Thursday, August 31, 2006

9/2 Sat. 6:15 TAS ride

Flat ride out to 101 along the coast - turn around and come back. Hope you can join us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Congratulations, Leon!

Dave, Leon, Zoe, Kaylin and I travelled down to Ilan early (4 am) Sunday morning for the 23 km Taipingshan Mountain race. While not a long race, the fact that the road is one continuous climb made for a challenging ride. There were 432 starters in the road bike category and almost the same in the mountain bike category.

Dave rode on my number on account of the pins still in my hand and used it for a training ride. He still finished about half way through the group.

Leon started the ride at a comfortable pace, expecting the hill to be quite steep. It turned out to be a reasonable and steady grade, so he gradually increased his pace, reeling in rider after rider. In the last 100 meters, he sprinted past a rider in his division and ended up taking 2nd in the M40 category and 30th overall. Nice job!

Zoe and Kaylin and I rode in the pace car with Sean and yelled quite a few jyaios. It was a great day. Big thanks to Dave for driving, refreshments, and enthusiasm.

Results are posted here:



Saturday, August 26, 2006

Don't Forget- Saturday Morning Rides!

From Brenda:

The 7:00 am bike path/adventure rides will continue each Saturday morning until further notice. Come join us if you can.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Ride With Brenda Report

Brenda emailed me a report of last Saturday's ride:

Saturday saw six riders (Karen P., Karen J., Ralph, Jean, Craig, and Brenda) set off on the bike path to Tanshui. Riding nonchalantly along, enjoying each other's company (with Ralph playing tour guide supreme) our olfactory senses were assaulted by the aroma of hundreds of freshly bagged dead fish near Guandu. Karen J. told us the reason for the stench was because of a deliberate dumping of chemicals in the already semi-polluted waters of the river. Holding our breath and pinching our noses we continued on to Tanshui, where we boarded the ferry and enjoyed a slightly choppy ride across the river. Once across the river we rode to the end of one pier and ogled Tanshui Lover's Bridge in the distance. Then we rode around the archaeological museum before heading back to get fresh lemon juice and a hot donut. After enjoying our goodies we headed back toward the Guandu Bridge (aka the red bridge) and back into Tienmu. A good time was had by all, and it was nice to have two new teachers with us.

Sounds like a great ride- and new cyclists are welcome every Saturday!

-Broken Hand Bill

Amazing Bike Video

Duffy just sent me this video:


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Caution: Slippery Roads!

I suppose I should have learned from Simon's slide out on the way down Helen's last week or Steve's tumble descending from the Saddle in June, but I didn't expect to fall going UP the hill!

I was heading from Four Corners to Starbucks/7-11 on the ridge road yesterday when my rear wheel slid out going around the first sharp right hand bend. The fall wouldn't have been bad, but my left hand got caught under my body. Twelve hours at Veteran's Hospital later, I'm now sporting a nice cast and a broken hand that supposedly will keep me off the bike for the next three months.

So, be careful out there, the roads seem to be particularly slick!

Needless to say, I won't make it on my planned weekend rides. I'll be out as soon as I can...


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend Riding & Rides For the Week

What a great first week of riding back in Taiwan! Before a quick recap, here's an email that I received on Friday from Brenda Huff:

If you have a hankering to discover the many Taipei bike paths, please consider joining us for Saturday morning bike rides. We meet at TAS each Saturday (weather permitting) at 7:00 and decide where to go. The pace is fairly gentle, but we do sometimes split into different groups for more energetic rides.

There are several of us who have extra bikes if you have not visited Sean’s Giant bike shop yet.

If you have any questions, feel free to fire off an email.

Looking forward to seeing new faces on Saturday.

Brenda Huff

I haven't heard any report yet from Brenda's ride, but I bet they had a great spin as usual...

I was pleased to see two new faces- Tracy and Curt- at Saturday's 1 pm ride. They joined Leon, Rock, Dave and myself on a spin along the coast and up 101 from the back. The heat made for one of the toughest rides I've done in a long while, but we all made it to the summit.

I met up with Bill Bryson Friday evening and he told me that he, Kaight, Bill and some others were planning a 5 hour ride Saturday departing at 5 am. I haven't heard any ride reports yet...

Wally, Mick, Ron, Simon, Rock, Leon, Curt and I headed up to Helen's this morning. The heat wasn't quite as bad at 6:30. Helen's seems to be upgrading- new espresso machine, cemented bike racks and a website! It was nice to have a 50-50 split between TASers and non-TASers. There were also literally hundreds of other riders out in the hills- we easily outnumber the cars. We've decided to try to make the ride a regular occurence for the next few weeks. Any rider is welcome- I know Wally would like some company on the mountain bike (although I hear he may be leaning towards getting a new road bike!) and Mick would like some support in his anti-lycra campaign...

My Rides This Week

Tuesday: Depart TAS at 5:15 am for the Satellites ride. I know Ron and Chris will be there and I plan to twist Duffy's arm to get him and his whistle along.

Wednesday: Some morning ride (leaving 5-5:30ish). I think Bill Bryson may be heading out. Anyone got anything planned?

Thursday: Departing Tien Mu around 4 pm for an assault on Da Tuen Shan with Leon.

Saturday: Same ride as this Saturday but departing TAS at 6 am. We should be back between 9 and 10, depending on the number of stops.

Sunday: Same ride as this Sunday, departing TAS at the same time (6:30 am). Helen's has great hot and cold coffees as well as a tasty iced peach drink for those avoiding caffeine. It would be great to get some more cyclists out next Sunday...

Any changes to the above planned rides will be via a comment added to this posting.

Please feel free to post your own rides/ride reports/cycling musings to this blog. Just send an email to with the message title in the subject line and your message in the body of the email.

See you out in the hills!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Weekend Riding

Leon, Dave, Rock and I are meeting at TAS at 1 pm on Saturday to spin out to Tamshui, ride along the coast to Sanjr and then Leon and I plan to give it a push up the 101 from there. The ride should be about 3 hours or so. We will all be on road bikes

I'm heading out at 6:30 am on Sunday from TAS for a mellow spin up Helen's. The ride should be about two hours.

As always, anyone who would like to come is welcome. If I make any changes to these plans, I'll post a comment to this message.

Hope to see you out there!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday Morning's Ride

Tuesday morning's ride saw a smaller crowd than last year, but the eight of us who came out for the spin up to the Satellites had a great time.

Hope to see others out on the next group ride!


Monday, August 07, 2006

Interesting Ride Saturday Aug 5!

We (Bill, Leon and Simon) pushed off from TAS at 6:00 (turns out Bill and Leon were still on US time, thus the early start); met Dave at National Palace Museum, then headed up Helens to meet Lucas. Beautiful day, quite clear, but already getting hot. Lucas took us down his hill, then a tiny right turn on a steep one lane road down - remind me to be nice to Lucas so he doesn't abandon us in his Dutch Territories! Then we climbed back up - great views of valleys and mountains. We stopped to regroup where this met the road from Helens to Neihu, and couldn't resist a picture of the dog sign! Dave headed home, we went down to the bottom of Lucas Hill, then up. Very hot and tough climb - I always forget this has about six turns that look like the end!

I headed down Helen's before the rest of the team to get home. So I was just making a relaxed descent, thinking what a great day of biking, and as I came around a bend near the bottom, the back wheel started sliding out. I tried to save it, but no go - fell on my right side and slid for a while. There were a number of mountain bikers around who thought it was interesting! Good News #1 - the bike is fine. Good News #2 - I have nothing broken, but some road rash along my right side. After I realized I was OK, I checked the road - there was the leftovers of what looked like apples that had been crushed by cars, left fermenting in the heat/humidity and had created a great location for a slip and slide! The kids would love it, but not as good for road bike tires.

So I rode home, cleaned up and explained to the family that "no, biking is really not dangerous"! Hope no one else found this particular patch of fun.

See you on the roads soon, I'll be out this week.


Simon Moore

August 7th Email

If you'd like to be added to the YCC mailing list, please send an email to obrien at williams dot alumni dot edu. Following is the latest email:

Hello cyclists-

Looking for a kick-start to the 2006-07 school year? I know that the early morning Satellites ride did it for me last year (see photo below), and so I'd be up for it again. If you're interested in coming along, I'll be meeting at the Taipei American School main gate Tuesday morning, departing at 5:15 am. The ride takes about an hour and fifteen minutes on a road bike, slightly longer on a mountain bike or if you haven't been riding in the hills for a while... I promise I'll wait for anyone who wants to come along!

A reminder that the cycling blog is available at If you'd like to make a post (offering a ride, seeking a ride, got some news, something to sell, etc.), just send the post in the body of an email and the title in the subject to

If you're looking for a new route, you may want to check out some of the rides in the attached Google Earth file (also available from the blog). If you have placemarks or routes to add, send them to me in an email and I'll update the file...

I'm getting out for an easy spin 5:30 Wednesday and a climb up Da Tuen Shan 5:15 Thursday. I'm planning on a longer climbing ride Saturday at 6 and then something a bit mellower Sunday (Helen's?). I'll be going out on my road bike. If you're interested in joining me on any rides, just send me an email. I'll try to post more details on the weekend rides later in the week.

Hope to see you out in the hills!


P.S. I know that some of you have left Taiwan and may not be interested in receiving any YCC riding notes. If so, just drop me a note and I'll remove you from the email list.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tai Ping Mountain Climb

For all of you who are planning to race up Tai Ping Mountain on August 27, the following information may be helpful. The most recent time I climbed this road was on August 1.

It took 2.5 hours of driving from my house to the beginning of the climb. The new tunnel (highway 5) saves a lot of time but after leaving the highway in Ilan County, you will still have a fairly long way to go.

Tai Ping Mountain seems to be in the wettest part of Taiwan. On all previous rides it was pouring rain except on August 1. When I started the climb (at 09:30) it was steaming hot and sunny but even so, around 1500 meter MSL it was foggy and near the top (around 2000 meter MSL) there was drizzle and a very strong wind. In a matter of fact, I have never seen the top of the mountain in the clear except sometimes very early in morning. Descending from that altitude when wet from either rain or sweat will be very chilly and you should bring appropriate clothing.

The road conditions have greatly improved. The race was originally planned for June but was cancelled and delayed until August 27 due to the poor road conditions. You will see new asphalt on many sections. There are right now only 2 sections left that are unpaved (each about 150 meters) but work crews are hard at work to fix them.

The distance is clearly marked with kilometer signs every 500 meters. The first 5 KM are relatively mild. There is no need to stand up and you can use your 39/23~21. The first couple hairpin turns start around the 5 KM mark and the 2 sections of unpaved road are also in this area. From 5 KM to 10 KM it seems that the gradient becomes a little steeper but it is still no problem. Around the 9 KM mark you can look up and, on a clear day, see the road winding up the mountain giving you a good idea about what is ahead. Starting from 11-12 KM, it is becoming harder and you will probably find yourself standing up on a few sections, specially when coming through the hairpin turns. The hardest part is from 15 to 22 KM. You reach the summit at 22 KM. This is the highest point of the climb but probably not the finish line. The official "Tai Ping Mountain" signs are at 24.2 KM where there is also a parking lot, toilets and a guard station. The last 2 KM of road are mostly flat and even slightly down. For all practical purposes, the race is probably decided at the 22 KM mark. Don't expect to be able to pass a lot of riders in the last 2 KM.

In general it is a beatiful climb without any extreme gradients. The only difference with the northern roads around Taipei is the length. It is probably twice as long as the longest climb we do in this area. Also, eventhough the gradient varies, it is never flat and it never goes down. There is no opportunity to rest your legs and recover. Settling into a sustainable pace is key!


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Greetings from Denmark

A quick hello from Denmark and a please excuse me if I didn't get to
reply all my mails before leaving Taipei. Our last weeks in Taipei
were hectic.

Unfortunately, I did not get to go to watch "Le Tour" in France this
year, but I am benefitting from the great all stage TV coverage we get
here. What a race it has turned out to be!!!! Michael Rasmussen was
fantastic yesterday and today Floyd Landis was absolutely outstanding.
The absence of Lance Armstrong / a clear "patron" of he peleton is
obvious and leaves everything very unpredictable and open. Can't wait
to see how it all turns out but my money is on Floyd.

Today, the race took the riders across the famous Category 1 climb
"Col de la Colombiere" which I rode twice last summer (once with Craig
Johns) and it might interest you all to learn that the climb is quite
comparable to the 101 ride both in lenght and gradient.

On a last note I have become a member of a local cycling club. We go
out 3 times a week in groups of 15-30 riders at the time. 60-100K
rides depending on he group with average speeds of around 28 kph for
the slow group and 34-38 kph for the fastest group. Great group of
people but no mountains :-(

Take care!

Jesper (Vibe-Hansen)