Haleakala Training Plan

I’m climbing Haleakala in February, and trying to put together a training plan.

I have to do most of my riding indoors - Washington, winter, rain, cold, etc. etc.

I figured lots of sweet spot/tempo, then strength training focusing especially on my core/glutes.

I’m planning on 3 weeks hard/1 easy.

Hard weeks = 2 hard rides that emphasize climbing, 2 endurance per week, 1 recovery.

This isn’t that different from my normal training schedule. I do a lot of novid in the winter - watching anime is only way I can stay sane.

What am I missing? Is this too much? Not enough?

(Edit: Week 7 or 8 I’ll be trying the RGT Haleakala climb)



I know Haleakala well.
I have climbed parts of it.

One of the things that you have to be prepared for is the change in weather conditions as you climb. It can be hot, humid and windy in Paia, and can be very cold at the top.

The ascent while, only about 5.5% on average, is relentless. There are almost no downhill segments, and there are some 10-15% sections, including at the very end. It is an endurance ride. It has been done in under 3 hours, but I would expect that you should plan for 5-6 hours of uphill riding.

Remember the air thins out above 8000 feet. That makes wind resistance less, but there is less oxygen in the air. Some people get altitude sickness. If it happens to you, (like your nails turn blue), descend immediately. I mean immediately. An ambulance could take 45 minutes to get to you, and might take just as long to get you to the hospital.

If you descend after you climb, you will have to deal with traffic on the roads. In many places there is no bicycle path (breakdown lane), or any wide road. The road is not up to modern standards. If there has been a storm, and the DPW has not cleared the breakdown lane, you will be riding in the road. While this is true about the ascent, the speed, and the twists in the road make the descent more dangerous. A lot of the drivers do not like bicycle riders, especially if they interfere with their commuting. Remember it is an active roadway, not a bicycle path. Depending on the trade winds, you descend into a turn and all of a sudden you are riding into a wind that is pushing you off your bicycle.

The other thing you have to plan for is refueling. Once you hit Crater Road, there is no food or water until you hit the Park Visitor Center. There are not many places to get food or water after you leave Makawao.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.


I know nothing about Haleakala. But I know and have seen the effects of altitude sickness, so if @Heretic feels the need to make this warning then I feel the need to reiterate it.

Feel sick? Feel dizzy? Have a headache? Just feel wrong? Go down. Now. If you start feeling better, keep going down. It’s not your day, but make sure you get another. It’s really not something to fight. You won’t win.

My 2c, but I’ve been mountaineering in enough places to know it’s not a thing to fight.


Yep, my #1 concern is altitude sickness. I’ll be very, very careful. If it happens, there are plenty of other great rides to do.

I AM still looking for training advice, though…

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I would look at the Mountain Fondo, or Century training plans - it is a long endurance ride that takes about the same time as a century.

A climbing plan will not really train you for a 36 mile, 10,000+ foot climb.


I’ve just looked up the climb and that is a monster! Honestly looking at the structure of the plan you’ve set yourself I would say that it is a good structure. If you have time before this plan it might be worth doing a building block of MAP work to boost up the aerobic ceiling before doing the sweet spot/tempo work

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Thanks! I’ll do that.

I will be in Maui mid Feb and also thinking of riding it. I’ve done Assault on Mt Mitchell which is 10000 of climbing over 100 miles, but that was seven years ago :slight_smile: I just need to commit to a lot of time on the trainer. Definitely worried about rain that time of year. If forecast is bad, I can always do the loop around West Maui.

I do like your training plan. The only thing I’m going to do different is focus on Zone 2 for the first 3 weeks to build back the base.


Sounds like we may both be there at the same time. Maybe I’ll see you at the summit.