Friday, November 13, 2015

TAIWAN KOM Challenge - crazier than all rumors combined...

I found out the hard way! Wow, what an experience. And that climb was unreal! For all those who
top of KOM Challenge by Bauyung Gao
like to challenge themselves on the bike, this hillclimb race should be on the top of your "to-ride" list! It is 105km total, with the first 17km flat neutral along the Pacific Coast before turning inland and upwards, a 87km climb that drops you off above the clouds at 3275m altitude, with the last 10km crazy hard, repeatedly reaching gradients in upwards of 30%!  Just reaching the finish is more than a feat in itself. This year, with ideal weather conditions, only 75% of the riders made it to the top. is their website if you want to read more about it.

There is also an organization that does training camps - road, mtb, and cyclocross - as well as bike tours there in Taiwan. Website is

Since my experience there in Taiwan was soooo overwhelming, here are a couple of links where you can read all about it.  Here is a version in Dutch:

And in English, with lots of photos, here:

Going into the Taiwan race, i first competed in a few cyclocross it is cross season! :-)
Kermiscross Ardooie (Belgium) was the first on my list.  I had a very slow start since i was completely not used to going that deep so many times in a 45 minute period. But my last two laps were great which gave me hope.

Next up was Valkenburg World Cup in Holland.  I remained optimistic up until two minutes into the
Valkenburg World Cup,
foto: Luc Wilms
race where my saddle pointed skyward when i remounted.  My own fault.  I tried to lower the nose of the saddle a few days previous to save my bitties from the constant saddle-smacking but clearly I didnt tighten it enough.  My husband Jonas was pretty pissed off, to say the least. The one time i touch my bike i manage to screw it up big time.  When i passed him in the pits, in completely last place since i took much time trying to make the saddle rideable, i could tell he wanted to wring my neck but he held it in like the pro he is.  By the end i only managed to pass a few riders since i was sitting so far behind.

Next up was a back-to-back weekend of  Kruibeke CX (Belgium) and Grand-Prix de la Commune de Contern (Luxembourg.)  In Kruibeke, I was unsure that my back would hold out since it has been very bad lately but it turned out that this was a non-factor.  Instead what took me out was chain-suck - THREE TIMES in fact! The third time when it happened I was simply too far from the pits to run my bike, so I stopped.  The crank had to be removed to get the chain free - something I couldn't do on the fly unfortunately, as much as I tried.

In Contern, I found a course that was totally my thing. And in following with my season luck so far,
Kruibeke CX, foto: Jo Groenevinger
my back completely crippled me where I was riding slower than a grandma with a filled picnic basket attached to her handlebars. Somehow I managed to finish top 10 but I couldn't have been more disappointed. 

If I didn't have to fly out to Taiwan very early the next morning, I would have tried some intervention for my back to get me through the Taiwan race.  Unfortunately I traveled to Taiwan on a bunch of pain pills and a prayer - that I would make it to the finish. 

Since returning to Belgium from Taiwan I have been to the hospital to have a facet-denervation done
Valkenburg World Cup,
foto: Bianca van Nyen
on my lower back, where they literally burn the nerves.  It takes up to 6 weeks to see if it works.  Fingers crossed.  And in the meantime, I am back to training - to try and bring my fitness level back up. Not sure if it will come good in time for Koksijde World Cup on 22 November but I'm doing everything I can to make it happen.

Thanks for reading! xxx


Lisa said...

That is indeed one challenging ride! And, hey, did you do it with a bad back at that? That is quite inspiring. Hoping you get well in time for the Koksijde World Cup.

PEANUT said...

Thanks so much Lisa for your kind words! Yeah, was a crazy hard ride! I still have no idea how i made it to the finish. :-) I've been training hard this week so hopefully my back holds together for koksijde! :-) Thanks again for your note!