As we head into the Taiwan Cup weekend, things are not looking good. The main cup events that are due to take place on Sunday 24th may well be cancelled, although the organizers have stated that there is no cancellation as yet.
Typhoon Megi has reformed in the South China Sea after crossing to the west through the northern Philippines as a category 4/5 storm. It has turned north and is moving slowly towards the China coast and due to its size, Taiwan will feel the effects with a typhoon watch already in place. It might not be coming ashore but that will not matter as it is likely to do as much damage anyway.
As of this evening, the access road from the north that runs along the cliffs between Yilan and Hualien has been closed. The rail line has also been closed. Landslide fears were confirmed when large boulders and debris crashed onto the road hitting a tour bus – two people are still missing.
I was due to head down that very road on Saturday morning to link up with the rest of Primavera team members, although by last night it was looking extremely doubtful that any travel through this area would be a good idea. Landslides are guaranteed with rain of this intensity.
Any teams that are not already there will not be able to move into the area until the road has been cleared. Of course, there is no guarantee that there will be no further landslides along other stretches of the road. It is truly dangerous. 300-500 mm of rain is forecast for Hualien; 200-400 mm for Taitung. Up to 1000 mm is forecast for the northern access routes.
In the months and weeks leading up to the festival, the probability of typhoon disruption was really quite high. The typhoon season was so quiet it was almost certain we would get at least one late storm in October.
That this has happened to the inaugural Taiwan Cycling Festival is disappointing, but suggests that the probability of it happening again in subsequent years is pretty low.
Still, I have a lot of respect for outliers, and there is no gurantee, of course, that we will not be faced with a similar event in the not too distant future.
For as-it-happens updates, follow @OriginalMarkV on twitter (Mark from Bike Hugger).