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Cycle to the Sun moved to Aug. 22

Caleb Barville of Kona nears the summit finish line at Haleakala National Park on his way to victory in the Cycle to the Sun on June 29. This year’s event had been scheduled for June 27, but organizers have postponed it to Aug. 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

With the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic, and the hope that Maui County will resume “normal activities” in a few months, the 36-mile Cycle to the Sun has been postponed to Saturday, Aug. 22.

Since the 1980s, the steep and curvy 10,000-foot elevation climb has been ranked as one of the most challenging bike races in the world.

“I figured many people would want to do an event when things got back to normal,” said race director Donnie Arnoult, who owns Maui Cyclery and Go Cycling Maui in Paia. “I decided to move it from June 27 to late August because I was not sure when large events would be allowed here on Maui, and I hope this gives us time to make it happen.”

Starting from Paia town at 6:30 a.m. and riding up to Haleakala National Park’s Pu’u Ula’ula visitor center overlook, cyclists from around the world come to conquer the mountain solo or via a three-person relay.

“It’s been great bike riding on the Crater road since the Haleakala National Park has been closed,” Arnoult said Tuesday. “Little to no traffic from Kula to the park entrance. It’s a great time to get out and train for the race.”

Women’s winner Susannah Breen of Pleasant Hill, Calif., builds her lead as she approaches the 6,000-foot elevation on June 29.

All other details about the Cycle to the Sun remain unchanged at this time, but updates will be posted on the Maui Cyclery Facebook page. Registration opened Feb. 1 and is limited to the first 200 riders.

Overall, Arnoult said that since the stay-at-home, work-from-home orders were set in place, he’s noticed a rise in bikers on the roadways.

“Nice to see how many people are out riding now,” he said. “People are getting out and exercising on their bikes — the bike path between Paia and Kahului opened in March. More families are spending time together riding, and fewer cars on the roads.

“I hope that everyone will continue to ride when we all get back to our normal lives again.”

Maui Cyclery in Paia is still open for limited business amid the pandemic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Services now only include shopping for equipment and bikes, as well as bike repairs.

Customers are not permitted to enter the store and are asked to call ahead at 579-9009 to make an order, coordinate payment and schedule a pick-up time. Customers can also use the side entrance to make a request and “we will bring it to them.”

“It’s different, but it’s working for now,” Arnoult said. “I’m grateful to be busy and still working.”

For more information about the Cycle to the Sun, visit cycletothesun.com.

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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