Aloha from the Aiea Loop

I love it when things just fall in place.   I had to “work” in Hawaii this week and was hoping squeak in a ride during the trip.   I had a early flight on Tuesday and found myself on the ground at lunch time.    There was no delay in getting my baggage and the rental car thing went really smooth.   I already knew where I was renting a bike during this visit so went by there picked up and decently equipped hardtail that was basically brand new.   It was right about this time that I realized that I forgot to bring my clipless pedals.    Cleated bike shoes and flats pedals don’t mix well so my next stop was to local bike shop where I picked up a set of SPD pedals on the cheap.     I was all set to squeak in that ride when the opportunity presented itself.   A look at my watch revealed that opportunity was now and the trailhead was just a few miles a way.  The sky was filled with ominous looking clouds but what the heck, the temps were nice and it was not raining right now so time to get some trail while I can.

I had done the Aiea Loopbefore which was good as I did not have much of a daylight buffer for exploring.    Having all much my gear stuffed into luggage it looked like a yard sale around my car I was pulling stuff out all over the place to get to everything.   Soon I was in the correct garb and ready to head out.    The last time I rode here was in 2004 and I remembered lots of roots.  Yeah lots of roots.   Back in 2004 this trail was my first exposure to roots galore and I remembered it being monumentally frustrating.    Since then I have had a lot more exposure to riding this type of stuff so the roots where down into the challenging category. 

For the first 1.6 miles of of this loop you are climbing some good and twisty singletrack.   I have been fighting off some chest and sinus congestion for the past week so the “redline” on the cardio side of the house was much lower than normal.  Get anywhere near that line for line would quickly turn into a wheezing, hacking mess.    This meant I really got to enjoy the climb as despite the overcast, the scenery was nice with lush vegetation all around.  

  

That lush vegetation however does hide some often precarious exposure that could net you a long tumble down a steep hillside should you blow a move or turn.

Once I reached the highpoint , the fun really got to going as a good chuck of the rest of the route was downhill.    The flowing singletrack typically bench cut in the side of the steep hillsides so there was little room for error along the trail.  I had gotten into flow of the trail and was zipping along quite nicely when the bike gave me a quick reminder that it was not one of trusty full suspension bikes.  I took a root drop that was a little bigger than it looked from up the trail and soon found myself riding a compressed fork nose wheelie for way too far before slamming the rear wheel back and nearly jolting myself off the bike.   After getting the bike to a stop, I starting laughing so hard that I sent myself in another round of congestion hacks and coughs.    Any near miss that you can laugh at is good in my book.     

It was not long before I was back at the trailhead where I cleaned up a bit and did the yard sale thing in reverse and headed out for the hotel.  What a great way to start a business trip.

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