Chapter 2 Taiwan Travel: Day 1
Taiwan • 06 April, 2019 • by Jacky Lee
The week I arrived in Taiwan in January, a Facebook Event from Yao Bike appeared on my feed. The event was for a bike ride itinerary onto the highest point in Taiwan: Wuling.
- Day 1: Taipei → Yilan • 106km / 710m
- Day 2: Yilan → Wuling Farm • 99km / 2620m
- Day 3: Wuling Farm → Wuling • 63km / 2326m
Summiting Wuling has always been on my bucket list, so I immediately contacted Yao Bike and signed myself up. For those that don’t know, cycling to Wuling is considered one of the toughest climb in the world. It is the reason hundreds of professional cyclists travel here to attempt the famous Taiwan KOM race, held every year in October.
Our route won’t be entirely the same as the Taiwan KOM, since we’re going up through the north side of the mountain. But the infamous ‘last 10km’ will be the same, so we can at least experience why everyone hates it in the race.
The day finally came and cyclists from all over the Asia Pacific region (Thailand, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China) gathered in Taipei the day before the departure. I took the high speed train from Kaohsiung to Taipei, arrived at around 1pm , assembled my bike, then did some work at the cafe until the briefing.
The next morning
After breakfast at the hotel restaurant, everyone gathered at the lobby around 8am for the departure. Everyone was friendly, excited but generally nervous about the next few days of riding. Even though we all knew the today was the easiest leg, we were mentally psyching ourselves up for day 2 & 3. Despite the language barrier between some of us, we all had a common goal: Making it up to Wuling.
Riding through Taipei city was fun, the roads weren’t particularly busy. We kept the pace nice and steady, just slow enough to have a conversation with whoever’s around you. This was nice because I didn’t know anyone in the group.
Roughly 20km in, we began climbing out of Taipei, through Pingxi.
65km in we made a lunch stop at Fulong. then another slow & steady flat section into Yilan. In true Taiwanese spirit, we took a pitstop for some boba tea before heading into our accomodation.
Some of us headed straight into the rooftop spa & pool at the hotel. We figured any sort of muscle recovery would be ideal for the brutal climbs for the next couple of days.
Journal by Jacky Lee