Stories, information and comments from Mauna Loa climbers
Story by Leon Matz from Puyallup, United States, submitted on 05/05/2014
Mauna Loa is a mammoth mountain and a mammoth bike climb. The mountain is a massive volcano covering over 1/2 of the Big Islands 4,034 square miles. Mauna Loa rises to 13,680 feet from sea level. Mea Mauna Loa is the largest volcanic mountain in the world.
The Mauna Loa bike climb is 45 miles and 11,091 ft. of climbing with a 4.7% average and a supposed 9% max. The first 28 miles is on Saddle Rd. cover 6,500 ft. with most of it not too steep but there are some pitches of 15-17%. The remaining 17 miles is very challenging. The altitude starts to become an issue but it is the looping of the road that is so hard. You are constantly climbing but every 100 yards the road varies between 2% and 20% so you shift down to gain momentum and then end up having to stand up to get over the top of the roller. This is very exhausting. It took me 6 hours of climbing to make it from Hilo to the end of the pavement at 11,000 ft.