Day 7: Taimali (太麻里, Tài Má Lǐ) to Antong (安通, Ān Tōng)
Counting down 3 more days of our tour!
And today’s ride was one of the most beautiful rides of the 10 days. We rode into what would be one of the pride and joy of Taiwan.
Their paddy fields!
It’s like riding into layers and layers of green fields, with different contours of green, brown and yellow.
Highlight of today’s ride was the gorgeous paddy fields! Love how beautiful it was!
You know the saying, “When you eat corn together you get corny…” LOL
Relatively easier ride today, than yesterday with 105km. We had amazing Bento lunch on a platform in the fields, which was made of rice from the paddy fields, and the rice was so fragrant. While we ate, none of us made a squeak. We were so hungry, and the food was tasty!
We even had a nice hot spring waiting for us at Antong!
(That was a REAL motivation for me…I tell ya)
We reached our hotel before 4 pm, which was super awesome! Had time to hang out and relax our muscles in the hot springs.
Was educated by Kevin and Pai that hot spring was meant to be enjoyed with soaking in the hot springs and then cold water, and then REPEAT. The cold water made my teeth chatter! Bbrrr…
On to dinner…
Of course, while waiting for our dinner to digest, we had to sing a few songs, and the night ended with karaoke. We had Karaoke Night with our passionate Antong Pop-Stars 🌟.
Day 8: Antong (安通, Ān Tōng) to Hualien (花莲, Huā Lián)
Can’t believe it’s already day 8!
It’s getting colder by the kilometre! The ride was super misty and cool, and I underestimated how cold it was, and had to switch to a long-sleeve rain jacket during lunch…!
We visited an old sugar factory, and to our happiness served ice-cream! There were two people bold enough for ice cream… Me and Kenix! Lol.
While the others were pouring HOT ginger tea, to warm up their bodies. Tis’ a cold day in Taiwan.
Love the cool ride. It gets colder as we get closer to Taipei. We were so happy to see a 7eleven, and Aaron was so hungry he scoffed down a hot dog and left mustard on his face!
2 more days of our cycling tour! We are tactically trying to make sure we recover our legs properly for Day 10’s 1000+ elevation.
Here’s to day 8! That’s a wrap!
Day 9: Hualien (花莲, Huā Lián) to JiaoXi (礁溪, Jiāo Xī)
Check out today’s map, we rode along the coast…
When the morning started, we rode up to Seven Star Beach. Gorgeous ride along the beach. Love that Taiwan has specific bike lanes along the coast
We rode over to the start of the beautiful cliffs where a group would decide to take the car (see more scenery) or take the train (be true cyclists – apparently).
The 2nd group hurried on to the train station to cross over to JiaoXi. With the train/car ride, we didn’t do much mileage on day 9.
Perfect for recovering for day 10, but more so we wanted to experience more of Taiwan.
One of the most beautiful sights ever was the Ch’ing-Shui Cliff, leading to the Pacific Ocean and Taiwan’s highest coastal cliff!
Most parts of the coastal road were too dangerous to ride, so we hopped in the car, and that shortened the distance we ride today. Which was quite intentional.
We are preparing for our day 10, which is the hilliest and toughest days of all the 10 days tour. It’s also the last day of the Taiwan Tour 2020, leading us back to Taipei.
After a nice car ride, we had another 30+km to ride to the next hotel. It was a flat and easy-going ride.
We were happy about this, as we really hoped to get enough recovery (as much as possible), for the climbs coming on day 10!
That’s day 9! Woohoo!
Day 10: JiaoXi (礁溪, Jiāo Xī) back to Taipei (台北, Tái Běi)
According to Bin Soo and Kenix, doing today’s ride is going to give you the real experience of Taiwan hills. Whoa.
5km in to warm up, and we had hit the hills. Looping back and forth, they call these “hairpin” hills. We have 2 major hills to do. Altogether it’s 1,250-meter elevation, over around 50km. When I heard this my eyes become big like dinner plates.
We were all advised to take our time and climb at our own pace. Great advice from Captain Pai.
We reached the first trough (before the second hill) and took this happy picture.
We rode more and completed the 2nd hill and it seemed steeper in a shorter distance. Ugh. And we did it anyway.
We met an amazing girl doing a 12 days tour around Taiwan carrying a 10kg load on her back, going up the same hills we were cranking up! (Now I feel lousy for complaining about my heavy power bank in my pocket)
We rode nice flats back to Taipei, and Dr Apollo parted ways with us. We were very thankful to him for taking care of us, treating our illnesses and conditions, during the days he rode with us. Blessed with the presence of a doctor!
We reached Taipei and celebrated with fist-bumps and hugs! We did it! We ended the day with amazing Chinese fine dining, to CELEBRATE and had the best Taiwanese dishes, like glutenous ride with crab, squid balls, just to name a few.
We had a lot of amazing laughs, and crazy moments too…
This has been an amazing and memorable trip despite the challenges, illnesses and conditions. Everyone held strong for each other.
It started with 8 of us, and we finished it.
Everyone added their special gifts to the trip, making it unforgettable.
We had a taste of Aaron’s low and sexy singing voice during karaoke. What a treat.
Cecie’s determination and willingness to ride with us despite being new to riding and hit by influenza was so motivating.
Bin Soo was a quiet warrior. Suffering from cough and lowered immunity, she pushed on and was looking after riders in the back. Completed 10 days, and was diagnosed on day 10 with pneumonia! O.M.G!
Kenix is a trooper. She was flying up the hills despite suffering heat burns from Taiwan’s winter ⛅ sun. Despite the itch and pain, she kept soldiering on. Salute!
Kevin rode like two times in his life and committed to a 10-day ride in Taiwan. O.M.G!
He started as a newbie, but now he’s could be considered seasoned. We enjoyed his positivity despite the jet lag and several conditions that made him almost give up many times.
Dr Apollo rode for 2 days but made a significant impact on our health and welfare. His meds and diagnosis helped the ones sick and even prevented the healthy from getting ill.
Winnie was always smiling and looking out for each of us. Always offering tissue, drinks during our stops, and quietly positive.
This ride would also have been harder without Xiao Ger, our support car driver. I imagine him like a Doraemon (Japanese cartoon character with 3-dimensional pocket). Xiao Ger has everything we needed, and if he didn’t have it, he found ways to procure swiftly. Highly recommend going anywhere in Taiwan with Xiao Ger.
And Captain Pai, who started all this. Being famous for his overestimated distances. We had the opportunity to hear his famous lines – “Just around the corner.” Or “Just 5 more km.” And I realized that’s the positive person in him. Always encouraging. He took care of each of us, from leading with hand signals to the right medication, and always checking in with each of us during breakfast. Plotting the routes, we were on was a lot of effort, detailed down to our toilet breaks. Wow. We always felt we were in good hands.
Thank you to my Personal Trainer & Fitness Coach, Joshua @ GetActive, for the constant push and motivation. Without him, I would not have had the strength and endurance to face the infamous Taiwan hills, and complete. I realized that cardio training was not good enough to stay strong on the bike, and the weight & endurance training made it possible for me to stay on the bike… (without giving up!)
All and all, the ride taught us a lot about ourselves. It’s a lot of reflection as each of us as I believe we each challenged our own boundaries. I’m glad we did it and had an amazing group of people to do it with.
Here’s to an amazing 10 days. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Love cycling in Taiwan.