If you ride, there’s a chance your bike was made in Taiwan, or your clothing, or helmet – or all of it! As a manufacturing powerhouse, it’s not widely known (yet!) for it’s cycling and scenery. This is starting to change with the growing awareness helped largely by the KOM climb, Mt Wuling.
Situated about 180 kilometres from China, Taiwan is comprised largely of one island and smaller islands. What contributes to the beauty of the main island of Taiwan is the fact it is a tilted fault block – this is essentially large masses of rock. The formations of rock makes for breathtaking views and of course, terrific cycling.
The KOM stats are significant. While the 3,500m of vertical gain in less than 80km is intimidating, perhaps the final 8km to the summit, after 2,500m of climbing is what gives the climb it’s reputation.
‘A magic climb up. For me, the fatigue and the altitude I found to be the biggest challenges. You’re really riding up on the side of these precipices which is quite incredible. When I looked around and looked at the mountains, it’s just like a scene out of a movie or something. It’s so spectacular. Some of the scenery, the old temples, the waterfalls, the section with all the trees going over the road, like a natural awning covering the road, the vegetation itself is something I’ve only ever seen in Asian movies.’Cadel Evans, Tour De France winner
Driving the popularity of Mt Wuling has been the annual event which challenges riders to complete the climb within a 6.5 hour time limit. Sounds great for those wishing to push themselves, but we’d prefer to soak up the scenery and magnitude of this majestic mountain and during less crowded days!
As significant as Mt Wuling is, don’t let it be the only reason you visit Taiwan. There is much more cycling to experience, not forgetting the kind hearted people, food (oh the dumplings!) and culture of this fine land.
If you decide to take on Mt Wuling, here’s some tips and advice:
- Train for it. Aim to average around 200km/week with at least one ride covering 100km and 1000m. Riding an indoor trainer will also bring benefit for the closing sections of the climb
- September and March are the prime months for visiting
- Pack for all kinds of weather, as you would with any climb of this size. Be aware of good weather forecasting apps and websites and keep an eye on them
- Don’t leave your descent too late. Descending 80km can be very tiring when you’re fatigued
- Take your time. Why rush your experience of one of the best experiences you can have!
Taiwan KOM, Hualien Taiwan
Saturday 19 to Thursday 24 September, 2020
A fully supported ride up the famous KOM, combined with the magnificent ‘Palm route’.