I am suffering today from nuclear nose syndrome, bit peely, bit reddy, bit sad looking generally. However this pales in comparison to my aching hip flexors which make me walk like C3P0 minus the shiny goldy suit.

It’s been a great few days here in Hawaii, the mornings are nice and cool and the afternoons stink hot.

I recommend getting out early to take advantage of the day always, but you know it’s not always possible with family life and other commitments.

So the next ride was a two hour window mid-afternoon and I head out towards Hanuama Bay via Diamond Head. It’s a beautiful afternoon and the air is super clear and fresh despite the 90 degree heat.

It’s advisable to bring extra water and salt or fluid caps – there are no tap options I’ve found yet, but plenty of shops and gas stations to buy water. It’s my pet peeve paying for bottled water, but there’s no sense in suffering for the sake of a few bucks. (I can update this comment with the observation that there is a drinking fountain newly installed on the hill side of Diamond Head lookout and I’m learning many of the State Parks have water fountains in their toilet blocks – but I’m not vouching yet for the quality of this water!)

The road past Diamond Head leads past some very appealing suburbs, gorgeous beach front property and local schools and churches.

It’s peaceful enough along Kahala Drive until you get to Waialea Beach Park, where you have to turn off and head to the main highway. It’s a bit intimidating cycling up the on-ramp, but don’t worry the hard shoulder is a designated bike lane and you’ll have no trouble there. There is a lot of traffic so be prepared. Use lights (front and back) in the day as well for better visibility.

The Kalanianaole Highway is like a drag strip for cyclists. The surface is super smooth, and it’s a good straight section to get aero, or on the drops and go. Great for flat power riders like me. Depending on the way the Trades are blowing you could be heading directly into the wind for much of the northwest bound track. This means you’ll also enjoy a tail wind when you come back towards town.

If you’re working a bit less than 100%, you’ll have a chance to enjoy views over the Kui Channel, a popular area for water day trip from Waikiki. I’ve been diving out there enjoying a WW2 wrecked plane.

Next is a short and sometimes welcome climb up Koko Head to Hanuama Bay. You can continue past the Bay for some great reverse angle views of the preserve, but be warned the shoulder is very narrow on that section and it’s not uncommon to have some bike meets car stress there. Be careful on this section. Having said that, most drivers I encountered were very considerate towards cyclists.

If you brought your snorkel and flippers in your pack, then go down to the water and have some fun swimming with the fishes! If not then don’t worry, the views are great and it’s worth taking a few minutes to enjoy. It’s stinking hot, so it’s actually cooler to keep riding but I take a couple pictures before heading back. The picture below is from a little bit past the Bay itself, since the Bay was closed to any incoming traffic, including myself when I tried to get a look in.

Of course that would be with a normal pace, but I can’t keep the lid on, and hit full on TT mode occasionally breaking into sprint mode, especially blasting past the odd yellow or two. There are a lot of cops on this road, so don’t jump the reds!

I’d allow an hour each way plus some photo time. The best thing about these shorter rides is that there’s so much to take it that it feels like you went much further than you actually did.

If you have some spare time at the end of the ride, I would suggest a couple bonus laps of Diamond Head and if you have the legs there is the steepest hill this side of Honolulu close by which I’ll tell you about next time!

So once again, in summary, I like to ask – what’s the cycle-mad enthusiast to do when they are on a family vacation? It’s pretty hard to spend quality time with your loved ones when you’re pounding out 100km or more a day. On the other hand, you don’t want to be denied your second (or is that first) love either so how do you make it work all around?

I am suggesting and coining the phrase mini-epic. What is a mini-epic? It’s a 4 hour window that allows you, dear rider to discover, explore and push yourself within close proximity of your vacation base.

Today worked out pretty good and everyone was happy with my “me-time” adventures.