During the Easter Break I went with a group of riders from Hangzhou and Suzhou to tackle the Tian Mu Mountains for an intensive block of training. We stayed in a small village nestled in a gorge fringed with mountains – it was reasonable accommodation with comfortable beds and hot showers for 35 yuan each (only $5USD). It served as a perfect base for our two days of adventure riding.
The first day was a 100km loop that featured one massive 25km climb that averaged 7% and topped out at just over 1,400m above sea-level. Some spectacular scenery along the way, providing numerous photographic opportunities. There is also plenty of the old China that I love to see – the old stone homes and bridges that were built in the early 1900s. This is an area that I envisage coming back to many times in the future.
The long day was concluded with a big feast at the local Chinese restaurant that was located opposite our hostel. I lost count of all the dishes that came out and ate more than enough to fuel the next day of riding which was going to be another 1000m climb to the top!
Had breakfast at 8am – consisted of several bananas and two tasty road-side cooked crispy savory pancakes. The ride on day two consisted of just the big 1000m climb to the top where the Tian Chi Lake is nestled amidst baby pinetrees. This lake area looks to be ideal base from which to do hiking and serious mountain biking. You can stay in some nice looking lodges for about 150rmb per person which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner (that is about $20USD!) which is a pretty good deal. In the summer there is swimming and boating to be had on the lake.
The decent back down was awesome – a 15km thrilling downhill that will satisfy any speed-demon! Just need to be mindful of the blind corners and switch-backs for on-coming traffic. The whole area is also a photographers dream with numerous interesting subjects to shoot, including the local people, animals, old buildings/structures and natural landscape. I will conclude this blog posting with a selection of my favorite shots.