Going up

For the sixth straight year, Jason Barth will be at the starting line of Pedal to the Meadow.

And for the sixth straight year, despite a punishing, steep climb over nearly 16 miles up Waimea Canyon, he’s looking forward to it.

“It’s like a reunion of all the cyclists in Hawaii,” said Barth, owner of Kauai Cycle.

Last year, Barth posted a personal best of 1 hour, 36 minutes and 40 seconds, a solid performance that earned him 36th place — despite last year’s thunder and rain that rolled in at the start of the race and didn’t stop until almost all 79 riders crossed the finish line near Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Kokee State Park.

“That was nuts,” Barth said. “It was the most extreme conditions. But riding in the cooler temperatures of the storm helped me.”

Conditions are expected to be sunny for Sunday’s 8 a.m. start at Kokee Road at the intersection of the haul cane road in Kekaha.

More than 60 riders have registered for the race that will be without last year’s winner and record-holder, Mark Galedo, a professional from RoadBike Philippines, who set the course record in 58:02.

There’s still time to register during packet pickup today, 4 to 6 p.m. at Kalaheo Cafe, and at Kauai Cycle, 3 to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. There is no race-day registration. Entry fee is $45, plus a USA Cycling license is required. The fee includes a T-shirt and food and drink.

There will be traffic changes for the race.

Both directions of the Kokee Road from Kekaha up to the intersection with Waimea Canyon Drive will be closed. Waimea Canyon Drive will remain open. After the intersection, Kokee Road will be open to vehicles.

New this year is “Cycle on the Strip,” set for Monday at Kauai Raceway Park. Riders can be part of Hawaii’s “first ever and only bicycle drag races.” Onsite register will be from 8 to 9 a.m. Riding will start once everyone is entered into the same timing system the cars use on the quarter-mile track. Cost is $10, $5 for youth ages 10-19. The public is welcome to watch and participate.

Barth said one reason he loves returning to Pedal to the Meadow is the chance to visit with all the cyclists who show up. Many come from other islands, along with a strong local showing.

“There’s a small community of riders on Kauai,” he said. “It’s nice when they all get together.”

Barth rides two to three times a week, with a long ride on weekends. He and other completed four group training rides up Waimea Canyon to prepare for Pedal to the Meadow. So he’s feeling ready for perhaps another record ride.

“I think I can do as well as last year,” he said. “And I could do better.”

The race is directed by Mary Williamson and presented by Tradewind Cycling Team.

Info: p2mKauai@gmail.com and www.PedalToTheMeadow.com

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