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Friday, November 18, 2011

Taroko Race Weekend: Maxxis Taroko International Hill Climb

This weekend marks the second Maxxis Taroko International Hill Climb on the racing calendar. Several of the guys from my team will be there to compete and I wish them the best of luck.

The Taroko climb is a 90 kilometer mash from sea level, up to the finish at 3275 meters. It is a shame the Taiwan Cup was devoid of this type of climb, which really typifies what makes Taiwanese riding and racing so special.

Sadly, I am opting out of this event as it would mean two days on the road and too much distance from my wife. We are expecting a baby at any time, so I need to be within a speedy cab ride home. All for the better. I will be there in spirit.

The route averages about 4% for most of the way with about three steeper sections before the finale just after Dayuling.

A few hundred meters from the fruit stands in Dayuling, the road pitches up saving the worst for last. It is a seriously demoralizing set of stairs, a dip and another final puker of a climb to the finish.

Of the 250 climbers, about 30 riders will be representing Japan and especially the victims of the earthquake and tsunami which struck Taiwan's northern neighbor last March. The Japanese cyclists would like to use the event to thank the Taiwanese people for their generosity in providing the largest amount of aid to Japan. Each Japanese rider will ride wearing a T-shirt, which reads, "Thank You Taiwan" as a token of appreciation.

Best of luck to all competitors and may the rainy forecast be in error. Jia you!