We kick off with an early morning departure by rail to the city of Hualien on the east coast of the country. From the station we’ll jump on the pedals straight away for our warm up ride. We’ll cover approximately 60km, taking in the beautiful Liyu Lake and the first climb of the tour – a steep but relatively short ascent to a fantastic viewpoint overlooking the city to the north and the Pacific to the east.
After arriving back into the city, we’ll fuel up for the day ahead with a visit to Hualien’s famous night market for dinner before an early night ahead of the main event – climbing Taroko Gorge.
We’ll set off early to ensure we get the best of the weather as we track the route of the Taiwan KOM Challenge – won last year by cycling superstar Vincenzo Nibali – up Taroko Gorge. In this time we’ll climb a total of almost 4000m, topping out on Taiwan’s highest road of Wuling Pass at 3280m. The mountain scenery will be spectacular and the winding road is made for cycling.
From the summit we’ll descend to our accommodation for the night at Qingjing Farm. Day 2 will begin here as we retrace out steps and climb back up to Wuling Pass in preparation for a descent of epic proportions. Over the course of 175km in the saddle we’ll drop right back down to sea-level and the town of Jiaoxi. We’ll pass through lush forests, cycle past apple orchards and tea plantations, ride through the vast Lanyang river valley and end in the rice paddies of Jiaoxi.
Our final day on the road promises to be somewhat more gentle, but we still have 75km to cover to get back to the bright lights of Taipei. There are also two 500m high summits to scale, so the hard work isn’t quite over yet! The final descent into the city is spectacular and you’ll arrive in town by mid-afternoon – so if you’ve got to dash off back home then by all means do, but why not stick around for the evening and celebrate with a traditional hotpot dinner at one of Taipei’s most famous local restaurants?
A support vehicle will follow your every pedal, keeping you hydrated, well fed and in high spirits during the big climbs. But despite this, our route is seriously tough and should only be experience by experienced and most importantly, very fit cyclists that have trained sufficiently to spend a whole day in the saddle climbing uphill.