Weekend Update

Well… the weather kept me close to home this weekend, but I did manage to get a short ride with some hot climbing done. Dom and I did a little ride over Dadu Shan between Taichung and the coast. It was nice to try out my climbing legs to better evaluate how I am coming back from all that down time. 


The goal was to push heavier gears to about 70rpm on the climbs


The speed was there, but the recovery times were not. I guess I still need some engine work. 


Good times. 


Here is the route for a short jump over the hill with limited time. 


Links:

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In other cycling news, the big one-day races are over, with my favorites in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The Ardenne series also wrapped up without the heavy favorites faring terribly well. I get the feeling Radioshack, BMC and a few others are holding back before the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. 


I did enjoy seeing Nibali make a great effort to only place second in last night’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He showed a lot of the courage that made him a standout in the 2010 Giro. 


It is a shame that so much racing is reserved for the final few kilometers of these races.  

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Sunday Morning Coffee Ride

End of Tunghai Descent


I am still battling knee soreness and couldn’t decide which flat, easy route to take on my Sunday ride, so I threw my hands in the air and just took an easy loop up to Dadu Shan and Tunghai University.

Urban Greenspace


The weather in Taichung was gorgeous with enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable.

Mojo Coffee


My main goal was to enjoy a couple cups of coffee and just relax. I know… biking to coffee is such a hipster thing to do… so I indulged.

Terry’s


I enjoyed the gliding descent into Taichung city and landed first at MOJO Coffee on Daye Rd. There were three people there just reading and it had the total feeling of a lazy Sunday at coffee. They make a wet cappuccino. I chilled there for a while and read the papers before leaving for more coffee.

I love a good cappuccino


Next, I went to Caffe Terry after zipping through Taichung’s uncharacteristically placid city traffic.

mmmmmmm!


At Caffe Terry I had another cappuccino and just hung out at an outside table to enjoy the light breeze. I noticed Terry has a Jango Flick folding bicycle available for visitors who are looking for wheels around town.

The mountain to get back to my prior form and fitness grows by the week. I just hope my down time will allow me to become healthy again to get back to 100%. This is the most frustrating process.

Terry’s Flik

Perspectives From Around Taichung: Circling The City

Posing Above Airbase

After slightly over doing it last weekend, I really needed to take it easy. I needed to ride. I mean, I REALLY needed to ride! Still, I did not want to get myself into any situation that would destroy my knee again if I started feeling pain 50km from home. I also really needed to ride with my good friend Michael Turton from The View From Taiwan. We hadn’t ridden together in weeks and sometimes nothing is better than just shooting the shit on two wheels.

I invited Michael to join me on an easy ride around Taichung City. The idea was to take a slow roll around the edges of the city with maybe time for a long coffee at a pace easy enough to talk Taiwanese politics, culture and biking.


Patriotic Taiwanese

On my way out to meet Michael, I was happy to meet two cyclists who called themselves the “Bicycle Brothers” or 鐵馬兄弟. These two young men were on the final day of their round-island trip, which started in Taoyuan. Each man had a placard attached to the back of their bicycle expressing his love for Taiwan. For many Taiwanese, a round-island trip not only signifies a physical or personal challenge, but it also reflects a desire to view Taiwan as a center and the intent to experience the country from all sides. The round-island trip has become a strong expression of a Taiwan-centered identity (a symbol that has often been subverted by Taiwan’s political actors, especially if their loyalty to Taiwan is suspect).

I love Taiwan

Mountains And Road

As I made my way out toward the edge of the city near Dakeng, the mountains were clearly visible in the distance. With moist air blowing off the ocean, it is too easy to forget Taichung is surrounded by foothills and mountains that mostly reside behind a veil of dust and haze.

Michael The Pathfinder

I followed Michael on some winding paths between the graves near the notorious Ivy boarding school, and we worked our way into Shen Gang.

Twisting Roads of Tanzi

The Family Car?

Man Exposes His Bird

Before long we were on the Highway 10, which runs from Daya to Feng-yuan. I love this area as I always see the damnedest things out there.

Eventually we met up with Zhong Ching Rd. and took that to the base of Dadu Shan. As we were riding we briefly joined a group of very friendly cyclists on mountain bikes who were determined to get to Ching Shui. My favorite exchange came from this bunch:

Guy: Giant makes good bikes. Maybe you should buy a Giant.

Me: I have heard that Seven isn’t so bad either.

It wasn’t long before Michael had heard enough of the Giant worship, and after coming off a Giant himself, put the rubber down and had put the group a kilometer behind.

The Red Clay of Dadu Shan

We reached the climb up to Dadu Shan and although I can still climb, my endurance is really hurting. I can’t wait to start the interval training to get my skills back.

The view from Dadu Shan was beautiful. It is easy to get stuck in the city hating on the traffic and exhaust. Luckily we have Dadu Shan sitting just above the city where a rider can get away and put the whole mess into perspective.

Foothills

From my earliest days in Taichung I have always been impressed with the fields of bright orange clay that over over the city skyline.

Our Fair City

The clouds and sprinkles of rain added a little drama to the descent off the hill as we barreled into Taichung city along Xi-tun Rd. and eventually a relaxed lunch before calling it a day.

The leg was getting a bit sore, but it was mainly along the IT band near the hip, so a little stretching took care of it and it was like hitting the reset button. A little knee soreness that also quickly abated, so a few more building rides before I try another long adventure or serious climbing.

Although it was short, slow and local, it was another wonderful ride.

The Great Xitun Intersection

Recovering on the Cobbles? Rehab Ride #3


Instead of hammering my legs into brutal submission on a 258km hell ride, I was merely satisfied with a slow tour around Taichung’s Dadu Mountain to take a took at some of the area’s listed bike routes.


I made my way down Wu Chuan West Rd. for a slow rolling warm-up, and turned down Anhe Rd. before the road could really begin climbing up to the Taichung Industrial Park. At Taichung Harbor Rd. I took a left until the Route 125 to Daya.

I was happy to be on the bike and two wheels under my ass felt fantastic after two weeks off. I deliberately kept the pace slow, but still managed to pass a few guys on mountain bikes.


It was at Daya on Chung Ching (Zhong qing) Rd. that I hit my first bike path, which consisted of little more than bicycle markings and roughened up concrete on the sidewalk. Some shops along the way had brought their wares out onto the path as well. I quickly retreated to the safety of the street. This road is also known as the Highway 10.


I had a wonderful descent into Ching Shui, a little town on the coastal plain, where the market was really too full of people to safely ride and take pictures. I didn’t know how much longer I had on my leg, so I got moving south on Chung Shan (Zhong Shan) Rd. This makes for a nice alternative to the busy Highway 1 and it was on this stretch I was able to ride at my normal pace. After massaging my injured leg for so long, I could feel how much tighter my uninjured leg had become. Note to self: Achieve Balance.


Chung Shan (Zhong Shan) Rd. hooks back up with the Highway 1 in Long Jing near the base of Dadu Shan, where I met up with another bike path. Finally, I could hit the cobbles.


It was a raised pedestrian and bicycle path, which often means trouble, as we see above with a woman preparing to dry her garlic on the path. The rough brick is less than ideal for biking, but not too rough.

I stopped for a stretch and took in Changhua’s bicycle infrastructure.



There are several spurs that break off from the main trail and go on up to the Zhushan-Nanliao Old Road, in which cyclists can chug up the hill to a dead end, where they can walk along an old rail line. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any place to lock a bike. I returned to the Highway 1 and plugged along through Dadu. It was not long after this that my leg started to get sore. I was sure not to torque on it too hard and gingerly made my way home.


Unlike earlier rehabilitation rides, I was able to walk up the stairs to my house without any pain. A few minutes of stretching and 20 min. of ice, and I felt great.

Better, but not perfect.

The whole ride was about 40 miles, which I completed in a humbling 4 hours. Sometimes it takes a little discipline to hold back when you need to. I will keep working on this.

Dadu Shan Night Loop and Addendum

With my health and fitness climbing back up, I have started doing my night rides again. A lot of people think it is insane to ride on Taiwanese streets during the day, let alone at night.

Personally, I enjoy the night rides because there is less traffic and I can see where the vehicles are by their lights.

This particular night I was a little slow off the start as I was traveling West though a meaty North/South crosswind.

I always go up the Industrial Park 22 Road to IP 5 road and through the back door of the Tunghai Market to Shinshing Rd. The dodging and weaving through pedestrian traffic in the market is a thrill. I then cross Taichung Harbor road to “International Street”, which is a faux cobblestone lane on a hill and the most idiotic series of uncontrolled, speed bumped intersections.

After snaking through the back roads I return to Taichung City on Xitun rd. This is where I have recorded my fastest time ever, topping out at 72.4kph. This time I was quite a bit slower through the wind.

I then hit the heavy traffic of the city. It becomes a real slugfest down there as I jockey around cars and scooters to keep my speed up while staying safe. On this night there were a few lost drivers who wouldn’t give me room to get around them.

I then turn back on Wenxin Rd. to sprint between lights on my way home. This is where I didn’t have it in the legs like I usually do.

That’s why there’s always a “next time”. Full Stats

And:

On my rides I like to bring the ole ipod out. I picked up the new nano touch and like it more than the buttonless shuffle. So what was going through my ears on this ride. Here are the 15 songs that I listened to on this ride:

  • The KKK Took My Baby Away–The Ramones
  • Rooster–Alice In Chains
  • TheWalls Came Down–The Call
  • Sweet Child Of Mine–Guns & Roses
  • Hells Bells–AC/DC
  • Pump It Up–Elvis Costello
  • Torreador Song–Bizet
  • Planet Queen–T-Rex
  • Puttin On The Ritz–Taco
  • As Everything–The Fastbacks
  • Middle Man Of Time–Young Fresh Fellows
  • Are You Experienced–Jimi Hendrix
  • Small Town Boy–Bronski Beat
  • Change–The Lightning Seeds
  • She Sells Sanctuary–The Cult

A Ride With Mosaic : 鐵馬賽克


Gaomei Wetlands

After logging only one meaningful ride in two weeks, mainly due to the weather, the rain clouds parted just in time for a warm-up ride with Rocky and his crew from T-Mosaic.


A Group on the Go

The ride was perfect for what I wanted to do. I have some heavy climbing this weekend as we attempt to do the Central Cross Island Highway again and I really didn’t want to over do it and be less that 100% energized for the weekend long haul.

Cold Cash

I wanted to mostly go 50% on the effort and just loosen the legs up so they won’t get tired on the climbs. I was also having a mild asthma attack and I was having trouble getting my lungs full of the oxygen I needed for any major effort. The route was simply down to the Gaomei Wetlands and back. I rode for a while with Cash Huang, who has the perfect build for cycling, and a bike that looks like a charity project.

The Emperor’s New Cycling Shoes

I stretched it out with a few spurts of energy here and there, but when I would feel my muscles working too hard I would dial it back.

Mr. Mosaic Himself–Rocky Huang

We arrived near the wetlands and sat around doing nothing for a while before heading back to the T-Mosaic shop on Liming Rd.

Heading for Home

The croup was fairly small and since I normally don’t have time to ride with these guys, I was a bit of the odd man out in an established group. No biggie. They were all nice people and a mix of skill levels. As we turned back toward Taichung the headwind made it so that we were doing flat hills… until we got to the hill over Dadu Shan, which combined a head wind with a climb and thus making it feel like we were doing hillier hills.

We Eat So We Can Ride and We Ride So We Can Eat!

We ended the ride at Dante’s Cafe on the Donghai University campus where conversation swirled around…mainly the topic of food an of a shaved ice store that is operated by girls with large breastseses. It was a calm and relaxing ride. Just what I needed. 35 miles of easy, happy biking.