Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hot one on the New Central Cross


A glorious day on the "New Central Cross", the new highway that connects the 124 in Miaoli to the Miaoli 62. Hard riding under a hot sun. Come below the READ MORE for more pics...

This road (Google link) connects the 124, which runs between Shitan and Nanzhuang, with the Miao 62. Lovely and steep, it rises to 800 m at the tunnel. It seems to be equally steep from north or south, and it is not shaded for the last 4 kms. From the bridge at the Miaoli 62 it is about 10 kms to the tunnel. Because it follows a creek, there are several places to get in the water and cool off. Surfaces are generally good, and within 2 kms of the tunnel are a couple of small shops and a campground with a drink machine, for drinks. It connects to the 124 below the peak 3 kms from the hamlet of Xianshan, on the Nanzhuang side. Hence one must climb to return to Shitan (an easy shaded climb).

We took the 3 out of Taichung all the way to Dahu, then turned onto the Miaoli 62. There's a 7-11 right before the entrance to the Miaoli 62 that is popular with cyclists and motorcyclists. Here Iris takes a shot shortly before Dahu.

Neverending graveling. On the bridge a parent lets her child watch the machines at work.

Iris turns onto the 62. The grade is gentle at this point.

Yes, there's a DIY chocolate place here. Go figure.

This beautiful day had Iris grinning.

A view across the farms....

With Guanyin protecting us, how can we go wrong?

As you ride, the road climbs gently upward and becomes wild river gorge country, familiar terrain in Taiwan.

An earth god temple by the road.

The Miaoli 62 leads to a number of tourist sites.

The river.

Lots of wildlife, including monkeys, birds, squirrels, and snakes...

We neared the bridge where we would cross to the New Central Cross.

Follow the signs for Bagua village... even when they are misspelled.

Looking back up the gorge from where we came...

Iris checks out the coming climb as we cross the bridge.

The New Central Cross starts as a tiny service road.

Nothing like 20 degree grades in the rising heat.

The Miaoli 62 continues on, and in fact there's another road that comes back to the one we are on further up.

Iris enjoys the lovely day.

The recent rain had washed away the smog and dust.

The New Central Cross then turns and runs through villages and betel nut farms.

We really should have had a swim. The road is shaded for much of the opening 5 kms.

But then there is less and less shade...

Lots of switchbacks.

Iris breaks not far from the tunnel mouth where the campgrounds begin.

The last couple of kms you climb past and then above several campgrounds. They have water and drink machines.

Breaking again below the tunnel. This section is steep.

Finally the tunnel came into view. We took a lot of breaks on this section, and I walked the steep part below the tunnel. Just too hot for me to climb.

A last look as a rain squall blew over.

Once you clear the tunnel, there are several logged out areas.

The downhill begins here.

More logging.

Finally we descended to the 124 and then climbed back to Xianshan for lunch. This section is shaded and very enjoyable.

The day was so clear that you could see the ocean from a spot near Xianshan.

After lunch in Xianshan, we returned to Shitan on the marvelous descent on the 124, sooo much fun to pass cars on the way down. It was still hot and I was in severe agony on the 3 beating back to Dahu in the midday heat. But we stopped at the 7-11 near the 62, re-energized with coffee and ice cream bars, and suddenly at 3:30 my energy recovered as the temps fell a bit. The day became extra-lovely too, with puffy clouds filling the sky.

The big clouds kept the sun off us.

We stopped for slushies and coffee at the overlook above Jhuolan.

The clouds were amazing.

The clouds were amazing.

Ended the day with 150+ kms of riding and 1500 meters of climbing at least. Hard riding in the heat, and slow going with lots of rests, but well worth it for the excellent company and views. Hope to see you on the next one!
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