Ride Taiwan Golden Week - Gauging Interest

GSAstuto

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#1
One of the HFC members brought to our attention a ride that is organized by Giant in Taiwan. This is a 9day (quite long) ride around Taiwan. In pursuing this further, she found that Giant could create a bespoke ride (differing pace, etc).

I'm thinking of helping out a bit if this is interesting to any members.

Option A: Giant Organized Tour.
- Ride around Taiwan. Mainly flat
- All hotels, snacks and dinner inclusive
- Giant support vehicles and baggage drayage
- Pace for beginner to intermediate riders
- 9 days (??)

Option B: Tim's Organized Tour with perhaps some Giant or other Factory Support.
- Ride the South Island and cross from Haulien to Taichung return by Taroko Gorge. (KOM route)
- All hotels, snacks and dinner inclusive
- Factory support vehicle (rolling support - advance checkpoint, like Tokyo Aomori)
- Pace for intermediate to advanced riders
- 5 days (??)

I know some people are prepping for Haute Route and other multi-day type events. This multi-day rides are great for getting your race tempo established and experience in daily ride routine.

In spite of adding in the airfare, cycling in Taiwan is typically half price of Japan (accommodations and food), so the price of 5 days riding in Taiwan would be about the same (airfare included) of doing it in Japan - maybe somewhat less depending on how econo you want to jam. FYI I rarely spend more than 3000yen/day in TW - including Hotel and all the food I can eat. But then, I did just fine in France at 5000 yen/day when others couldn't seem to survive for less than 50,000 yen/day.

Anyway - just throwing this out as a potential 'unofficial tour'. I have alot of strong connections (factory and otherwise) in Taiwan and sure I can setup some fun bicycle geek sideline experiences like a ride through Taichung CNC Gulch and Carbon Valley.
 

GSAstuto

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#9
Thanks for the feedback. There are a couple of options at the South end of the Island:

1) Follow the coast and go to the southernmost tip past Hengchun. Then finally end at Haulien - this would make for about a 340km day. Bear in mind, it's mostly flat, so in a good group you can average well over over 30kph.

2) Take a slightly more inland route through Taoyan which would give a nice climb through the mountains.

But basically, in 5days -

Taichung -> Tainan
Tainan - > Kaoshing or Taitung
K/T -> Haulien
Haulien -> Taichung

250km including the 3000m - 4000m is doable. We'd be doing this 2X
300km on the coastline is also doable. We'd be doing this 2X
Leaves one day to split up the effort accordingly.
So - you have basically 1 flat day, 1 steep day, 1 flat day, 1 steep day.
Or if we do the southern most point, then you avoid 1 steep day.
 

GSAstuto

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#10
1) In terms of ride strategy / organization - I prefer a 'forward checkpoint' method. So there is no 'sag wagon' following. Everyone rides to the checkpoints for refuel, etc. And if someone did have a problem, the support vehicle would return to pick them up. Checkpoints are typically set at 50km or so intervals.

2) If enough riders, then we can split into an A group and B group. B group riders (slower) would start earlier. The idea being that there is minimal 'WATT'.

3) All riders would be required to use a buddy system. Start together, ride together and finish together. This is especially important on the descents and just keeping overall safety in mind.
 

GSAstuto

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#12
@Mike - by adding one day (or two) , the effort drops alot. Again, I'm throwing this out as options and observations. So - I just need to know the group feedback accordingly. I think the trip to the southernmost point is well worth the 'flatness' thereof. And the climb through Taroko should satisfy most mountain goats. Adding a day either way gives options on splitting up the climb(s) and transits. For example, I know a beautiful onsen resort half way up Taroko that is a great launching point for the remainder of the climb. Also - you'd be surprised how quickly you cover the distance on the flatter sections.
 

GrantT

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#13
With that kind of challenge, before riding in Taiwan as a group we'd probably need to ride first in Japan as a group so we are confident of each other's abilities. I personally enjoy riding fast and eating up the miles as it's usually pretty effortless when in a good group and on the flat.
 

GSAstuto

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#14
@grant, I generally agree. Though most riders in intermediate -advanced should have good group riding skills to begin with. As riders may be coming from different countries, etc , not everyone could ride together beforehand. But setting the 'rules' at the start, then getting into a rhythm for the first 50km or so will bring everything together.

This is not a race, nor intended to be. Just a fun, 'faster tour' , than putzing around the island at 15-25kph. Focus will be on enjoying the ride, scenery and camaraderie. Plus hitting the Taroko Gorge as the highlight achievement.
 

joewein

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#15
As someone who is comfortable with distance rides, but sometimes struggles to keep up with the faster end of Half-Fast rides (e.g. riding with Sal), I'd have to agree with Mike and would aim for something less ambitious.

Personally I'm primarily interested in the climb through Taroko Gorge because it's one of the few places within reasonable flying distance where one can cycle from sea level to over 3000 m in, uhm, ... one Strava segment. I really liked the rural parts of Taiwan I saw on my last trip and would like to see a bit more than just the KOM route, but with no particular ambition to go around the whole island. More interested in quality than quantity there and I'm not training for Haute Route or similar events.

In order to keep the pace on the fun side of things I would rather ride less distance than add days (fewer days makes it easier to get away for that long).
250km including the 3000m - 4000m is doable. We'd be doing this 2X
300km on the coastline is also doable. We'd be doing this 2X
I roughly know my limits in terms of speed and distance. I've done brevets of 200 km with 3000+ m of climbing (e.g. last year's West Izu brevet), but not 250 km. I've done 250 km with 1700 m of climbing (first 14 hours of last year's 600), but not 3000-4000 m. I have not done either type of ride several days in a row.
 
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GSAstuto

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#16
We could optionally do the Taiwan 'Boob' ride which starts from Taichung then goes over Wuling to Haulien, then return.That would give you the gorge from both ends. (8000m total) climbing. That's what we did with the Rapha Conti ride. 4 days total. To slack off the pace, make it 5. It would be nice to do the loop around Sun Moon Lake as well. Remember, the descents are equally as long as the ascent. Especially the return to Taichung over Wuling, there are really no hills all the way back from the top.
 
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#17
I'd be interested. I'm not strong enough to run with da big boyz and climb more than 2,500 m in a day, but on some flatter days I might be keen to try to roll in their wake. Maybe it could be same start and end points on each day but an advanced route and an intermediate route?
I e-mailed a couple of the other HFC guys who've done Multi-day trips to alert them to this post.
 

GSAstuto

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#18
A one size fits all ride would be hard. And for Wuling, you definitely don't want to 'WATT' except for a few minutes to take a photo. Most intermediate and advanced riders can get along cheerily enough on the flats as the traffic and other considerations will allow some averaging. Wuling is one, very long, climb - about 100km with the last 5km or so over 10% (20%+ some sections). For ride around the island I see no reason a group could not ride together the whole way. For doing a cut-across over Wuling you could offer a 1 day version and 2 day version. The 2 day riders would meetup, well, the next day in Taichung. Whereas the 1 day riders could enjoy an extra day riding around Sun Moon Lake and perhaps some other choice routes.

I see no reason why any HFC cyclist who has done the Shine On! Norikura ride could not tackle Wuling. Again, the first 50-75km are quite gentle with rolling climbs at about 3-8%, from the sacred Tree, is where it get's tougher and then the last 10km is where the real challenge is. Now, that also poses opportunity because for riders who can't handle the last 10km, it's pretty easy to ferry them. It's only a 10km broom trip. And once you've reached the top - you have a beautiful, 70km or so descent. Going to Haulien from Taichung you will have some intermediate climbs - so , in my opionion, that is a tougher route in terms of overall energy expenditure. And it proved that way as well for the Rapha Continental ride as nearly all of us bailed due to the inclement weather and general exhaustion. Whereas, no one failed to reach Taichung in a single day from the Haulien side. Albeit , weather was much better (only about an hour of pouring rain).

Early spring or late fall is a good time to tackle these higher climbs. The weather will be warm and muggy at lower elevations, but once you're up into the central mountains, it cools rapidly and becomes perfect riding weather. (Unless you do this in the winter or typhoon season).

So, this is why I suggest the South route. If we try that way - then:

Day 1,2,3 - Taichung to Haulien (as a group)
Day 4,5 - Haulien to Puli
Day 4 - A group goes all the way to Puli
Day 5 - B group continues to Puli, A group does some local rides.
Day 6 - Puli to Taichung together
Day 7 - Relax at Taichung and pack for return.

That would mean the 'B' group never does more than 2000m in a day. And the 'A' group gets 4000m + optional 2000+m . Actually, 'A' group could reverse up to Wuling and meet the 'B' group coming down. I know that means 2x descent for 'A' group, but , honestly, you never get this kind of extended descent anywhere outside of Europe. It makes Norikura feel like Yomiland.
 

theBlob

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Sep 28, 2011
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#19
I am definitely interested, but I'm not sure my wife will be quite as interested in seeing me doing it! So put me down as a possible maybe for the faster group.
 

Stormy

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Aug 2, 2012
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#20
We could optionally do the Taiwan 'Boob' ride which starts from Taichung then goes over Wuling to Haulien, then return.That would give you the gorge from both ends. (8000m total) climbing. That's what we did with the Rapha Conti ride. 4 days total. To slack off the pace, make it 5. It would be nice to do the loop around Sun Moon Lake as well. Remember, the descents are equally as long as the ascent. Especially the return to Taichung over Wuling, there are really no hills all the way back from the top.
I LOVE that idea. Although, to be honest. Most I've done in a single day so far was 280km / 7,050m. So, the 8,000m sounds like a cool new challenge.