- Search event by: 挑戰大三元
- Starting Location: Pouzi Park, TaiChung (廍子公園).
- Length: Official 89km, back to start + 7km. Elevation gain: 1960 m.
- Hill profile: First two mild hills then one medium hill with a steep section.
- Good for:
- Post new year, fat burning hill training.
- Route Highlights:
- Continuous honking.
- High-rise circular road.
- Indefinitely closed State #8 river scenery.
- Jigsawed 99 Peaks.
The event name came from a hand of Chinese Mahjong, which is essentially getting three particular tiles, and having three tiles each. The three tiles symbolizes climbing three hills at TaiChung’s east outskirt.
However, to me the real ride is more like playing Mario Kart, full of chaotic and, well, “weird” episodes: constantly getting honked by rednecks, riding with 6-wheeler, riding on construction sites, riding on a high-rise road, passing abandoned hot spring resorts, confusing riders evenly split at an intersection, riding with runners, riding with riders carrying elementary-school plush backpacks, passing old water tanks high-five each other….
The bunny rider.
Don’t get me wrong: these chaotic events didn’t make the ride unsafe. On the contrary these events were part of the fun for an “urban outskirt ride”, mixing natural scenery with human activities.
You shoot me I shoot you.
Originally the event started and ended at PouZi Park (廍子公園) east of TaiChung. Due to hazard causing by bikers racing through heavy traffic city area for good personal timing, this time they moved the endpoint near the end of Route #136.
A great thing about this ride was it started later (6:30 am).
With three cute anime girls having your back. Good for you!
And the ride started!
The route first went north through TaiChung’s northeastern area (BeiTou District 北屯). Here it seemed to be more recently developed, with wide roads, green spaces and individual houses.
What were you doing here ?!
Another feature of riding through city outskirt was the constant honking of TaiChung’s rednecks. Nothing unsafe, just amazed me.
Central Taiwan University of Science & Technology.
Lots of individual houses can be seen in this section.
Competed with 6-wheel kart. I hoped he didn’t throw out banana peels.
Super Saiyan Chicken. This year (2017) was Chicken year.
Blue sign: “Bicycle Rest Stop”. Yellow: “Play big with fried Kuih and oyster cake!”
Another individual house complex.
TaiChung City Rescue Association.
Temple-residential building complex.
As the route (#129) started heading east it passed through DaKeng (大坑). It used to have some hot spring facilities but now abandoned resorts could be seen.
Broken “DongShan Recreational Park” sign.
Abandoned hot spring resort.
The parrot sign said “Sakura Bird Forest”. Whatever that means…
At this point the route #129 started to ascend. What made the ride more interesting was this route was undergoing major construction. It almost felt like doing cyclocross riding through dirt, concretes, dodging construction machines and traffic cones!
Such a busy road!
Near the top there was a strange orange arch. It turned out to be a high-rise road that soon we would ride on it. Kind of cool but what was the point building that high?
The mysterious round orange road.
A sign with deep meaning: here, at the grassy pond-side you can catch pokemons, and make your love turned the other side.
Wall of buildings.
You Shall Not PASS!
Here the road suddenly became high-rise, feeling like riding to the sky.
Exiting the high-rise road.
At this point we got to the top of our first hill: JuongShin Hill (中興嶺), a major three-road intersection.
As if the previous construction road was not confusing enough, here equal amount of cyclists went from different directions. Those who went left claimed it was last year’s route, while those who went right said the event crews said so.
Which one did I choose? Well since the right road continued ascend I choose this one.
The major JuongShin Hill intersection. The front building was a mixture of a post office, a convenient store and a coffee shop. You should see here people split and went different directions.
Oh no. Which way was the right way? Everyone was looking at each other.
On the top was a flat region called XinShe District (新社區). It was an agricultural area, famous for loquat and mushroom.
Lots of green houses along the way.
“House of mushrooms”.
A line of pine trees.
Old temple gate.
Passing through some sort of military camp.
After crossing the XinShe District we began to descend toward the most east major TaiChung District: DongShui (東勢). One of TaiChung’s highest elevation ride, the Big Snow Mountain ride, was also in this District.
The mountains are within the Shei-Pa National Park, the hard-to-reach area by bikes.
Crossing the big DaJia River (大甲溪) separating XinShe and DongShui.
Looking toward the Big Snow Mountain.
DongShui was the route’s turning point toward south. We rode on State #8, the old highway crossing Taiwan’s Central Mountains horizontally toward east shore.
After the big 921 Earthquake the mountain section was closely indefinitely due to hillside instability, and State #8 only opened to GuGuan (谷關), TaiChung’s popular hot spring area.
The arch marked the starting point of State #8.
The elevated flat area was XinShe, where we just rode through.
DaJia River bank. Like other big Taiwanese rivers, at low water season the bank became farmlands.
Soon we arrived at our first rest stop, just next to water conservation pool.
Part of the river’s water was re-directed here and used during low water season.
Soon we arrived at intersection between State #8 and State #21, which we turned onto to go further south. There was a pedestrian bridge here worthy for a short stop.
Big buses through a tunnel toward GuGuan. We were heading right instead.
Entrance-hidden pedestrian bridge.
Seeing the road we crossed before.
Great State #8 river upstream.
Can you see the person beneath the bridge?
Unlike State #8, State #21 at this section was very quiet, ideal for cyclists.
Mobile veggie vendor. “Veggie. 4 for NT 100.”
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cameraman.
Water transport pipes, typical for Taiwan’s mountain country side.
At this section we met a group of runners.
It would be embarrassing if you got passed by runners…
Orchards in the mountains.
Vista point of the great DaJia River valley scenery.
Betelnut trunk remains.
At the highest point was a small cafe, serving “sheep tits tea eggs” (羊奶頭茶葉蛋), whatever that is…
Afterwards the road began to descend all the way, crossing TaiChung and entered Nantou.
My helmet sticker almost fell off at this point.
Near the bottom we entered Guoxing Township (國姓鄉), an area first accessed by KoXingGa‘s (KoXing was hakka pronunciation of GuoXing) army, hence the name.
Here the road continued as Route #133, whereas State #21 turned left toward the big Nantou town Puli (埔里).
A temple-fruit market complex?
Mountains which we had to detour over.
Dat swag bunny.
GuoXingGa’s statue at the town center.
As we left the town, the route continued and linked to State #14, which we rode a short section in order to connected onto Route #136.
Two towers hi-five.
Crossing DaDu River (大肚溪), the river which State #14 followed.
Looking back State #21.
Onto State #14.
Passing the tunnel, one saw the great unique terrain here at TaiChung: the 99 peaks, a mountain ridge formed by many sharp peaks. A last rest stop was setup here before we tackled the last major hill: Route #136.
The 99 Peaks.
Crossed the river again.
The border sign between TaiChung and Nantou.
Route #136 peak view.
Route #136 peak monument.
(For more photos about #136 like the bat cave, see this previous trip!)
Since I rode Route #136 before I didn’t bother taking too many photos and enjoy sprinting back to the end point, which was at a temple plaza.