Graveyard Ride in Taipei


This ride I did today was a combination of serious training and exploration of new areas for me in Taipei. This was a ride that was recommended to me by Cam at InMotionAsia and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I left Taipei City from my place of residence.

This is a great ride for people seeking nicer scenery compared with riding along the flat river paths and for higher quality workout. It was amazing to see the contrast, one minute I was riding in the middle of thick traffic and the next I was in old shanty town (that used to be prevalent all over Taipei) with virtually no traffic. I followed Chongde Road and within a couple of minutes I was riding on a mountain road shrouded with lush green vegetation and grave-yard sites sprawling in all directions. This was Taipei City’s Public Cemetery that covered practically the whole mountain side. “The first section is the Muslim cemetery in which Bai Chongxi, the famous Republican Muslim general from Guangxi, is buried. A little further on, you can take a steep left and visit the White Terror Memorial” quote from Rank who writes about recommended rides in Taipei City. Directions for the ride can also be found on that site among many other great rides that I will be trying out while I am living here.

The cruise up to the top took about 15 minutes and I took the left turn onto Yanjiuyuan Road that led to an awesome twisty curvy decent that ends up in the Nangang District. You enjoy lush green scenery, cliffs, rivers and small waterfalls. There are people Taiwanese fishing in the river, hikers and others growing vegetable gardens. You can forget that you are still in the middle of Taipei City!

I continued on this road for 15 minutes or so before turning back up the valley where I proceeded with my serious training. I completed 3 x four minute intervals on a gradual climb that kicks up steeply halfway through (which made the interval tough). I must have gone too hard in the first interval, posting just under 400 watts, as my subsequent intervals showed a seven watt decline for the second interval and a 30 watt decline for the third. However, all three intervals had me right on 400 watts for the last 30 seconds which was a good indicator of finishing strongish. After completing the intervals, I tackled the steep climb back to the junction at Chongde Road and made the left turn to head down towards Muzha and ended up a Temple Memorial area. I went back up to the junction again and came up behind a lone rider sporting a CSC jersey. I gave a friendly wave as I passed him on the down-hill and I went into exploring mode after most of the down-hill. I rode through a few tight little alley ways in the Shanty town area exploring and stopping to take pictures of compositions that caught my eye. If my ride was purely for training only, I would not spend the time to explore and soak in the surroundings. It was good to mix up the structured training with the exploring while easy pedalling. It makes you feel more intimate with the routes you train on and allow for a breather after some good steady efforts. I wanted to finish with a hill-climb interval and the climb up to Yanjiuyuan Road junction is a perfect hill for such an effort as the gradient is not too steep (about 5-6%) and allows for higher cadence and higher speeds. It would also serve as a good bench-mark for future hill-climb intervals to guage my rate of improvement every few weeks! Today I did the climb in 9:20, with an average power of 356watts. The average speed was just under 24km/h and a cadence of 75. I was pretty happy with this result since I have not done many intensive efforts since the end of the Taipei Deaflympics. Stay tuned for the Giant Cup Criterium Race Report that will follow after this coming weekend.

Note: The photographs are clickable and larger images can be viewed.
  • urodacus

    That is one of the better training rides in Taipei city. A word of warning: be EXTREMELY careful on the descent, especially in the graveyard section. Use the mirrors on the corners, and always assume there is a car blocking the next blind corner. Even with care, I had several head on crashes in that area over the five years I rode it daily to Nangang, and have several broken bones and concussions to show for it. The descent into Nangang is much faster and there's no need for brakes.

    PS: 8:37 from the last intersection on Chong De to the top of the hill, at the Y junction. :}

  • Heyden-Kaye Photographics

    Love how the stairs and hills look in your pictures. Thanks for showing off the sites!