On Sunday morning I went with the 7th Park Bike Shop on a great ride that left from the Taipei Zoo and up into the mountains. The ride conveniently started at McDonald’s, so quite a few of the riders were eating breakfast there while I already had my Usana Nutrimeal Shake for my breakfast! It was raining for the whole ride, but just a misty kind of rain that left the roads completely wet; the bikes and the bodies were completely dirty after 3 hrs of riding in the rain!
There was about a dozen riders, all of differing abilities, who did the ride. It was very social and we re-grouped at major land-marks and at the top of climbs. It was quite an easy ride for me and I did some nice efforts up the long gradual climb on Highway 9. Its a very popular biking route here in Taipei that is frequented by throngs of weekend coffee riders, however, because today was wet we were the only group out riding! Thats something to be said about commitment.
At the top of the climb, we were all treated to wonderful coffee and waffles at Helen’s Mobile Coffee. I enjoyed mine along with my favorite Usana’s Oatmeal Raisin Bar.
The Cafe was specially equipped with racks for bikes and even has a floor pump for those who need extra air before doing the descent back to the city. Before we all got too cold sitting around in damp clothing, we jumped back on the bikes to ride down. Being the speed demon I am, I rode the descent pretty quickly. It was adrenalin pumping since there was a couple of times where I felt like I was going to slide out on some of the sharp slippery corners. I had braked as best as I could before the corners so to get through them smoothly without losing control!
Upon returning home, it was quite a task to scrub my legs of the grime that flicked up from the road after three hours of riding! Winters in Taipei look set to have consistent rain and showers and will make for some epic training rides! I will be making the use of rollers during the week for two reasons: 1. The amount of quality training that can be done on less time and 2. Less time spent cleaning my bike! After my two long training rides over the weekend in pouring rain, my bike needed a serious cleaning!
This ride brought my training total to 10.5 hours and 300km for the week. This coming week will be a recovery week after training for the past 3 weeks with high mileage (the week before I did 460km and quite a bit of hill climbs).
The same ride we did is described in this blog posting by David on Formosa
who blogs about various topics pertaining to Taiwan. In the article he writes about this particular ride, he notes that there is a cycling boom going on here in Taiwan and quotes Bike Hugger:
During Interbike, we talked at length with Dahon about Taipei’s Bike Boom and saw it today. A year ago, when we rode the river bike paths, we saw handful of cyclist, including us. Today, there were bike traffic jams, bike pit stops, and a steady stream of bikes in both directions.