Saturday I had my first real ride in six weeks. I had been procrastinating and hedging over whether to go for a ride.
Finally, I received an invite from my buddy Nathan to ride with him from Taichung to Kaohsiung. Nathan was on the second leg of his Tour of Western Taiwan. He was going to eat the western plain in two bites... and I was not about to go all the way to Kaohsiung. I offered to join him to Hsiluo on the banks of the Joushui River, but no further.
By morning Nathan had changed his plans and decided his GPS knew that the best way was along the hilly Highway 3, and I was left to ride alone. I was unsure of the condition of my leg, but the die was cast. I eased into the saddle and took to easy spinning south.
Just as I pointed my nose southward, I pulled up alongside a fellow rider with the only Salsa Casseroll I have ever seen on Taiwan's roads.
I find this fact amazing as this is one of the best all-rounder road bikes on the market. It is one of those bikes that is ideal for what so many people envision themselves doing on a bike in Taiwan.
The Casseroll, with its steel frame and 425mm chainstays makes for a rigid and comfortable road bike, commuter and light tourer. The Casseroll can also accommodate fenders and 35mm tires. The bike can also be ridden as a geared, single-speed or fixed gear bike.
According to Salsa:
So just what is Casseroll? Well, it’s a road bike with real road bike geometry, not a cross bike or hybrid bike. It’s definitely not about road racing though. Casseroll is about road riding, whether for commuting, fitness, or looking at the scenery. Casseroll is the dish. You pour in the ingredients, stir it up, and ride.
The rider was Stanley T. I realized that I had seen his bike several times before sitting on display at Famous Bikes in Taichung. Stanley is a regular rider with Tom Jian from Famous and he was equipped for his round-island tour for his Lunar New Year holiday.
We decided to ride together down to Hsiluo as Stanley had no real destination other than somewhere south.
As we kept a touring pace toward Hsiluo, Stanley offered to show me around the Tenway Gardens, a restaurant and garden area near Beidou.
Finally, it was time to cross the great Hsiluo Bridge.
There is just something wonderful about crossing that span going full tilt on a road bike. The red rusted beams go flying by, but the bridge never seems to end.
A fellow rider on his Eddy Merckx came along just as we reached the other side.
The Hsiluo Bridge is the beginning of the Yunlin Route 145, one of the best roads for any ride to Tainan or Kaohsiung. After Hsiluo, the roads are flat, well paved and have far fewer traffic lights than any of the Provincial highways. The Route 145 will eventually hook up to the Highway 19, but not after skipping all the lights and traffic.
I then turned toward home... the long way. I pushed wind toward Mailiao and up the Highway 17 to Lukang. It was brutal. Beyond that, although my leg was not an issue, mu stomach was pulsating with soreness.
I beat it back home for a Century. As I arrived at my gate the O-Ring was already beginning to fail. The security guard must have seen the immediacy in my eyes and just opened the gate for me as I doubled over in pain.
Sadly, I lost all dignity before reaching the elevator for a very long ride to the 14th floor.
Must have been a Bad Peach.
Stanley suffered some type of road calamity after we parted and will be heading home early with a little road rash and a bent rim.