I was waiting on @okonomiyaki to write something about this weekend’s ride, but it seems like he is still sleeping after the epic.
It’s Saturday morning and my alarm goes off at 3:30AM. I was in such a deep sleep that I forgot for a split sechond why the f I had set an alarm for and quickly realized I had to be out the door in half an hour to meet my friend for breakfast. I shook off the drowsiness as I brushed my teeth and put in my contacts, threw on the kit and was out the door in 25 minutes.
As I rolled to the meet my friend around the corner house, I was thinking, 10 years ago I was still up at this time drinking Mountain Dew, playing video games with my friends and waiting for IHOP to open back home. Times have surely changed.
We decided to grab something along the way to the team meet up since we both had eaten a mere 5-6 hours ago before sleeping and the food hadn’t settled yet. From Song Shan, we rolled down Keelung Road and then turned left onto Roosevelt towards Xindian where we saw more traffic than expected. Nonetheless, it was still very peaceful and if you can’t sleep, I would recommend you taking a slow joy ride when the city is asleep. It is quite the experience.
Today…we would attempt Double North (雙北). To be very honest, I don’t really know why it’s called that since we regularly ride in and out of Taipei and New Taipei City, but this ride had us start in Xindian and then roll into Taoyuan and through the Northern cross passed La La Shan, down to Ruo Dong in Yilan and back up to Xindian via BeiYi.
If I told you how lucky we were with the weather, you wouldn’t even believe us. We had some sunlight as we headed out of Taipei and into Taoyuan, but by the time the temp started rising, we were deep into the mountains and had plenty of trees to keep us cool.
My Roxycle was buried in a sea of TCR Advanced SLs. This was probably the only time I saw these bikes because they slowly disappeared once we took off from each rest point.
The worst case of weather was the rolling hills from the bottom of the Northern Cross down into @IbisWtf land where we had major headwind, sun and 34C temps. Luckily, it was breezy ocean wind, so as long as we were moving, we kept cool.
What was most interesting was we picked up a stray cyclist from Switzerland doing her round the island tour. She was almost burnt to a crisp wearing sleeveless, short bike shorts and a huge backpack on her back. I chatted her up while the group pulled the speed to 30-35kph. I chatted her up and found out that she had skipped Suao Tunnels and opted to ride up Wuling and roll down to Luo Dong instead. I quickly translated and shared this with the group and they were in shock. “Wuling? With that pack on her back?” She said she was had a blast doing her tour and we were the first group of riders she met along her tour (aside from the old Taiwanese couples). We stopped at a 7-11, took a picture and she headed off towards her destination for the day, Toucheng. I hope that us bumping into her made her experience a bit more memorable. I’ll definitely never forget it since it was my first time meeting someone with that kind of backpack doing a solo round the island tour…who detoured up Wuling.
As I was walking out of the 7-11 I noticed this pup…definitely has the right idea.
I made my way up the BeiYi switchbacks just as the sun was creepin’ down and got a chance to get a shot of Yilan before there was no natural light left.
All in all, despite getting 4.5 hours of sleep, my spirits were high and I was able to finish the ride without collapsing at the finale that was Helen’s Coffee. @okonomiyaki finished with 10 hours of moving time on top of his 3 hours of sleep, but was ready to collapse at any moment. He claims he’ll never do it again, but he knows he’s only lying to himself.