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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hammering Hills: Route 88, Highway 21 and Route 136

Nanyang Rd.

Sunday was another day of hill climbing. I have been gradually extending my rides and making them more difficult. One constant in my weekly riding schedule has been, and will continue to be, hill climbing. It is the first thing to go when you're not training and it is a really great way to get the lungs and the legs back from the dead. I decided today I was going to push my limits a little bit and ride some of my favorite local routes.

Bike Trail

I started out with a warm-up pace into Fengyuan. My Garmin was misbehaving, so I lost the complete info for my ride. It had me riding along a 246% grade from Taichung to Fengyuan.

I did happen to ride one of Taichung's bike trails in Fengyuan City. I would rather ride the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix.

Colorful Tower

From Fengyuan City I turned up the Local Route 88 a.k.a. Nanyang Rd. which peaks in Longjing, a higher summit than simply taking the Route 129. Even at 8:00am the heat was unbearable.

Looking Down the Route 88

Route 88 is a really nice climb, but a better descent as a couple of the ramps registered 20% grades. The pain is over soon enough and the road levels off high above the city.

Sky Rider... A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man... who does not exist.

I bombed down to Route 93 at about 65kph. and stopped for some coffee with several other local cyclists at the great big 7-11.

Route 93 has a lovely technical descent down to Zhonghe Village and out to the junction with Highway 21 and the route over Baimao Shan (White Whisker Mountain).

Up The 21

The Highway 21 is one of my all time favorite roads. It makes a nice climb with the most scenic views or Heping Township, a largely Atayal indigenous area of northern Taichung.

View Near Top

The highest point on the mountain is 2808ft. but it is not a terrible ascent. I actually settled in to a nice rhythm all the way to the little cafe at the top, where I thought an iced coffee would do me right in that kind of heat.

I also had to stock up on water seeing as I had left a full bottle of water back at the 7-11 earlier and had to climb with nothing but backwash in my bottle.
Rest Stop

I was soon blasting down the other side on one of the greatest descents... EVER!

It is not uncommon to keep speeds around 60kph all the way down. The only real drag were all the hotshot riders on their Big Bikes (motorcycles). If those fuckers are so Lihai/厲害 (skilled), then why can't they stay in their lanes. Share the fucking roads guys. Share the fucking roads. I mean it!

Sorry, but really...

Iced Coffee

As I rolled through Guoxing I was facing a pretty good headwind. This made my enjoyment quotient on the Highway 14 plummet. I hate that road when it is windy. It just becomes too much work for that type of flat roller of a Highway. I then decided to take the Route 136 back over the mountain. This meant a third climb over 2000ft. for the day. The temperature was a broiling 40C/104F, but it sure beat a headwind.
The Other Side Of The 136

I pedaled squares all the way to the summit. It was agony. I was ready for a speedy descent. It was fine at first as I sliced my way through hairpin corners and dug into banked turns... until I was hugging the rear end of a Toyote Previa van. It was a slow coaster the rest of the way down.

I was beat. I had pushed myself to my limits and that was fine with me. This will make me stronger and take me one step closer to my goal of getting back to and surpassing my prior state of fitness.

I got home and cleaned up before flopping on the couch. Within minutes both inner quad muscles severely cramped up leaving me in agony for several minutes, frozen in the contortions of pain.

Strangely, my legs feel lively and energetic. I don't feel like I beat them to a pulp.

What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.

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  1. Nice ride... you are right about those big bike... Michael Turton and I were talking about them on our ride last weekend. Nice enough folk, but they do like to hog the road when they are riding...

    Really hot yesterday, I stuck to the pool... great job getting out in oppressive weather...

  2. Big bikes are the bane of that route...the earlier the ride the less likely they'll be out in force. Very nice job persevering with 136 in that heat!! Would have been a KO for me personally.

  3. Not an easy day. Strangely, I feel relatively fresh today. This is a new phenomenon for me.

  4. I just did the same route in reverse (136-21) and then around route 8 and 3 to Fengyuan and back down Han river bike path (to make it 100km). The 136 was full of the Taichung "TIC Moto Club" scooter gang speeding up and down and taking photos and making smartass comments. When I got the the 21 I was so relieved, only to be constantly buzzed by the older gang on Big Bikes. The Harleys I don't mind, but the Ducattis screaming around corners taking racing lines on hairpins was a nightmare.

    I also saw one fatality on the 136 on the way up which shook me up for the rest of the ride.

    Are those bike/scooter clubs out on Saturdays too or usually only Sundays?


  5. They are always out. I am sure they love to bitch about how cars push them off the roads. I just think they are a bunch of pansies. It really doesn't take all that much skill... or brains for that matter... to zoom up the Highway 21. I always snicker to myself that they couldn't do it without an engine.

    The police were supposed to be doing something about the big bike menace, but they really haven't (as usual).

    The last time I climbed the 136 I was buzzed by a souped-up scooter. I turned the corner near the killer grade and he was in the gutter.

    It is all so unnecessary.