After realising that the easy way out of the mountain is a no-go, as the road is closed to bicycles, uphill it was again. We were quite nervous about the whole thing, as the way to the east coast looked terrifying on the map. Our bike computer told us 100km with 1800m climbing and a whooping 3600m downhill. We prepared as good as never before, started really, really early (9 am) and gave us special names for the day. Max was Marco (Pantani), because of his combative climbing style, Ellie was Cadel (Evans), because he is really cute. We later renamed her to “Space-Cadel Ellen” but that is a different story. My name for the day was Jens (Voigt), because he created the great adage “Shut up legs and do what I say” he also said once that he comes in the family hierarchy just above the dog. So do I, just that we do not have a dog.
Anyhow, what happened was the most beautiful, exhilarating and mind-blowing day I ever had on the bike. OK, I am good with superlatives, but the day made it easily into the top three. Out of Lishan there was climbing, there was actually quite a lot of climbing, but it hovered smoothly around the 5% on a perfect road with hardly any traffic. The scenery became breathtaking, autumn in full colours. Once at the top we were scratching 3000m altitude and it was cold and cloudy. Hats off to Max and his skinny legs, and as we like it or not, we do not have to wait for him anymore, he won the final sprint to the top. (He was also the only one sprinting to the top)
The way down was nothing but utmost bliss. 50km downhill on a small, winding road is something you must earn. Towards the end the roads makes its way through the beautiful, narrow Taroko gorge, with many narrow and dark tunnels and other hazards that might scare us on other days, but on that day, we were nearly drowning in Endorphins and would have pushed any truck just over the barriers. A perfect little camp spot in the evening and that was it: A day we will always remember.
Now we are down on the coast, it feels tropical and we stay the night in a great 40$ homestay, with wallpaper full of little hearts and feel just perfect.
But while we are frolicking on the bikes and enjoying ourselves, we do not forget that our colleagues back home are already in full bushfire season and spend day and night in Incident control centres or in the field fighting fires at 45 degree. We love you all, you are doing a great job.