Day 10 – Longest Hardest Hottest Hilliest

On April 22, 2012 by admin

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Down at 7-Eleven by 7:30am on the road by 8:00am after a monster breakfast.  In hindsight it’s a good thing that we stuffed ourselves full because today turned out to be a seriously hard day.  Did I mention today is my birthday?  What a way to spend it, on a bike, in the tropics, with my wife, and exploring somewhere we’d never been and ending somewhere we hadn’t decided yet.  How’s that for ultimate freedom.

Breakfast of Champions

 

The first 6km were cruisy at 20kph to Daren Town where we rode to, then turned around at last night.  From here route 9 veers inland and climbs sharply.  From sea level up to 470m as it turns out, over just 8k.  To make matters worse the trucks and buses are in full force today, Sunday, so we straddled the shoulder as best we could.  About 3/4 of the way up we pulled into a shrine to get some shady reprieve from the sun.

The cyclists we met at the summit

By the time we hit the summit at 470m where roads 9 and 199 meet, we were pretty warm to say the least. The shirt I’ve worn 9 out of the first 10 days is pretty rancid despite a few sink soapings. At the intersection we chatted with a friendly group of cyclists out for a Sunday ride. One even offered his water to us. Another told us that route 199 is downhill to Shyuhai Hot Springs, then 200 is rolling. More on that description later.

After turning onto 200 suddenly we were left alone from the exhaust pipes and the road wound through the jungle for 21k, with most of the downhill being at the end. We alternated turns getting footage now that we were in a pretty safe area. There were still a few motorbikes and buses but nothing like the main highway. This section was one of my favorites of the whole Taiwan ride.

Shyuhai Hot Springs, definitely hot out, but no water

At the 37k point (and about 2.5hrs of hilly riding time) we were at Shyuhai Hot Springs, one option last night. Thankfully we didn’t push on to here because even the hot spring pools were bone dry with a few old ciggie butts scattered around, with no hotel anywhere in sight.  We stopped nearby at a little drink stand to buy 3 liters of water and kept moving.  Today was a bit of a mission, since we figured Jialeshui was our only option and we had many mountainous miles to go.

Just past Shyuhai the route 199 becomes 26 and slides along the ocean side for about 15km.  Lining the road in a few places I noticed old abandoned military buildings along with an active one, and looking up at the mountains on the right and up ahead to the south you could make out 4-5 more outposts built along the ridge lines.

Getting to the town of Ganzai ( I use the term town loosely, mostly just a village at best), I was parched again and bought two cans of Pocari sweat and downed one in about 5 seconds. In the distance we could see sand dunes, just another surprise Taiwan had for me.  Who knew there were sand dunes in Taiwan?  Here the road jutted up again, and the temperature rose with it.  My garmin was showing 39.9 degrees Celsius for what it’s worth.  This climb was a tough one as it entered Kenting National Park proper, finally at about 300m we entered a town by the name of Fuenshiling, but that’s not exact because it’s not even on the map.  It is the summit though, and we pulled into the little shop on the side for a taro milk tea, water, and a can of Mr. Brown Coffee (cold).  I wish we had cans of coffee back home and vending machines, they are just so good.  Just a brief rest here no more than 5 minutes because we needed to keep motoring or our bodies would realize we hadn’t refueled properly since breakfast.

Steep and Hot

The equivalent hydration to a..rice ball?

The winds were head on or cross winds from the side, and we both admitted our asses were killing us.  Even when you use as much chamois cream or udder butter, there are days that you chafe badly and no matter how you sit on your seat it hurt like hell.  The road descended slowly and we tried to tuck down to make the most of it.  Finally at 3:15pm we hit the town of Manzhou and there was our first 7-Eleven since morning, meaning we could get some food back in us.  After murdering some pasta, dumplings, and salads, we rolled out towards Jialeshui, about 10km away on the south east coastline.

Our B&B at Jialeushi is on the left

Jialeshui is a very popular surfing break, as well as being famous for its rocks eroded to look like animals.  We picked the first B&B on the left, there are three or four to choose from, the owner Allison is a nice lady, the B&B is called La View Liz.  The three floor newer looking house is vacant tonight, so we got a room on the second floor for $2500 TWD ($85 USD). A bit expensive but we were too tired and sweaty to haggle for a lower price or compare to others.   Besides this place is beautiful, with an hot spring style bath tub that overlooks the ocean, and a balcony on the third floor to see the crystal clear night sky here.  Allison was heading back to Kaohsiung tonight so she was entrusting us with her entire beach front house!

Tomorrow we’ll round the southern tip of Taiwan, Cape Eluanbi, then likely stay a night or two in Kenting area to see the aquarium too.  Unfortunately the bike tour may be over after Kenting, since we are running low on days remaining on holidays and still have two more main sights we need to get to, Guanziling Hot Spring and Sun Moon Lake.  It’s impossible for us to bike the entire distance in the 5 days we have.  So we may return the bikes and train it up there, then rent bikes again to explore the areas.  Bikes are really the only way to see a new area anyways…

Bike Stats
80km
Riding time 5hr 45mins
921m Ascent

Working on our glove tans

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