Day 6: Hey, we can't make it! Lets get back!
In the evening we looked at the map and began to count. Our calculations showed that somehow the plan does not stick together. We assumed that by the day we enter the famous Wuling (KOM Challenge) the plan must have a reserve day. The famous driveway, however, is the priority of the trip. We were supposed to go on something called Tai-Ping 36 Bends and on the map it looked like an endless number of streamers, but we decided to let go and head again through Sun Moon Lake towards the summit of all the peaks. The route seems a bit pointless, but allows you to explore places that no normal tourist visits. It was a mistake because I was struck again by the awareness of how much good we were missing.
So we start driving some small local roads and the magic begins. These are narrow, perfectly even bitumens, from which excellent views should extend, but they are obstructed by a wall of trees. The forests here are different than the ones I know. You can't enter the forest without machetes. There are unbelievable serpentine, and the roads going sideways even more. At every intersection, I deeply suffer that I can't drive everything here and in the evening a tear drips on the map when I see what I missed.
We're going stress-free to Sun Moon Lake again. Sometimes the sun burns in the cloudless sky, and then, after passing the tunnel, land in the middle of the cloud and wonder when the rain is falling. But it doesn't matter, even the rain is pleasant here - the temperature is stable and comfortable. Along the way, we stand in 7-eleven (surprise!), Where we get just on the bus, bringing kids from the nearby primary school. We are becoming the highlight of the day. We introduce ourselves, we explain that we are from Poland and we see kids running into the corner and launching maps on the tablet. Words poland it rains their words three million times that day.
This meeting is reportedly later immortalized even on banknotes, only the tablet was replaced by a globe. Tradition above all:
Taiwan is a large Anaga Park that includes Teide summit... but there is a lot of Teides and they are surrounded by palm trees and tea.
The route to the lake is slightly extended by the driveway that I found on some blog and was described by man as "top 10 routes". I don't know what these people are! The road is really nice, with palm trees, but especially to write about it? I don't know... maybe it's already a sign that we should go home.
We are next to Sun Moon Lake at sunset - it's not much better. It still doesn't impress us.
Wen Shan - 256złWe sleep in Yuchi, a few kilometers from the lake in:
Accommodation is away from civilization about 2 kilometers of driving along the main road. The host proposes us a ride to the city for food - we explain to her that we will ride a bicycle. When he hears that we plan to ride these 2km, he grabs his head.
The whole trip to Taiwan could have the name "Shadow of the Great Mountain", because it was subordinated to what was to come on the seventh day
Day 7: Taiwan physically and mentally hard
This day was supposed to be of those rather light: slightly over 70 kilometers with a gentle, stable driveway from 300m above sea level to around 2300-2400m above sea level. It was also a day with the funniest accommodation, because we were looking for a place as close as possible to the summit (Wuling).
Very important information here. The area around the summit of all the peaks, i.e. the famous Wuling, is not full of accommodation. To put it simply: they are practically nonexistent. This makes it very difficult to get it by bike... especially on the weekend.
The moment when you are surprised that it's hard to find accommodation at 3400m above sea level
The fact that we were able to tap the accommodation so high is a great success, because the next day we will have to break through the peak and go down to the coast.
I will say this: attacking the summit from Puli is a mistake. You go along the main road, in heavy traffic, the road is quite boring and very tiring. We huddle slowly, suffering very much.
Only around Qingjing Farm, i.e. slightly before 2000m above sea level, the situation changes a little - it's a tourist center - buses, stops, Starbucks, etc. A lot of people, but they are not surprised at all, next to the road runs a viewing footbridge with a panorama of the surrounding mountains, and there is something to look at!
The segment from Pula to the top is over 52km with an average slope of 5%.
It gets a little better because the traffic calms down and the views get more points with each kilometer. After 6 painful hours we reach the accommodation- is a bus parking lot with... buses. Someone painted them in flowers, put them in a parking lot with a fantastic view of the mountains, installed two double beds, a bathroom, a hall and valued it for the highest amount of our vacation.
At an altitude of 2400m, we report about an hour before sunset and we have two options: relax before tomorrow or attack Wuling, lying at ~ 3275m above sea level. The decision is simple. The road is rather hard (he he), but the mode of the conqueror in the dark goes on and we go like a thunder - by our standards of course. Maybe it's because we left our luggage on the bus and we fly lightly.
The view at the top is quite nice, but what the setting sun begins to do exceed our expectations. Photographing draws us so much that we stay there until completely dark. This is one of those funny moments when three adult, reasonable guys (Panda is waiting on the bus) do not come across the fact that at an altitude close to 3300 meters after dark it gets MORE COLD. We can't decide whether we want to survive or take pictures more, so we keep on ticking.
There are moments in life that are beyond doubt - you will remember them for the rest of your life. Sunset in Wuling is one of them.
We start the descent in total darkness, and the counters show around 2 ° C, which is even funny, because a few hours earlier, left in the sun, it showed 45 ° C. We arrive cold. Hard ;-)
It takes me a long time to get out from under the covers.
In the evening we try to plan another day sensibly. The plan is to leave your luggage somewhere around the peak, find accommodation on the other side (also as high as possible), go down, sleep, climb to the top, take your luggage and go as far north as possible to overnight. Unfortunately, there is practically no accommodation here, and at the weekend you can forget about it completely.
At booking zero, I only received two replies from e-mails that everything was full, and of the four patched reservations on Airbnb, none had failed. Two did not write back, one turned out to be 100km from the place on the map, and the other wrote that it was a mistake and they did not have four places. Even on buses we are not able to pat the night anymore.
So we make the hard decision that we leave our luggage in bus reception and we will come back the same way the next day. I totally don't like this idea (because we duplicate a huge part of the route and skip several) a must-visit), but at the time I didn't know that he would save our situation, which would be dramatically bad.
Carl Town Loft Hotel - 460złWe sleep here and I highly recommend this accommodation:
Day 8: Taiwan down
That night was hard. I'm not even talking about Michał's snoring anymore. The air-conditioning service overcame us and when we all woke up at night (i.e. Michał woke up, and all the others with him, worried about the lack of snoring), the climate indicated on the bus 12 ° C. I fired up the heat and the blast cooled the air to 10 ° C. The situation was saved somewhat by Dominik's discovery, who using Google Translator read what he disconnected to connect the phone charger - it sounded like this: central thermostat control. We have enabled everything - it turned out that the mattresses we sleep on can heat, and the air-conditioning can also repair itself and when I wake up an hour later, I feel like local eggs cooked in tea.
In the morning, we will have yesterday's uphill ride to the summit, and then start the descent. As usual, I don't know when it was a good idea to spend the night at 2400m above sea level, but I wake up more tired than I do every evening after riding. Climbing up is a drama, but we are carried by a vision of these epic views from the summit and overcoming the reverse route to the famous Taiwan KOM Challenge.
I will say this: overcoming almost 100 kilometers of downhill almost non-stop (with a break of less than 200m in the vertical of the driveway), the day before when you will have to climb it is not an optimal idea. Seriously.
Attention, I can unknowingly upset now. The congress did not kidnap us, the views from the top did not captivate us, the famous Taroko canyon at the bottom of the congress was so crowded that we focused more on passing buses than enjoying the views. With each kilometer covered down we were aware that exactly the same we would be going the next day... only 5x slower.
Along the way, the road repair stops us. The nice lady explains to us that the road opens for a moment every 1.5 hours. It takes us a moment to decode her information and, fortunately, it turns out that she was talking at 13:30, so we only have 35 minutes to wait in the cloud, somewhere at 2000m above sea level, at a comfortable temperature of about 9 ° C. The situation is saved by a nice Taiwanese who notices that we are able to slowly lose consciousness and invites us to the car. We compress 4 in the back seat and he throws us with his jackets. A moment later we see her talking to her passenger while they open their clothes and open the window in the back. In fact, we haven't done laundry for a long time. We move on, cold and a little bored with the ride.
Driving down in Taiwan is specific due to the fact that most of the turns are shaped in the opposite way, and everywhere there are rocks and forest that limit visibility at each of the numerous turns. The situation is saved by the mirrors set on each of the sharper corners, but it is aggravated by the presence of these damn concrete drains at the edges of the road.
Panda says this is the most overrated tour in a long time, I can't get along with my thoughts. As a consolation in the evening we check in at 7-eleven, and a nice lady host, as soon as we get to accommodation, tells us to take bikes and go to the beach, because the sun is setting and there is "SO BJUTIFULEEEJA, YOU MUST GO THERE!"
In general, everyone in Taiwan wants to take pictures everywhere. At first, we do not understand this - it's not that we're an attraction. They just want to take a picture with our camera, because if it is nice somewhere, you need to have a picture together as a souvenir.
In fact, we go there and the completely empty, wide beach, which is flooded with high waves on the one hand, and huge mountains on the other, is quite impressive. I regret more and more that we were unable to find one day to ride between the ocean and the mountains, through the local green fields.
My happiness baking room - 276złWe sleep in a bed with a beautiful name:
Day 9: One hill & #8211; TAIWAN KOM CHALLENGE, i.e. Taiwan
This is THE DAY. The route for which people from all over the world come here - some just to ride this one. However, we don't feel the excitement. We know exactly what awaits us and neither the driveway especially pleases us, nor the views that we will see. It's hard to say where it comes from. From the fact that we have already seen a lot in Taiwan, and the congress not really delighted us? Getting up at 5 a.m. to be on time? With 15km vertically and permanent sleep for the last week? I do not know.
At this point, we are probably the only people in the world who claim that:
The downhill route Taiwan KOM Challenge pleases me as much as a Saturday trip to Gassy.
I withdraw from this statement very quickly. We haven't made such a big cognitive error in a long time, and probably never in the subject of cycling. But from the beginning: because the day was undoubtedly unusual.
Taiwan KOM Challenge segment is almost 90km with an average of 3.5%. Sounds easy...
Waking up at 5 a.m., leaving at 6 p.m. there is like 22:00 in our place, so in our heads nothing is wrong, but it does not bother us particularly. A moment after 6 we check-in at a nearby beach, because I thought it was cool to have a photo in the morning at 0 m above sea level and look at the sunrise, and a few hours later to be at 3417m above sea level and watch its west.
Mechanical fall I
We go... after 5 minutes, Panda gets out of the derailleur. Di2 does not react to anything - the end. Behavior as if the power went out, and yet everything is charged. There is one decision: a visit to the site, which will destroy the plan of going to the top of the day, and the pain would be great, because the weather is extremely gracious. It turns out that in his take-only-most-necessary-luggage things, Dominik took not only flip flops, but also a power bank and a charger. It might not even be weird, if not for the fact that Dominik, as the only one, did not have much to load in his bike.
Years of IT work have certainly taught me one thing: to turn things on and off to find a fault. Connecting charging to junction box and I observe the diode - it sometimes lights up, so the diagnosis is simple: somewhere does not touch the wires. I find a faulty place by bending everything everywhere. We stick the charger with insulating tape so that Panda knows (looking at the charging diode) when the derailleurs work - when it goes off, it means you have to move it. We are starting with a half hour delay.
Mechanical fall II
At 10 kilometer I pass Dominik, who is fighting with the rear wheel - flat tire. I think it's called karma and he punished him for helping us. The matter is simple: the rear axle is screwed in crookedly. 15 minutes, 7 injuries and 2 multitools later we give up, I chase Panda up the hill and Dominik stays on the side of the road. Who goes with us on holiday knows about the famous rule: a minimum of most people must come back.
It's Saturday morning - among all the days you can choose to visit Taroko National Park, this is definitely the worst day. It's like going on a summer, sunny, Saturday morning at Morskie Oko & #8230; only that, as it turns out, not at all. At the time we are going, the traffic is practically zero - from time to time we only see individual buses. The clouds have not yet accumulated properly, and the sun rising behind us illuminates the huge walls that surround our path.
The first thousand meters vertically is very simple and very pleasant. At the 30th kilometer is the last 7-Eleven, another chance to eat properly is far away... very far. We start the second thousand meters climbing around 40 kilometers. How easy it is to count is a bit of a driveway, but a bit not. It is very, very impressive. However, changing weather and lack of traffic on the road can work wonders.
The second thousand vertical is only 25km and runs outside the national park - we are now driving the classic mountain road - curving slopes among the trees. From time to time, we pass over repair teams trying to recreate the course of the road in colossal avalanches. Somewhere around 1500m above sea level we also reach the cloud base and now it is very different - one might even be tempted to say: random.
We can see completely different things than Michał, who has probably already given us a good hour. At times there is absolute fog, at times we see the peaks surrounding us, seeing in the distance mountains over 3000 meters high. It's still hard to believe that the road can be so high. Throughout this day, one question does not leave us:
Why did someone build these roads... and how?!
The driveway is slightly longer, but I would not call it difficult - just a little patience. In fact, we're even a bit disappointed - is this the famous KOM Challenge? I know that it is difficult at a racing pace, but compared to the Czech Giant Mountains, it is still a holiday. Around 2500m above sea level, there is a small, 200-meter descent. A bit further is the intersection that we were supposed to use when returning from the top so as not to duplicate the roads... because yes, this altitude can be reached by 4 different routes (assuming that they have not fallen apart at the moment) and end, death.
The end of Taiwan KOM Challenge is a killer. It is like putting Modre Sedlo on top of Stelvio. You arrive a little tired, you see the peak in the distance and people who will applaud you, but you get a kick in the face. A dozen or so percentage, several hundred meter segments destroy everything, and most of all your head -switchbacks don't help here. I see twice as a scooter trying to beat the serpentine turns back to take more momentum. Strava speaks here about 500 meters from 26% and 350 meters from 29% and although it is known that she cannot be trusted, in this case I believe her.
Hardware fall III
Have you ever thought what would happen if your brake cable unexpectedly burst?
For example, before one of the largest road downhills in the world...
We manage to find a good excuse to rest. We also learn that Dominik hitchhiked to the site and the next day will chase us. Do you remember the cable from Di2? So he was tense trytytkami with brake cable, which... she broke off. Yes, Panda broke the brake cable on the uphill I am afraid to think what would happen if the situation took place a few kilometers away at one of the world's largest road junctions. We decide to give up stress and think what's next at the top.
In Taiwan, we have a very nice feeling that whatever happens, there will be people who will be happy to help us.
Wuling on Saturday afternoon is Zakopianka. There are no shops, banners and buds, but the top is one big stopper. No wonder - the car park is small and the road is narrow enough to block the whole thing very simply. Taiwanese and tourists come here for the trekking built in large numbers.
And now a very brave curiosity:
Wuling - Taiwan KOM Challenge summit is visually questionable.
This means - of course - it's nice, but it's not the level you expect from such a climb. This is not the epic you expect from watching all these movies on the internet. In order for 10/10 you must aim at the appropriate weather conditions - so-called sea of clouds under you. Compared to what you saw along the way, e.g. in Alishan, it's just normal. However, there is a way! A bit behind the peak you leave the bike and hit on foot (you can also bike, but we don't want to be illegal) on Hehuanshan Main Peak.
I am standing with my girlfriend on the summit after nearly 3500 meters of continuous climbing. With a girl who overcame the 15km altitude over the past week and a thousand kilometers carrying all holiday possessions. In my head I have a picture of all these super-professional youtube & sheep who after months of training and logistics straight from Apollo 13 also came here and became internet winners. The girl asks me if she will certainly not ride these 50km on one brake and whether we can max 100km / 2000m tomorrow.
The pros of climbing Hehuan are two - you will collect 150 meters of elevation gain and you will die aesthetically. This is exactly the view that rewards all efforts and is the icing on the cake of the whole trip. You see dozens of giant peaks and you are high, very high above the clouds. It's very fat. The 360-degree panorama lands in the 10/10 category next to such places as Norwegian Dalsnibba, Azores Sete Cidades, whether American National Parks.
world the island.
We don't even try to ride down - without the rear brake it would be a homicide. We set ourselves in a nearby car park and look for Panda to hitch down. We are lucky to live on the route of the only reasonable downhill ride, and unfortunately it is 50 km away and the sun is starting to set.
Taiwanese are so helpful that when asked about a ride, they will be happy to help... for example, walking in the parking lot with you and asking others in Chinese if they can help us. Unfortunately - all cars are packed to the roof, we decide to go a bit lower and try our luck on the side of the road. It succeeds after several attempts - a small SUV stops - we see that there is a full local family. The driver opens the trunk and there is another child. It turns out that he travels in the trunk for motion sickness - Panda with a bicycle replaces his place. The girl is not enough that she must now ride on a super winding road ahead, her brother is still eagerly eating a smelly hard boiled egg.
I go downhill behind the car and collect our luggage left by the buses along the way. We meet less than 30 kilometers away, at 7-Eleven, where the family unfortunately stayed. It is dark and cold, though infinitely warmer than during the downhill ride. We decide to catch a taxi with some Taiwanese family - we didn't know then that they were going in the opposite direction. For a 35km taxi we pay about PLN 150, it is a miracle that we fit into it with bikes, although you can see that the driver has experience in stuffing and pushing ... and a strong blow to the tailgate.
In the evening we check in to Pula, we find a Giant service 500 meters from the house, where the magician repairs the brake cable from us right away, on Di2, unfortunately, he does not know, but our patent still works... at least until the morning.
One of the most important and saddest information about this famous driveway is that on 99,76% Strava will not count this segment for you, and your profile will not count it as one biggest climb. There are so many tunnels on the route and they are so hidden between the rock walls that the GPS can't handle it.
J House, Puli - 343zł; Dominik stays alone on the other side of the mountain and the next day he will make over 200km through Wuling to chase.We spend the night in
Day 10: Rearrangement and hardware recovery
The plan for the next two days is simple - get to Taipei. Michał is waiting for Dominik, we decide to move slowly, because the legs are already uncomfortable. We need exactly 1 meter to discover that all Di2 died to death and the derailleurs will never move again.
It's Sunday, but thankfully that doesn't bother anyone in the normal functioning - we wait until 11:00, until the second Giant service opens. When you enter a small site somewhere off the beaten track, you don't count on much, and certainly not that man will fix Di2 on your hand, so we are ready for the worst. The explanation of our service requests takes a while, but we achieve success - guy makes a sour face, and we already know that cycling holidays are over.
The mechanic disappears for a moment, asks with the help of his translator whether we are in a hurry, and we can easily guess, we say that rather yes, prepared for the answer about the number of days needed for repair. The guest says he will try and a maximum of 2 hours: shock, disbelief, happiness. The man pulled the cable from the exhibition bike and replaced it broken within an hour while we were visiting the surrounding fair (not necessarily for tourists' visits). Let's move on!
We didn't have too ambitious plans for this day... at least until we noticed a huge Buddha somewhere in the distance (埔里 正德 大 佛山), from which thousands of people pour out. The party has just ended opening Buddha. Before we manage to push the bikes uphill, it is almost empty there. At the entrance we are caught by a monk (?) Who asks a thousand questions and also explains a lot. For example, the Buddha is made of bronze and gold. They have momentum!
Then follows an inexplicable series of events in which we celebrate the Buddha three times around, give a donation, release water lilies for good luck and interview local television.
Then I'm afraid that the headline will be - a Catholic European renounces his faith and pays homage to our god. A bit shocked and with a definite time deficit we go further. Two hills are waiting for us that day: a pleasant 5km with an average of 5% and a murderous 10km with an average of 6%. The latter, despite being theoretically cool, with serpentines in palm forests, we are extremely tired.
I don't know if it's a matter of Sunday or an event in the area, but hundreds of motorcyclists on speeders and expensive, fast cars pass by. No dangerous situation appears for a moment, but the noise drills the brain. We leave for the main road number 8 and slowly die of boredom covering the next kilometers.
After dark, the road becomes empty and we are left on a two-lane road alone. It rides so well that if it wasn't for the night-tapped accommodation, we could be tempted to definitely extend the route. It is quiet at night, it is not blowing, and the temperature is approaching optimal... and only those disturbing sounds from the bushes are a little wondering.
We get to the strawberry land - series of villages whose leitmotiv are strawberries and strawberry fields. There are strawberry stops, strawberry sculptures, strawberry 7-eleven here. I almost die of a heart attack when I see suspicious guys looking at me from the field in the middle of the night. In the morning it turns out that these artificial people set up in the fields.
Quan Ming B&B - PLN 238 (2 persons)
Day 11: Cycling highway to Taipei, which is Taiwan boring
From the strawberry village to Taipei we have about 130km relatively flat road. Not only that, we are almost always following routes marked as the main cycling routes in Taiwan (e.g. Cycling Route 1). To put it mildly: if I were to overcome the most famous bikepacking route, i.e. around Taiwan with these roads, I would put the brake handle in my eye. The bicycle route consists in the fact that next to the road there are signs where it goes. Sometimes there is a bicycle lane (very rarely), sometimes a two-lane lane (rarely), and sometimes it is simply a two-lane with or without side roadside.
If someone suggests a trip around the island or route number 1, hit him in the face and de-de-corne
Not that it is particularly dangerous on a two-lane road. Well, most of the day they are almost empty. Simply driving them is dramatically boring and bypasses most meat on the island. If you like laps or miles to impress your colleagues - I recommend the most. In any other case, I recommend pointing your tires to the side roads. Unfortunately, we do not have such a possibility, because time is a little pressure, and the legs unintentionally bypass driveways.
As a consolation, we find a bit by chance the next, great Buddha - this time maybe not gold, but not enough that it is very nicely placed, it is in a much funnier pose. In Taiwan, it's nice that almost all sculptures and statues are smiling - even military. It introduces such a positive climate.
The last several dozen kilometers is already a path (in fact, a cycling highway along the river). We are able to look at the great murals that we saw on the first day in the middle of the night and cross bridges, of which you can only say one thing: the architect has suffered a bit. Riding the bike path under New Taipei Expy is a bit like a roller coaster with a view of the city.
And the city itself is a completely different place in the sun than the one we saw on the first day. The blocks are terrible, but the green surroundings of the river flowing through its center force us to withdraw words about the ugliest city in the world.
We begin the search for cartons in bicycle stores and we already succeed in the second of the checked stores. A great success, because we only have about 500 meters to walk with them and we can proceed to the most stressful element of travel - packing equipment into boxes. Packaging itself, when you don't have a thousand protections, foams and sponges goes much faster than at home. After less than two hours, the boxes are sealed and ready to be transferred to the railway station the next day.
In the evening we go again to Elephant Mountain - night view of Taipei with good visibility is an experience similar to viewing Los Angeles with the Griffith Observatory. Then we hit the night market: Ningxia Night Market, which reassures us that street food, unlike almost all those returning from Taiwan, will not be missed.
miniinn - 249złWe spend the night in probably the smallest 4-person room in the world (name obliges) in
It's so small that a maximum of one person can stand in it - an ideal place for packing bicycles.
Day 12: What is being done in the city?
On the last day, we remember that visiting cities (and even more so visiting cities without bicycles) is not our strong point. From morning to afternoon we wander around the next streets. Visiting Taipei is not particularly convenient - lights everywhere, wide streets everywhere, scooters, warmth, stuffiness, long distances. We see some known things, but that I'm not particularly interested in not checking what it was, I won't list them here.
The biggest surprise? Shame to admit it, but Syntrend Creative Park. From the outside, it looks like a small store, after entering... shock. Imagine a brand of phones: from Appla, Oppo, Xiaomi, Huawei, to some Chinese, unknown to me. Salon (not a shop, a fancy salon) with the company's phones will be there. Then we enter the second floor, third, sixth... the elevator says something about 11. If you are looking for electronics - you buy everything there. A corner with the drones of all known and unknown to me companies, home electronics, massage chairs, hard drives, games, anime, computers, accessories... all divided into nice company salons. As I learn later - Syntrend Creative Park is more of a technological expo than a store, the right 6-story market is next to it: Guanghua Digital Plaza. Think of an electronic device, and I'm pretty sure it will be there. I fought for such Taiwan!
In the evening, we move cartons to the train and go straight to the airport, where we spend a nice time setting new standards in the amount of food consumed in McDonalds.
We reach Warsaw a few hours earlier than our bikes.