I don’t worry about dieting. This is not rocket science: Like in the food pyramid, fruits and veggies are good, fat is not good, etc., etc. If the food tastes good and is worth the extra effort it takes to burn it off, go for it.

I rode my bike down to the ocean and saw a lot of changes along the way. Five years ago, everything was open and there was one fenced pasture. Now, there are seven houses in various stages of construction. Many properties are fenced and have a few cows, horses or goats. It is starting to look and feel like a rural small agriculture community.

Flying downhill, maybe more like coasting, I startled a baby goat, which ran bleating back to mama. I passed a temporary canvas dome house on a wooden platform. It looks like the main house will be coming up soon. Pedaled down and across the highway overpass that sugar cane trucks used to travel to get to the mill and coasted down to the old railroad grading intersection. Crossed the paved road onto a gravel section that started looking more and more unused the further down I rode. A barbed wire fence blocked the road at the bottom.

I turned around and started back up the hill when a large dog started running and barking at me from a new house. It was a huge puppy. I need to make friends with him while he’s still a kid. He ran up, bumped into me and slobbered my leg.

The owner came out and we chatted for a bit. At first I thought that he might be a new person from the mainland. But, surprise, he’s a fire rescue guy. Because he flies over in a helicopter, he knows more about the area surrounding the farm than I do. “When are you putting up a farm stand?” he asked. Nice guy.

The last quarter mile is a downhill unpaved section, which runs down to and along the ocean. I needed to get out of the saddle, pay attention, work both brakes and use the suspension. The road along the ocean is still there but it’s not used much and guinea grass crowds in. A break in the fence lets hikers and mountain bikers through.

The old fishing road running along the coast is bordered by 100-foot ironwood trees planted maybe a hundred years ago to protect the sugar cane from wind and salt spray. There was no one in sight. I stopped and did the usual quick scan for fish underneath as the waves built, on top for honu and on the rocks for ‘opihi, ha’uke’uke, ‘a’ama crab and limu. Pedaled down the coast for awhile and then started back up on one of the old sugar cane roads. The dirt and gravel surface was hard, dry and fast but it would be muddy and challenging in rainy weather.

This is a “play now and pay later” kind of a ride. You coast down to the ocean, enjoy the sights and sound, and then climb back uphill all the way. My heart rate monitor is showing 120 beats per minute. A short distance later it’s in the 130s. I make my way back to the old railroad grading intersection and now the climbing starts. I drop it into the small chain ring and second gear. I want to make it to the overpass before stopping, about a half mile further up. Grinding away, my heart rate is in the low 150s.

Five years ago I would ride the whole way uphill without stopping. This is definitely harder work than what I’ve been doing on my elliptical. But it’s very enjoyable, and I know that I’ll get into much better shape. I can’t wait.

I’m keeping everything in perspective. Mike Tanabe and Chris Seymour and the guys could do this short loop that I just did, put it at the end of a 30 mile loop and still be shifting up on the climb. But having fun is all relative. If you’re having fun, you’re having fun.

As our Hamakua Springs tomato houses come into view I cannot help but think about how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful place, working with good people and growing good food in a good way.