Sunday, July 06, 2014

Brutally hot day on the Miaoli 124

Today Drew of Taiwan in Cycles and I rode up the 3 through Miaoli and climbed the 124, then rolled down to Nanzhuang and followed the river to Zhunan where we hopped a train for home. With temps soaring near 100, and probably well over that in the heated areas on the road, the moderately difficult climb up the 124 became a brutal battle against the heat. Still, it was a gorgeous ride. Click on read more to read more!

Route Notes: You pick up the 124 in Shitan town, just north of the big Family Mart where the road into Shitan splits from the 3. Pay attention! It's the second big right that goes up into the hills. It isn't very clearly marked, but there's a big red sign on the left side of the road that warns you that the road has hairpin turns, and on that it tells you it's Km 43 of the 124. The turnoff is between a school and the town's administrative center.

The opening grades are easy but gradually they become steeper, though they seldom exceed 10%. Most of the climb is monotonous vegetation with few views. There is no food or water available for the climb, so make sure you have extra water. When you reach the temple near the top there are some small shops that sell drinks and meals for tourists. After the temple the road climbs another kilometer or so, and then it begins its long descent to the sea. The descent through the river valley filled with leisure farms is memorable, and there are some good views from the top of the ridge. The road passes through the tourist town of Nanzhuang and the area is filled with places to stay.

Our route this day took us back to Zhunan where we hopped a local train back to Taichung. The 124 is an excellent ride, highly recommended. On the day it was about 110 kms for me, with an estimated 1000 meters of climbing considering the hills on the 3 you have to clamber over to get here from Taichung.
The opening grade is easy but gradually it steepens. By this point, about halfway up, I was exhausted and resting frequently. The heat was incredible. Some Buddhists were having a feast nearby, so I walked down to their gathering and begged some water. It was that hot.

Not many views, but from time to time you could see where you'd been.

The whole climb was like this, every curve exactly the same, and never-ending.

Near the top you reach this rock. Not the summit! There's another kilometer or so of climbing past this. Fortunately the temple with food and water is just around the corner.

Drew climbs out of the tourist temple just before the summit.

Drew snaps a panorama.

From the ridgeline there are some good views.

The long descent is magnificent. The grade is not steep and the views over the river and hills are good.

The descent takes you through aboriginal villages and small towns. Very enjoyable. Here is one of the coffee shops that more and more decorate hills in tourist areas.

Green farms and hills.

Where do you want to stay?

The cute little throwback town of Tianmei, which Drew and I both liked.

Some fine old homes greeted us on our way to Zhunan.

An excellent ride, highly recommended.
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Anonymous said...


is this the M Turton who has written this


Michael Turton said...

Yes, thats me, the link is the sidebar of this blog.