There’s a new “Carrot” in me future.
Impossible Route Mauna Kea, ie. Hawaii.
I feel I need a year of training. Plus when I mentioned to the wife “we” needed a new bike for the effort, she called “bike” a four (4) letter word. LMAO on that one.
So, I’m thinking since I’ve yet to get a gravel bike it’s time for one with 1x, 10x52.
Forum guys wadda think. I’ll be 62 and 190 lbs with a measly 300+ ftp. Bike choices/ reccomendations?

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You are planning on riding the “impossible route” as in the video Vegan Cyclist uploaded a few years back?

I am planning on riding Mauna Kea a good month from now but on the road.
I’ll rent a Gravel bike on the island for that.
I found this pretty helpful:
With Mauna Kea being one of the longest and hardest climbs in the world, with very long and steep gravel sections, the smaller the gears the better.
Since 10-52 is great on gravel, go for it. A nice and quick gravel tire and a small enough chainring (maybe a 40 or 42) and you should be good to go.

I’m going to train for a year. Sneak in a gravel bike along the way. ( Lots of overtime)!
I appreciate your thoughts on gear. I agree!
The last impossible route Mauna Kea by Charles Ouimet riding with ( 9 time national CHAMPION) Chris De Marchi. Great YouTube video.
Best of luck on your ascent. I’d be thrilled to hear your story.
And best of Luck to you Sir!

Nice @salty! I watched that video by Charles, very impressive production, and it was a very easy decision, “yeah, nah!!!” Good luck with the prep, it will be beyond epic!

Hope no one was planning on doing it this weekend! :flushed:

Sounds like my commute sometimes :joy:

(Okay, not 100. But I did have 60 MPH last week)

Did you have 12 inches of snow to go with it?:rofl:


Just having returned from the big island, and not being able to do MK because of weather, I have a few insights, that may or may not be helpful.

  • MK can get rough weather between November and February. In all the other months, you should never have any issues of the mountain being closed.
  • Chris DeMarchi, who happens to be the „inventor“ of the impossible route (at least the one who scouted the one in the video and by now even a better one) is a great guide up there. His service is by no means cheap, but might save you a day in preparation during your vacation and might help you achieve your goal.
  • Chris told me, he tries to talk everyone out of doing IR, because virtually everyone fails it, and MK just from the beach is already tough enough.
  • I‘d advice against taking a gravel bike for the trip, at least not if you have the option to take a second bike (support car). The gradients in the beginning and the end of the trip are monstrous. I did the super steep Koloko Drive on a gravel bike I rented out on the island, with a minimum gearing of 30/34. That was entirely road and I was on my absolute limit for the final 30 minutes (at 5Wkg FTP). Imagining having to do a similar gradient on gravel, at 11000ft elevation, with 50 miles in the legs… Idk. I don’t think I would have made that.
    So, get the absolute smallest gear you can, you will not get the problem of spinning out.

Did Chris move out there? I remember seeing his name on a lot of the Strava boards in my area.

He lives on the big Island, yes.

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Sweet, maybe I should go after some of his KOM’s without fear of reprisal :smiling_imp: :rofl:

(I guess I should get that fitness back first?)

Great insights. I’ve got some work to do for this challenge.
Thanks for replying to the CARROT.
Coming back from covid it feels the goal is further from reach.
Not impossible, just more challenging.

Just came back from the Big Island. Mona Kea is quite majestic (I took several pictures in awe).

I’ve done Haleakala several times, but never MK. A friend just did it in October. It was quite a thrilling adventure for him.

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Is the “possible route” for Mauna Kea do-able without a tour guide? In other words, can my buddy’s wife provide SAG support in a rental car? I understand going to the top past the ranger station might require a 4x4 vehicle.

I‘d ask Chris from Hawaii Epic Cycling (
I know he is selling SAG support, so you might find this an agency problem, but he has the most experience with this route (as he has scouted it) and might be able to help you out the best.

You can get regular cars up to the top of Mauna Kea (I saw some up the when I went to the summit) but it can be tricky on the steep gravel and rental car T&Cs have clauses prohibiting taking them up there. If you do go up they won’t be covered by any insurance or recovery so an incident or needing recovery because the car is stuck gets very expensive. On the way down the gravel section be careful not to overheat the brakes.

It is perfectly possible to do the regular ride up Mauna Kea without a guide. You just cycle up the saddle road and take the turn up to the ranger station and summit. Keep going until the top.