Sunday20 March, the day after Taipei Cycle 2011 Gijs Roovers and Han Goes had an appointment with He Huan Mountain. The show was over, the appointment book cleared. It was time to ride.
Han is very familiar with the mountain and always enjoys the challenge having faced it quite a few times in the past. Gijs had attempted the climb once before but just come up short.
To get a better idea of what it takes to cycle up the 50 odd km and 2,800m of climbing check this post out. The destination is the pass at Wuling. Altitude 3275m.
Gijs, 61, is in a little better condition than Han so resolved to climb from the departure point at Puli. Han went a ways up the climb to begin his ascent.
Gijs readies himself.
Han sees him off. It’s around 1pm but they’ll have to get a hurry on if they want to get to the top by dark in around 5hrs. Here it’s full sunshine and in the high 20s. As they ascend, though, the temperature will drop dramatically.
Gijs sets a good pace heading into the first grades. We pass him and go further up the mountain.
The bikes are kept at my office for occasions just like these. Han takes his for a test ride around the car park.
Just need to dial in the front brakes.
Gijs catches us up and takes the opportunity to have a cold coke.
Then it’s back into it. Grades get more serious from here.
Around a curve and up one of the many steep ramps.
A piece of cake.
But the last 10km to the top are the ones which hurt. And the clouds are closing in
Han, head down, concentrates on the job.
Got through that section. But there are many more to go. And the light is fading.
Still below the clouds, so the afternoon chill is not yet a problem.
Up and up, and on and on.
Stretch the left.
Stretch the right.
The end is within reach.
But it just gets tougher and tougher.
A more or less level section.
But the cloud is really closing in.
The cloud briefly clears but there is still 6 odd km to go. That is a long way on He Huan Shan. The light won’t last.
So the bikes having been loaded, we head up to at least set foot on the pass. Gijs laments that he has just missed out completing the climb once again. Actually he lost a lot of time earlier by taking a wrong turn. Otherwise it would have been in the bag.
Han pays his respects to Gijs who came so close to making the whole distance.
The pass at Wuling. Gijs hopes he can find the time to get back and give it another try sometime in the future. Han has resolved to be back to his mountain for another attempt, perhaps next year.