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Friday, January 27, 2012

Determination: Fighting For Life

As the clock runs out on my Lunar New Year vacation, I thought I would take a short ride through the hills around Taichung and get back into riding.

The ride is not very long, but it consists of some pretty challenging climbs and technical descents.

I thought I would invite Chris B. and Michael Turton to take part in the fun.

Lolita Brand Shorts

We started up Dong Shan Rd. a.k.a. Route 129 to Hsin She. I was expecting Chris to take a while and maybe stop a few times to rest. The climb up to Hsin She is not the easiest climb for a novice and Chris only started doing hills a week ago.

Chris Starts The Climb

As we started toward the beginning of the climb, I gave Chris some pointers on the climb and climbing in general, and then I took off up the 129.

Michael's Busted Bike

About three quarters of the way up I received a call from Michael. He had been brushed by a passing car in a hit and run. The car had pushed him into the barrier resulting in a bent rear derailleur and the end of his ride.

Incidents of car vs. bike seem to be becoming more frequent around Hsin She, especially as the area continues to devote more and more space to tourism and recreation.


I waited at the top of the hill for Chris to arrive. I had no idea how long it might take. After about ten minutes, Chris came plodding up the final ramp. He hadn't stopped once.

This is an incredible feat for any novice, let alone one who was 60kg heavier just a few months ago.

Atop Route 129

What Chris has done is an inspiration to all.

He has dedicated himself to life. He made a commitment to himself that he was not going to simply throw his hands in the air and grasp for excuses. He had every reason to not even start down the road to fitness. He is a father. He works a lot. He was always the "husky" kid with all that... "husk".

Chris Before

Then Chris became a strict vegetarian. He ordered a bike and started running while he waited for a decent bike to arrive in his size. He learned to refuse the extra calories and has shown remarkable willpower.

Today, that willpower was on display as he tackled one gnarly climb after the other.

In this post I have included a number of pictures that show Chris gritting his teeth and fighting through the climbs.

For me, these shots do not just show how far he has progressed as a rider, but they also show how far he has come in taking control of his health.

As I come back from an injury, I also feel inspired to get back to a higher level of fitness.

If anything, Chris shows us all that there are no excuses to getting on a bike, having fun and getting fit.

Watching Chris ride with such a positive attitude is really an essay in determination.

Thanks Chris!

Look 695 Mondrian

We stopped for coffee and chatted with a group from Fengyuan. They all had some nice bikes. Looks are among my favorites.


Fellow Riders

Chris Hacks Up An Unassuming Challenge

We then kept a good pace toward Feng Lin Valley.

He Arrives

The 16% Grade

Putting The Hammer Down

Cruising The Highlands

Finally, it was time to head back to the city on the Route 136. What a nice little ride.

This Man Is Smiling Because He Is In Good Riding Health


  1. A great ride Drew! The scenery was amazing and the route challenging. This ride is going into the regular rotation. Thanks for the hill climbing tips. Much appreciated.

  2. An absolute pleasure. That is just the tip of the ice berg.

    1. Thank you for sharing his inspiring story Drew. Congratulations Chris on sticking through with some big lifestyle changes and your incredible weight loss!

  3. It's always inspiring to hear (and see!) stories of people who make significant changes to their lifestyles. Way to go Chris, and thanks for posting it, Drew!