Mauna Kea Climb tire choice and logistics

So Drake got the KOM, but stated that he had to run on the Gravel and that his tire choice wasn’t great.


not surprised, and honestly, if going for speed, you almost need to ignore that the gravel exists.

ETA: He took the Hilo side KOM. Looks like he is gonna try for the Waikoloa side on Tuesday. He already has Haleakalā on Maui, and the Waimea Canyon Climb on Kauai. We should start calling him Mr. Aloha


Furthermore, he said he only rode a bit during the gravel section, it was mostly running.

A tire with thread, grip and width will cost 2-4 mph in the tarmac portion. Maybe the trade off is still worth it?

100% the trade off is worth it, IF going for best time. climbing on the pavement(especially for someone like Drake) is likely 10+mph. Climbing on the gravel is probably 5mph or slower, even ‘jogging’ the gravel section would result in 3-4mph.

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I’d further recommend running SPD pedals/shoes for when you’re inevitably walking/running on the gravel. Your purchase will be much better and you won’t have the risk of irreparably destroyed your cleats and being unable to clip in for the remainder of the ascent.


One time on Maui I somehow got a rock lodged in my SPD SL cleat. found out the hard way that I couldn’t unclip! Looked like a Fred when I bounced off the tarmac at a stop sign :rofl: Good call on SPD’s!

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Couple of things.

  1. My rid will be in mid Feb
  2. February is the month with less precipitation on average in last 30 years.

Curious why you say this?

Having done Haleakala multiple times coming from near sea level, I haven’t found it that bad. But MK is a whole other level…

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Hilo is the wet side of the island, dry weather in February is quite rare for Hilo. June is the month with the least rain at Hilo. February is less than March/April but they still see over 10” on average in February and that’s gained from slow soaking rains spread over large periods. Also it’s common to rain in the cooler parts of the day(I.e. when you’d be starting the ride.

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Well, road has been closed all day so no KOM attempt today. Weather has looked pretty terrible for the entire island today!

Check out this link. It’s an interactive map that shows where the most rain is for any given month.

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Thanks. I stand corrected.

I still don’t know what to do. I’m inclined to still do Hilo - MK because:

  • Route is better, it’s the real climb 43miles at 6.1%
  • It appears to be friendlier to cyclists.

The drawbacks:

  • I have to drive from Kona to Hilo
  • More likely to have bad weather.
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Aren’t we all trying to go for our personal best time?. Idk when I’m going back, would like to give my best, race like effort.

I’m different, I don’t want to have to go back and do it again, so I want to make sure I get it done, not blow up chasing a time.


This is how hard it can be to climb Mauna Kea in the winter.

2 attempts to try and make it with no fruit for climbing 10k ft!


I have 8 days to make it happen. Fitness is ready and I recently did a 50 mile 13900ft climb, and felt amazing. Those first 7-8k feet of climbing felt “easy”.


Awesome! Hope you get a good day!

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It seems that I’m going to have to deal with rain one way or another. It’s crazy how different Hilo and Kona are weather wise.

Likely, odds are greater and for longer that you’re wet coming from Hilo though. Have you picked a tire?

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I think I’m going with 32 Conti’s. It might seem crazy but certain underbiking is my baseline. I want to go for a good time because I don’t know when/if I ever will go back with this level of fitness.