Taiwan KOM Challenge brings in big names

crankpunk’s been away for a few days with a ridiculously annoying back injury that means the ballet lessons have had to stop, and, much worse, that i might have to miss the Taiwan KOM Challenge race that is coming up this Saturday in – can you guess where? – that’s right, Botswana.

ok, Taiwan, up through the stunning Taroko Gorge.

the race starts in Hualien on the east coast right next to the ocean and heads inland up Wuling,from 0m to 3,275m. yes, you read right. i told one NZ racer about this race at the Tour de Langkawi after he complained about the 17km Genting Highlands climb, which is a chocolate-covered cherry dipped in crystallised champagne in comparison to the 90km Wuling climb, (the last 8km is an unfeasibly hard stretch, averaging about 17%, with the last 1km at about 20%) – he looked at me for a moment, thoughtfully, then said ‘sorry, i don’t believe you’ – very definitively. all i could do was laugh. i probably wouldn’t believe it either.

the peaks of Wuling

Mancebo, Roy, Chartreau and Rabotini are all coming and though i came 4th last year i am sure i’d have had my backside properly punked in this edition. still, it’s tough to miss out. not only is the climb itself truly beautiful, riding with the Top Boys is always a pleasure, if only to see how they pedal. it’s something to behold. the best i’ve seen up close is Peter Sagan, in the Middle East earlier this year. he went through gaps i hadn’t even dreamt were there, one second he was beside me then within 30 meters he was 5 riders up, in a packed peloton. quite something.

so i am bummed to be missing that one, though on the other hand it’s been an injury-free year so far so no real complaints.

check out the video here and you can actually hear crankpunk on the intro…

amazing race, incredible mountain, i fully recommend you come here to do it some year  – it is up there with the world’s most epic climbs, for sure.

Taroko Gorge

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