I reached an important marker in my training this week: 600km of base miles.
As explained at Cycling Base Miles 101:
Base miles aim to gently increase cycling specific muscle/tendon/ligament strength, build capillaries, get your butt used to saddle time and improve your cardio vascular conditioning.
At 43 years old and 125kg (now 120kg) I was a bit worried about injuring myself if I hit the hills too soon, so I made a rough plan:
a) After 600km: Begin to challenge hills under 300m
b) 1,200km: Challenge hills under 500m
c) 2,000km: Knock yourself out.
So, with 600km under my belt, I set off for my first real climb of the year:
A 240m hill en route to Meinong.
All week, when I had no time to ride, the weather was great and I started to grumble about it being another weekend of rain, lightning and thunder. But as the saying goes: "Be careful what you wish for!"
At 6:30am when I left the house it was already pretty warm. At 7:30am when I stopped for a drink in Yanchiao it was a getting a bit hot. I passed a farm woman riding a bike with her body covered from head to toe and thought to myself: "Lady, do you know something I don't?"
To which she of course answered in her best Benicio Del Toro as Freddy Four Fingers accent:
"Andy, I probably know a lot you don't."
|At the 3-way hub in central Yanchiao where I like to stop at the Family Mart for a drink. With a temple on one corner, fruit and vegetable market on another and a convenience store it's quite a busy spot.|
Before you actually get to the real climb though, there are about 6 short but steep hills that give you a taste of what's to come so that you can
Though not a very long climb ( about 2.5km ) the grades were very steep. I just couldn't find a gear low enough to prevent myself from getting winded. I know Rule#69: It is strictly prohibited that under any circumstances a cyclist should walk up a steep incline. Luckily, my will to live is stronger than my pride, so I hoofed it up a few of the nastier sections. Luckier still, was that no fellow cyclists came along and caught me in my moments of shame.
I was ever so glad to reach the top of this climb, but really should have studied the topographic a little more carefully - I then would have known that this camel had two humps. There's a small temple at the top of the second peak with a nice rest area. Met a group of 4 oldtimers taking a break there, who had brought along with them a full sized tea kettle and campstove and proceeded to whip up some lao ren cha; one of those very pleasant little surprises that make riding in Taiwan so enjoyable.
A quick descent brought me down to highway 21 where I proceeded north for 10 minutes to the bridge at highway 28 and turned right.
By the time I finished grabbing something to eat in Meinong it was already 10:30am and I couldn't stop visualizing the mountains on the north end of town as being the lip on a giant frying pan. Decided to leave exploring Meinong to another day and caught the bus back into KHH.