Saturday, September 26, 2009
Epic Riding in Taichung and Nantou
We then rode briefly down 14, a major truck route, ugly, dirty, and uncomfortable. The less said about it, the better. From there we turned onto 136.
I've blogged on 136 before, it's a gorgeous road, with great views, greenery, and the feeling of being walled in by towering peaks. Our original intention was to climb up a little ways to find a side road that would take us into Taichung city, clearly marked on the map, not so clear in reality. We never did find it, and we finally decided just to go over 136, which both of us had been saving for another day.
Probably not a good decision, having already done two big climbs. 136 is made to break a cyclist's heart. It rises up to 750 meters, and is much steeper than anything I usually ride, a sustained steepness that never relents. I had long quailed at the thought of it, for on the Taichung side it is not only steep, but becomes steeper as you climb. Local bikers have nicknamed it The Fence for just that reason. It is not as bad from the Nantou side, but it is still hard, at least for a duffer like me. I climbed the last two kilometers on sheer willpower alone, too tired to even think about taking pictures.
UPDATE: Drew snapped this excellent pic of me at the top of 21:
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