On the road again! this time in taiwan, going north to south. been pushin’ it for five days, from taipei first over the north cross-island highway…narrow roads, good pavement, up up up. it’s not such high altitude, the first passes around 800m, but it’s HOT! gotta get up early. no espresso this time, but i found these excellent drip coffee baggies, makes a good cup to get me going.
The board i am riding is a new subsonic, a hybrid longer racecar, higher gt, set up directionally, mounted tighter in, in the back. Scott made this fresh for the season, its not as low as the gt, so i’m not bottoming out as much and have a lot more control in the corners (i asked for something ‘snappier’ and subsonic Scott delivered the goods! efp i think is 28 inch, which lets me keep a wider stance, i like! honestly the best board for me, my leg length and cycle of my thigh-knee-calf.
Riptide is sponsoring this trip too, and set me up with a load of fatcones and chubbies, but i settled on the aps barrels in the buzzed v2’s, with amish cupped washers boardside and flat roadside. the carve is awesome, it jumps left and right and back into line, exceptionally stable and mad fun at speed, and i’m stoked on the center line when i’m pushing. and in these mountains i’ve been pushing a lot, a lot!
the roads up here are sweet, good pavement, often narrowing into what seems like bike paths, one lane tracks through crazy forests. the vegetation changes with the slope, mixed broadleaf subtropical forests downstairs, cedar and pines on the ways up, tree ferns and leather leaved shiny monster plants higher up. some places are even like cloud forest, everything covered with moss and green slime caking the roads, it never really dries out up there.
most valuable piece of travel kit again is the water filter, it’s hot and humid here and i drink seeveral litres of water per km. haha, no, that’s an exaggeration but still, my clothes are drenched in sweat, some days i wished it would rain, it wouldnt matter. everything in the pack is wrapped in a dry sack, and every day i get clean socks and undies! awesome, clean socks make the man, almost…
day five, entering taroko national forest, i had no idea of the scope of this place. it took me two and a half days to skate up, i didnt even realize i’d made it to 2670 meters altitude, till i saw a sign fly past…
then, the road snakes through the ‘sea of clouds’, it’s up there on the list of fantabulous super badassed trekking downhills, 75km from 2600+ meters down to sea level. in some places the clouds are pushing up over the side of the mountain, spilling onto the road, the trees and the mountains like ghosts, catching a glimpse of the man on the skate on the road.
camping out in the cloud forest, the soundscape includes screeching birds, little chirps here and there, zithering crickets in the evening, and grunting monkeys as i cook my noodles. i pound my chest and bark back at the monkeys, the food is mine! gorilla in the mist, don’t mess with me. they’re just little monkeys, i dont know are they gonna come back in a gang and make trouble? i think the chest beating does the trick, though, mostly they scamper off and watch me sour from the trees.
finally back down to earth, or, to sea level, and headed along the coast to land in hualien. and here i sit, at the bar in formosa backpacker hostel, sipping tequila. after six days on the road, around 250km skated, i’ll have a little treat. actually, this is my prep for another long ride. ever hear of the tarahumara runners?