I had a few unused vacation days left so I enjoyed a rare midweek ride last week. I originally planned a shorter route closer to home but the all-you-can-eat kimchee hot pot had worked its way through my digestive system much better than I had anticipated. It was a nice, clear day and I rode along Provincial HWY 14 at a leisurely pace toward Local HWY 136 which bridges Nantou’s Guoxing [國姓] with Taichung’s Taiping [太平].
On the Guoxing-side
I crawled up the 136 at a snail’s pace and stopped a couple of times for water breaks and to stretch my legs out. The weather was scheduled to be scorching hot and I had no intention of passing out from exhaustion or dehydration on the flats on the way back to Nantou.
There’s a lookout spot on the Taiping-side which serves as a resting area for cyclists and motorists. I didn’t spend long there as the only other people there on Wednesday morning was a couple who arrived in a van. Also, the truck selling cold drinks wasn’t around.
I made my way down the 136 at a nice clip and stopped in Wufeng [霧峰] for lunch and coffee. Despite the heat I felt pretty energized when I got back to Nantou, so I decided to take a quick ride up Baguashan [八卦山]. I worked my way up Local HWY 148 which connects Caotun [草屯] with Yuanlin [員林]. The 148 is a lovely route and a favorite among cyclists in Nantou. It has easy grades and is mostly shaded [if traveling on it in the morning].
Cool place to rest in the summer-heat
So long as I refilled my water often and kept a slow pace I figured I had enough energy to ride the ridge all the way to Songboling [松柏嶺]. Unfortunately, I ran out of sunscreen during the climb up the 148 and didn’t think any of the mom and pop stores on the ridge would stock any sweat-proof SPF50. Fearing being burnt to a crisp, I headed down Fengshan Road [鳳山路] into Caotun.
Fengshan Road – Looking towards Nantou City
Fengshan Road [投80] is steep, narrow, and has plenty of sharp corners – A lot of my descent was spent squeezing the brakes. Twice I hopped off the bike to enjoy the unobstructed view the road offers of Caotun, Jhongsing Village, and Nantou City. The only time I really got any speed was on the second half right before a truck pulled out in front of me. After that I had to keep my hands on the brakes again to avoid kissing his rear bumper.
Going Down on the 投80
The ride was a great way to spend a hot and sunny weekday. Total distance was 88km and a total vertical climb of 1150 m. An interactive map of the ride can be found at Bikemap.net.