Saturday 2pm. Rendezvous time at the office for departure to Taipei. The cycling season is officially underway with the National Cycling Club’s first event of the year on Sunday 13 March.
Actually, a time-trial was planned for Saturday but was cancelled because a Tsunami alert was issued early Friday evening. The events were to be held on the far northeast coast which made it a potential impact zone for the Tsunami generated off Japan’s NE coast.
Other team members were already in Taipei, so we headed north for a dinner get-together and an early night.
By 6.30am were on-site. It seemed like already half of the almost 2000 participants had also arrived.
There was plenty to wander around to have a look at once you had completed registration.
Mark Modson (left) is at the event for the first time. He went on to achieve a time of 1:28 in the M50 division.
There were plenty of trainers being used for a warm-up, a good idea as it was quite a cool morning.
Cyclists would be shortly lining up in their division groups for departure.
The elite peloton were first to go. Here they are flying along some 10km out.
The top place-getters from this group were 1. Wang Ying-Zhi-1:13:52.95 2. Hong Li-Yao 1:13:54.49 3. Lee Rogers 1:13:54:67.
The course is 55km. Starting at Jinshan it follows the coast around towards Taipei for some 20km. Then cyclists retrace the route to Jinshan and head into a 4km climb for the finish.
The day was really about the climbers. If you were a good climber and were well-positioned at the base of the climb, you were always going to do well.
Despite being a two lane road in both directions and quite enough room, many pelotons tended not to form pacelines. Racers were reluctant to ride the front resulting in slow speeds and bunching. Put this together with some inexperience and a road that is in bad repair in quite a few places, there were many hair-raising moments.
We did have a bike-cam in the peloton in the M30 division. Unfortunately it shook loose and was lost. No doubt we would have had footage of some of the several crashes that kept ambulances busy.
The flags are up and the ambulance has already arrived at the scene of one mishap as a tightly bunched peloton thunders back along the return route on the other side.
There was also an MTB division who held their own with the road bikes very admirably.
This Porsche driver might have regretted the early morning zip around the coast. There is no getting around the peloton.
Everybody’s thinking about the climb ahead. Well, except for those who did not know the route or had not trained on it.
Li Bo-Fang, RW40, approaches the last few kilometers and the climb. She finished in 1:37.
This cyclist tackled the main climb very nicely.
Chiou–Yue, RW40, on the last stretch finishes with a time of 1:54min
Kizuna Team Member (left) finishes with a time of 2:10.
Here he was earlier in the day trailing the peloton by a good measure. No problem, just keep going and enjoy the day.
Hsu Ya-Hui, RW30, in a time of 1:55.
Xiao Yu-Pei in a time of 1:50
Wu Ching, RM60, in a time of 1:33
Ying Fan, RW40, in 1:31. Nobody likes cycling more than Ying Fan who is a regular at these events. She made short work of the steep section here.
Chen Zi-Yin, RW 20, in 1:33
Zhang Wan-Ping had a great day. I snapped her early that morning.
And then later in the day on the first leg.
At the climb there is one section of around 23% that stopped more than a few cyclists. She could not ride this bit so got off and jogged her bike to the top.
She got on again.
Before long she was close to the finish and crossed in a time of 2:01.
Having finished most cyclists returned to the start by going back down the hill by another route. Food and refreshments were the first thing to attend to.
Espen and Emil Unass who crossed the line together in times of 1:17:49 and 1:17:53 wait for the award presentation ceremonies to begin.
Once the official results are released and put up on the board, many were quite keen to find out how they or the cyclists they were supporting had fared.
Bikes are temporarily abandoned while their riders find out the standings.
1. Yi Fang-Ru 1:23:46 2 .Cheng Shi–Xuan 1:25:08 3. Chen Meng-Pei 1:25:35 are the top achievers in the RW20 division.
Raphael Grinbaum took the top prize for the RM55 division in a time of 1:24
Next event is the AMD Tour of East Taiwan which will take place on April 16 and 17. This actually contains several cycling events. The racing is part of it and I’ll have the team down there to participate in that.
With the Taipei Show on this week, followed by the Tour of Taiwan, there’s going to be more than enough to post about. But finding the time is gonna be tricky.