Sunday, March 16, 2014

Riding the Hills of Miaoli

Drew rests on the climb on the 52-3.

Helluva a ride this Saturday as Drew and I banged around the hills of Miaoli, and came home banged up but happy. This ride took us on one of my favorite local roads, Pinglin Road out of Jhuolan in Miaoli. From Pinglin Road, we took the Miaoli 54 back to the 3. Once we reached the 3, we turned south and took the 52-3 along the northwest side of the Liyu Reservoir. Brutal hills, but lovely views. Only about 85 kms round trip from Taichung, but well over 1000 meters of climbing.... click that READ MORE link below....

Route map.

ROUTE NOTES: Tricky bits. (1) Finding the Miaoli 54. It's at the top of the big climb AFTER you pass the dam. It is marked as Jingshan Road on Google maps, but that is not its name.(2) On the 54, you'll hit a N-S road about 1 km before the 3. The intersection is twisty and the two roads run parallel to each other. You don't want the road that goes down to the left, you want the one with the upward grade, pictured here. (3) The 52-3 is at km 140 of the 3. (4) Buy snacks in Jhuolan. There's only local shop snack food on this route until you reach Houli at the other end where the 52-3 debouches into the 13.

We rode up to Jhuolan along the 3 and then went into town for our traditional stop at the big 7-11. Here Drew enjoys the turn onto Pinglin Road. This is a lovely 15 km stretch of rolling road through hills and farms, with two climbs to over 500 meters.

Roadwork is constant in Taiwan. Here some resting workers wish us well.

Drew captures a hazy image at one of my favorite spots along this road.

Some sweet riding on this road.

Drew enjoys the view on the wrong road. Naturally, since we were two Chinese-literate foreigners with a combined forty years of experience in Taiwan and countless years of road navigation, we went down the wrong road looking for the 54...

....this resulted in Drew locked in a death struggle with a dog pack.

Where the &@#$%@ are we? We found out later that Google has the road marked as "Jingshan Road" but no local knew it by that name and the guy at the shop we always stop at, after he treated us to a couple of drinks, told us that there is no road by that name. But he did give us directions to the Miaoli 54.

Eventually we found the 54. Serious farming country, where they do things the old school way.

The 54 runs long the top of the ridges, rising and dipping, offering wonderful views and some brutal but short inclines.

Just a taste of the 54.

Don't worry, you're know you're not far from civilization when there's a sign proclaiming that Falungong is good.

Drew stops to point out some unusual ladders. The 52-3 turned out to be extremely pleasurable, an empty road with new tarmac through farms one side and the reservoir on the other. I don't think we saw any vehicles until we started seriously climbing. The road opens with a gentle upward climb, giving no warning of the brutal grade that finishes it. Despite the last climb, this one is on my highly recommended list.

Good views over the reservoir. If it hadn't been for the haze, the mountains would have been amazing.

Finally! After I walked the section of 25%+ upward grade, the road turns left over the ridge and then it's downhill all the way to Houli through trees, farms, and stands of bamboo. Here Drew shoots downhill. This long descent is wonderful, but it is strewn with forest detritus. I would not take this road if it is/has just been raining.

Spring is back! Bugs will be out in force soon. This fellow posed for me near the end of the ride.

No more pictures for you! You'll just have to go ride it.
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Domenic said...

There is an insane ramp or two up there! You made it through. Chapeau!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting. I created a Garmin loop course starting from your southern point around the resouvior. Since I don’t know the area I’ll use your post as a template. Thanks for posting.