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Biking Mt. Haleakala

Getting up at 2 a.m. on vacation sounds crazy, but what’s even crazier is waking up at 2 a.m. to bike down a 10,000-foot volcano. At least that’s what my friends say. My comeback is: how often do you get to watch the sun rise over a crater, then ride a bike 37 miles down to sea level and only have to pedal twice?

The Haleakala Sunrise Bike Ride was early, but it was also one of the most rewarding endeavors I’ve ever experienced on vacation. As we headed out in the pitch of night, we were groggy and a bit cold; however, once we arrived at sea level, my adrenaline kicked in. The tour guides mentioned the annual ride to the top of Haleakala, and I knew I was headed for my next challenge. (Apparently, Lance Armstrong climbed it a few times in one day for training.) The ride is officially named Cycle to the Sun (Haleakala means “House of the Sun”), though most locals call it “Psychos to the Sun” (Cycle to the Sun). Either way, climbing straight up for 40 miles is my idea of a vacation.

Am I off my rocker to think of vacations as adventures that take you out of your element? Or should vacation be about relaxing and recharging? You tell me!


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