Cycling week/weekend #2

Taiwan road bike ride

This past week I was in Taiwan. Working all week, it is halfway around the world and when you have been there a bunch, you tend to want to just get through it. The days get long.

But, I have been planning an extra day lately, just to get out for a ride. So, Friday we planned a big ride in the mountains outside of Taichung.

There was a pretty good group of us.  8 riders.  Mostly expat Americans, but also 2 Taiwan nationals.

We left the hotel in Taichung at 7:30.  The roads were wet, as it had rained overnight.  We looked at the skies and they were ominous, but we decided we really wanted to get a ride in anyway.  It was misting a bit, and we probably should have taken that as a sign.  We didn’t.  I left the hotel without a vest, without a jacket.  It was 70 degrees, afterall.

We had the usual experience getting out of the city.  Taichung is over a million people, and the hotel is pretty much right in the middle of it.  But, unlike American cities, a million is not that big.  People live in apartments, and there really are not any suberbs.  So, there is traffic but getting out of the city doesnt really take that long.  The traffic can be pretty intense.  There are a ton of scooters and cars and bikes and buses and trucks and people everywhere.  The normal laws of traffic do not always apply in Taiwan.  People just tend to do whatever they want to.  It all seems to work, but it makes riding a bike there a bit hairy.

It was misty as I said earlier but it was warm and just as soon as we got to the edge of the city, the traffic fell away.  But, the road also went up pretty much  from the edge of town.  The route for the day included 3 big mountain passes.  The mountains are not super high in  Taiwan, the island is at sea level afterall.  But, the mountains a really really steep.  The second climb was the steepest and the hardest.

After the first climb it started to rain – hard.  I am talking ocean tropical rain.  Big huge rain drops.  The wind picked up and the temperature started to drop.  The temperature dropped not to really cold, but so that when soaked on the 2nd descent, it felt really really cold.  We quickly went up the 3rd climb and that warmed us all up.  But, it was still raining.  In fact it rained the rest of the ride.

3 hours in the rain.  By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all pruned and tired of being in the wet.  I am afraid that I made a huge mess of the hotel lobby with my wet and disgusting bike and gear.  I trashed the hotel room as well.  Sorry.

I had to pack my wet gear in a plastic bag and head to the airport after that.  I can tell you that when I got home, the inside of my suitcase was – ewe.

 

Mountain bike ride on Sunday.

So back at home and we are still enjoying the great fall weather.  Today was about 50 degrees for a high.  It rained just once early in the week, but the cool temperatures and the regular rain has made the dirt completely epic at our trails at work.  The leaves are all down, and the traffic on the trails has made the ribbon of singletrack just perfect.  Wow.

Liz and I went out with our friends Aaron and Kathy Mock.  We rode for almost 3 hours.  It was really incredible.

So, the month has not been much for riding my motorcycle, but the mountain biking and road cycling has been spectacular.  Next weekend is the mountain bike race in Arkansas.  I hope that I do not shred my face again like I did previously.  Eiter way, it will be fun.

After the Arkansas trip, it will be time to get back to specific training for the coming race season.  Time to work with a trainer and set up a program and get after it all.

Joe

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