Cycling – South to Beigang and North to Lugang

Temple
I got done all my pre-Chinese New Year cleaning early on Saturday to leave Sunday open for cycling.  I woke up well before my alarm yesterday in anticipation for my first century ride.  I originally planned a shorter route that would have put me at nearly exactly 100 miles / 160 km, but I penciled in a few changes on my map which inadvertently put my route at 125 miles / 202 km.  An interactive map of the route, which passed through parts of Nantou, Chiayi, Yunlin, and Changhua Counties can be found at Bikemap.net.
The long bridge
The picture at the top of the post is Jhushan’s [竹山] Keming Temple [克明宮].  The second is of a bridge crossing into Linnei Township [林內鄉]: Welcome to Yunlin County everyone!

Before long, after a lot of spinning I was navigating my way through Douliou City [斗六市]:

Central Douliou City
Most of the route I took was comprised of farmland occasionally interrupted by areas of light manufacturing.
Farms
There was a small political rally taking place in Minsyong Township [民雄鄉].  Must have been everyone in town attending.  I don’t know why supporters were sitting so close to the stage.  The loud speakers could easily be heard from several kilometers away:
Rally
Crossing into Beigang Township [北港鎮]:
Beigang
Beigang’s Chaotian Temple [朝天宮] is dedicated to the goddess Matsu and is visited by more than a million pilgrims annually.
Chaotian Temple
Very few of those visitors however get their picture taken in front of the temple sporting a stylish Gore Bike Wear cycling shirt that they received as a Christmas gift:
Chaotian Temple
Taking a rest on Provincial Road #19 at the 100th kilometer of my journey:
Bike and Farm
I recently replaced my knobby mountain bike tires with Maxxis Overdrives.  No complaints yet, but I really don’t have much to compare them to.
Tour Taiwan
Seemingly endless farms while crossing the Ziqiang Bridge [自強大橋] into Changhua County:
Endless Farm
This interesting house caught my eye in Dacheng Township [大城鄉]:
House
Sunflowers to help me keep a positive attitude:
Sunflowers
Spinning through Lugang [鹿港]:
Lugang
And the final picture, a shot of the Changhua’s Giant Buddha before heading on Provincial Road #14 home, I’ll have to go up and get a closer look another time:
The Giant Buddha of Changhua
My first century ride was a success.  Speed records were certainly not broken on this trip, I left the house around 7 am and got home around 7 pm.  I paced myself the whole route.  While going through Lugang I began experiencing discomfort in my right knee.  Sitting far back on my seat and lowering my profile for the remainder of the ride helped relieve the pain.  Once I got off my bike, I could barely bend my knee.  After applying heat and sleeping with it elevated the problem seemed to have gone away.

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