TOUR JOURNAL: DAY 3, FULONG BEACH – JIAOXI
For the first – but definitely not the last – time on tour, Day 3 of the Pedal Taiwan tour dawned beautifully sunny as we set off along the coast from our B&B in Fulong Beach. The ride took in crashing Pacific waves, immaculate cycle lanes, a surprise climb, a waterfall, some hot springs and yet more delicious food – it must be Taiwan!
Chris MJ – October 25th – 10.03pm
The wind was still blowing but fortunately the clouds began to clear as we woke to Day 3 of the tour. Three of the group (Ash, Julia and Jane) went down to the beach for a morning stretch on the sands, with The Pacific, Dongxing Temple and rays of sunshine providing the perfect backdrop.
Breakfast followed and fortunately everyone still seemed to be getting on after a night of highly competitive card games (a relief to Rob and I), as we tucked into cups of oolong tea, fresh bao, rice dumplings and fried eggs.
With full bellies we set off into a headwind to Sandiaojiao Lighthouse, the most easterly point of Taiwan, eight kilometres down the road. Most of the team climbed to the top on their bikes, winding up a steep incline to a spectacular viewpoint above where the East China Sea meets the Pacific.
The team then turned directly south, hugging the coastline and taking perhaps one of the world’s most scenic (and best maintained) bike lanes. It made for some epic photos and drone footage, and with the morning headwind switching to a tail wind, progress was fast. So fast that James suggested an optional extra to the day – a climb to coffee. It sounded simple enough…
2.5km and 200m of vertical later and the group were at the top, sweaty and out of breath (including myself after running up sections to film the ascent) but in high spirits. The view was fantastic and with gradients topping a staggering 25% on a few of the hairpin bends, it was certainly good practice for the big climb tomorrow!
We descended quickly from the top, reaching lunch in Jiaoxi by around 1.30pm. The beef noodles were fantastic, the pork dumplings were delicious and as always the greens were better than any we get at home. After filling up on lunch, I had to dash off to catch the train to Haulien to pick up the car we are using as backup for our ride into the hills. Just as an aside – the drive back via Highway 9 was an epic; with the road clinging to the huge sea cliffs and ducking in and out of spectacular tunnels.
Meanwhile the group headed from lunch to Jiaoxi hot springs for what was hoped to be a relaxing soak. Unfortunately the rules are somewhat bizarre and you’re only allowed to dip in up to your calves – anyway, hopefully everyone’s calves will be fresh as can be tomorrow for the climb…
A trip to the Wufengchi Waterfall followed, where everyone took the opportunity to swim in the pool at the bottom and check out the water that tumbles in three stages down almost 100 vertical metres.
Everyone checked into our accommodation for the night – an awesome house in the middle of the paddy fields that once again was all ours – and I arrived back around 7pm. After another full day in the saddle quite rightly everyone was keen for food, so we headed out to dinner in town, choosing a Japanese restaurant that served up delicious bowls of ramen and fresh sushi, including some fantastic sashimi.
An early night is definitely on the cards as the group rests up ahead of tomorrow’s big climb. We’re setting off early and alarms are set for 6.30am, so I best be off to bed!