The Tsengwen Reservoir
Three days. 240 kilometers. 4500 meters of climbing. Nathan Miller and I rode across the mountains of southern Taiwan, in search of a flat area. Found none. Three days of climbing later, I was sore but still alive. Good ride, great company. Click on READ more to see the pics....
map here): Day one: we took the 149 from Zhushan up to the Nantou 212-1/Chiayi 151-1. Both of those roads are pretty. There is water and snacks available on the 149 but not on the 212-1/151-1. Be prepared to climb, grades range between 6 and 12%. Road surfaces are ok but not great, poor in places, and often covered with detritus. On the 212-1/151-1 vehicles will take up the whole road so be careful. The descent on the 162甲 is one of the best on the island, 10 kms of switchbacks, 7-8% grade, staggering views, and great curves and straightaways. These roads are all gorgeous and highly recommended.
Day 2: we took the 3 from Zhuqi. Not recommended. A long uphill slog, dull, with few places to stop for water or snacks until Fenshuiling near the top. The grade is not difficult but it is work with little reward.
Day 3. The Chaiyi 147 has been redesignated the 149, so at present Google maps is wrong. It is one of the prettiest roads I've been on. After you begin the descent the road surface becomes heavily broken and cratered between kms 7 and 10, be careful. There is no place to stop for water or food on this road. The grade up to the top is not difficult, 6-8%. The 147 runs into the Tainan 179, probably the worst road I have been on in Taiwan. 16 kilometers of hills, no flats, no water, no food, no people, no views. Brutal 10-12% grades on every hill, terrible pavement, few vehicles passing by if you run into trouble. Avoid like plague.
All in all, only the first day was really enjoyable. The 3 is a slog, the 147 a bright moment, but most of it was work. I don't recommend any of the routes we took on day 2 or 3, except for the 147. Still, it was great to see more of Taiwan that I had been putting off, and to spend a couple of days with a good friend.
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