Taiwan 2013

taiwan 2013 stage 1

June 4th, 2013

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

Taiwan 2013 the long flat coastline of the soul

June 10th, 2013

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after a visit to the guan yin statue in hualien, on the road for stage two, along the pacific coast. averagins 70km each day, sunrises and beach camping…that’s where it’s at. well, that’s where some of it’s at, the flat part.

sunscreen, my friend!
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tunnels, surfers, rain!
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beach camping, most amazing sunrises. i set my alarm for 5 am, try to get on the road before six, because when the sun gets higher, quickly it gets hot hot hot!

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the tropic of cancer marker. i am sure it got hotter as i crossed the line. i win!

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mangoes! and a pit stop, to switch the truck mounting. the heat/rain/steambath maybe started melting my board. like the wicked witch of the east…i’m melting! its worked out ok, though, still rideable, still awesome subsonic.

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morning coffee, i like it hot. midmorning, i’ll stop by the wayside and get a mr. brown iced coffee, in a can. not bad, actually…

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then back up into the mountains, for stage three- steamy jungle skating. hard work, it is! wouldnt want it any other way. everyone has a different perspective onthis long distance thing, but mine is simple: i never suffer. sure its hot, it’s hard, i grunt and almost meltdown sometimes, but i never doubt, never retreat, just keep pushing, and rest when the old man in me says. what goes up, must come down, and when it cools down in the evening, that downhill is even more chill.

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so i reach my halfway destination, jialeshuei, near to kending, in the far south. relax, some bodysurfing, but the surf hasnt come up yet…will look in town for some fins. chillin with winson, local surf guy, and we’re off to find one longboarding taiwan guy this evening…another pusher. POWER RELAXING…

after the sea, the mountains

June 24th, 2013

from the beach, along a day of flat coastline, camping in a river valley at the foot of the space i would eventually cross, the road i chose ran directly up into the hills…

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and made me sweat, turn red, slather myself with sun creme, and dig it, all that uphill…

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hot coffee in the village, then rain on the ascent. i hid out under my tarp for a bit, then off again. sorry scott, no way to keep the board outta the wet, i’m afraid i abused her/it. but we got the job done…

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sunset over the taiwan straits…

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and then there were bridges, coming down from alishan, by way of jade mountain…

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fog, deep thick fog, and i emerged in the swiss alps. damn google maps!

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evening fell as i pushed up hehuan shan, rainbows, moon shining high, clouds billowing over the mountian tops, approaching 3000m altitude. after sichuan, this was hard, but like child’s play…

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the last seven kilometers, in the morning…hehuan shan on a skateboard!

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camping in the sea of clouds…

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and then there was this, two hours of gopro running, crazy beautiful, follow the road…i made it more than 50km before crashing…

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though this was the end of my ride kinda like planned, it was a stoke-killer (almost) when i hit a wet patch and landed wierd, wrenching my knee. ouch! i went along the coast road a bit, just to see the cliffs, and the next day (today) i hitched to daxi, to hang with Quake, at Daxi. relaxing, recuperating…feeling much better, it should be ok.

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