Cycling in Hawaii: The Kona Ironman

By: Brian Berusch

July 16, 2015

A towering mountain, stretching from azure sea to snow-capped peaks. Red hot, molten lava. Picturesque resorts that span the lava rock fields, peppered with palm trees and tropical flowers. It’s no wonder Hawaii is home to one of the most intense, gruelling races known to man – the Kona Ironman. With a 3.9 km swim along the pristine coastline, 180 km cycle through the flatlands, and 42 km run that only the fittest athletes in the world dare tackle, it has become the pinnacle of endurance for an elite few, and the last word in cycling in Hawaii.

Cycling in Hawaii | The Kona Ironman

On the open road in Kona © Hawaii Tourism Authority/Kirk Lee Aeder

So, how do they train for such an intense race? They get on the roads and peddle, peddle, peddle. Here’s how you can get a taste for cycling in Hawaii – or even train for the big event yourself – with the guidance of local experts, fitness trainers and former Ironmen and women.


Big Island Training Camp Hawaii offers a variety of options, which include 40-mile Cycling Tours that travel the Ironman route, plus detours though rainforests, valleys and up the sides of a volcano. There are intensive Cycling Camps that include the technical instruction, physiological education, nutrition, and general conditioning that you’ll need to tackle major miles on a bike. And, they offer a four-day “Triathlon Camp“ that helps you with swimming, running and cycling techniques.

Cycling in Hawaii | The Kona Ironman

Cycling with a view © Hawaii Tourism Authority/Ron Dahlquist

Big Island Bike Tours offer access to private lands, including rides on Parker Ranch and Waipio Valley rim tours. Their expert guides can give you insight into long distance cycling, alongside a group of enthusiasts eager to peddle a few hundred miles.


Velissimo Cycling Destinations is a more relaxed outfit, offering shorter tours each day of the week in an approachable, entry-level manner. Their guides are still expert cyclists, and safety is a strong focus.

Cycling in Hawaii | The Kona Ironman

Kona Ironman Bikers © Hawaii Tourism Authority/Kirk Lee Aeder

Finally, the Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai employs a number of past and present Ironman triathletes as trainers in their workout facility. Guests of the hotel can pre-book sessions with one of these trainers, and tailor a program that balances top-tier workouts with the refinement of a luxury resort. The best of both worlds!


Partnering with Delta allows us to connect you to and from a selection of destinations across the United States and Canada, making it even simpler to book flights Hawaii, and enter the Kona Ironman.


Have you been cycling in Hawaii? Have you attempted the Kona Ironman? Let us know in the comments section below.


Written by Brian Berusch


Brian Berusch

Brian Berusch traded in his Manhattan gym membership for a quiver of surfboards, trail running shoes and a one-way ticket to Honolulu more than a decade ago. Since then, he’s interviewed dozens of celebrities and covered the destination for more than 25 travel and lifestyle magazines. He’s an award-winning Editorial Director, a Today Show correspondent and most recently the publisher of two new magazines. He has yet to “get barreled” in the perfect wave.

Categories: Our Places