November 16, 2010 12:00 AM

After Dawn Breaks Atop Haleakala, It's A 27-Mile Whoosh To The Sea On A Bike, Hairpin Turns And All

HALEAKALA, Hawaii — Every day, about an hour after first light hits the green hillsides of upcountry Maui, the spokes begin to sing. If you stand along the road by Sunrise Market in the hamlet of Kula, you'll first hear the buzz, then with a whoosh the bicycles come around the bend: tourists by the dozen, their heads encased in heavy-duty helmets, their bodies wrapped in rain suits, their speed about 20 mph. They're riding 27 miles, following about two dozen switchbacks, rolling past hardened lava and cane fields, fruit stands, lazy livestock and three small towns. And 99 percent of it is downhill.

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