Start: 10:00 / 89 km / 1257 hm
This will be a longer entry due to the day being so great.
Started of with a nice street breakfast. Got myself some really great sandwiches, tasty and ultra cheap. There are so many foodshops and often you don’t know what they’re selling, but if you take some time to decipher the mandarin, you can find really great places.
Then headed of for the mountains, legs feeling way much better today. Just passed a coach with a bunch of cyclist getting off. Prepared for the climb with some bananas. While eating I noticed the ‘peloton ‘ passing by. Took it easy and mixed in. All those cyclist looked very sporty, with high end gear and clothes.
While going up in normal speed, I overtook one after each other – or let’s rather say, they were one by one giving up normal speed – either due to overpowering or lack of endurance (later I got told the explanation for this).
To be true: there were some really good ones. One guy was crazy, he overtook me by riding bare footed! But I think I ended up in the upper third, with all the luggage I was carrying as a handicap.
Also I got overtaken by the ones I passed at the beginning – they were now equipped with electric bikes.
Arriving at the top, the team was waiting there for all to arrive and doing some KOM photo session. Also had a break and as they were really kind, some nice chats with almost all of them. They supplied me with fresh water as well, so nice!
Left before the big groupo went off, rode through some quiet rural area. I had planned some shortcut, which favoured height instead of kilometres, but this proofed to be a nasty ride. The route at the sea would have been the better choice.
Meanwhile I had some email from the hotel:
“The safety of cycling is very strong today.“
“Pay attention to safety when riding a bicycle, and the wind is strong today.“
Wind was getting stronger, but I thought this was a little bit to overcautious. Well…climbing up steep ramps on this lonely trail with bad roads, I was just a little bit frightened that some bigger branch falling of a tree would hit me. Passed also some torn apart electricity line, but this was just a holding cable.
When I approached Kenting national park, I realised that they were true. Never ever experienced such strong winds before. Sand was getting blown like sandpaper across my body. When I stopped, I had to lay down the packed bicycle flat, others itbwoulf have blown away.
Riding was at the border to being unsafe. Unclipped the pedals and was for some time being carried uphill by just the wind, leaning into it like a sailing ship. At one point I even thought about pushing the bike and calculated how far it would be by walking.
Luckily, as soon as I had approached sea level and was heading north back again, it was bearable.
Arrived safely after a frightening ride, Hotel was hard to find and for the first time I was approached by some motorcyclist asking about where to stay. Thank you scum, I booked in advance.
The hotel guys also told me about the reason for the winds, there is a strong taifun named ‘Yutu’ passing by, approaching the Philippines.
After washing clothes went downtown. Kenting consists mainly of a main road which is a constant night market. Went for some really nice Tepanyaki, had seafood and scallops, tasty! As well talked to some Italian guys, who pointed me out to look on:
for further updates on the winds.
While looking for a reggea bar, I got shouted to on the streets. It was the cycling team I had just met in the morning. Now the fun part starts. They invited me for food and whisky.
Wow, had such a great time with them. Thank you Raymond, Daniel and then rest of the team! Talked and talked, they were so kind. It turned out to be the Rotary cycling club of Teipei doing a charity ride for collecting money to help polio.
Hopefuly I can meet them again in Germany and doing a ride with them, as they’re coming to Hamburg next year.
Also they were doing a 180 km tour the day before, so this explains the lazy legs of some of the drivers on the climb in the mornings. They also told me about the oldest rider, being 83, he had already done the tour around Taiwan 9 times this year!
Guided them to their hotel, got a tricot as a present and went for a finishing cocktail at a bar. Afterwards returned to the hotel, had some arguments with stray dogs and fell to bed wasted.