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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hill Climb Equation:136+100+21+133+14+136=Pain

This morning I decided I was going to do some climbing and find the fabled passage between Hsin She and the 136. I got a late start and the thick morning haze just held the heat and humidity to the ground. It was the least comfortable type of heat.

I took off through Taichung to the Route 136, Taichung's fabled hill climb. Just after the Bat Cave I took my detour and headed up into the mountains of Taiping. I remembered some of the roads that cut through the county from my earliest days riding a scooter in Taichung and I thought the road up Jiu Tong Shan 酒通山 might lead to the other side near Hsin She. I climbed up in that humidity and was not liking it at all. Finally, I found my road and was off on a smaller, more interesting road down the other side.

The road to 中和 is not very well kept and I was reminded again why I got a CX frame. Even with 25c tires I just cruised over the ruts, cracks, bumps and mud.

The climb was higher than I thought and offered up some fantastic views of the valleys below.

I finally emptied out in 中和 right behind the elementary school. If you decide to take that road, it is the right.

I decided to keep climbing as it was still early, so I headed out toward the Highway 21 to Guo Xing. The climb was steady and I felt like I had been neglecting my climbing skills as of late, so I did it at a steady and not a hard pace. If only I could magically keep the Big Bike Club on their side of the road.

I was having the most sublime descent off the mountain, just totally in the zone and keeping my speed up. I was tracking well into the corners and having done that route enough times I know exactly where the palm husks are always laying in the road (every time). And then... and then... I crept up on a slow moving car. I hate that. I was eventually able to pass the car and then I encountered a tour bus. I could only breathe the fumes for so long before I found an opportunity to accelerate around him. I felt kind of smug with the feeling that the driver must have been surprised to have been passed by a bicycle. I kept my distance from the bus as he shadowed me into Guo Xing township. He would creep up on the hills and I would lose him on the flats. The bus kept me hammering at some good speeds all the way out before I pulled over to check out some fruit. Not long after I stopped, the bust pulled up and stopped too. I expected to get some crap about passing busses or frightening the driver, but instead, the driver opened the door and had his assistant give me a coffee. I thanked them and they were on their way.

I followed the 133 to the 14 and although tired, I kept a good pace out on the Puli Basin. My mind wandered to the ride ahead on the 14. I have done it dozens of times and it is a long, flat, windy ride with a few cars. It isn't bad, but I am sick of it. I am especially sick of the two little hills near Caotun. I just hate them for their ability to sneak up on you and they are annoying and not fun. So, to avoid the hills, I turned onto the dreaded 136 and somehow found the energy to put a good climb together for 3/4 of the ascent. As I neared the top a great roll of thunder ripped me from my zone and a light rain started to fall. I took refuge under a makeshift carport and waited 20min. for the rain to abate. I was more worried about the descent on wet roads.

Eventually, I made it out onto the road again and slid off the mountain back to Taichung without incident. No great distances today, but I claimed three rough peaks in a single ride.
I just wish I didn't climb like a sprinter.

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