Caley Fretz

Formerly of VeloNews

Caley visited Taiwan to ride the Taiwan KOM in 2017 and decided it was even more fun than riding up Alpe d'Huez!

"Taroko Gorge isn’t something you want to miss. The geological relief is massive. To the left the mountain drops anywhere from a few hundred to nearly a thousand feet down to the river; to the right, steep, forested slopes rise straight into the clouds. The road cuts straight through rock that curves overhead like a great stone wave. As we head out of the gorge itself the pavement begins switchbacking, back and forth and back and forth, across the mountain’s face. Over and over again you spot a section far ahead and above and wonder how you’ll ever get up there, then you do, and there’s another just as high again.I’m not sure how to best describe the last 10km, about 45 minutes, of this climb. Like doing Alpe d’Huez at the end of a long ride? No, that’s nowhere near steep enough. It’s not akin to doing a hard climb after a series of hard climbs because of the consistency of the effort. For hours you sit right on the edge, with legs ticking like time bombs. But the timer is broken. When will they go? Little electrical twinges course through muscles, the early threats of cramps. What will they do?The Taiwan KOM is a bucket-list item. It was for me, now checked off, and it should be for you. A riding trip here is more rewarding than an outing to Alpe d’Huez, and certainly more difficult. It’s more adventurous than anything in the Dolomites, more rugged than the Pyrenees. I implore you: Make a week of it.

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