My dream was woken up by a puncture in my tire, right after passing the Bilu Tunnel (碧綠隧道). There was 5km descend after the tunnel. I was freezing during the downhill and found a flat tire when I reached to the bottom. It started raining. I was losing the body heat when the support crew were fixing the tire.
There were still 15km to the peak. But the rain was getting heavier. I was cold and shaking on the bike. It was the hardest moment of the trip. Everyone was ahead of me, even the support vehicle. When I reached Dayuling (大禹嶺) (2565m), I was drained. I hesitated whether I should keep going. I stared at the sign that stated 10km to Wuling. I wanted to see. I wanted to stand on the top with the others. I jumped on the bike and pedaled again.
The climb after Dayuling was 27%, the steepest I had even experienced. The road looked like a wall in front of me and the traffic was getting busier after the junction of Dayuling. It was quite dangerous riding next to coaches on a slippery road. The rain didn’t stop and my shoulder hurt again. I stood aside. I looked back and tried to find out how high I had climbed. But it was so foggy, I couldn’t even get a slight sense of achievement. I looked up and I decided to give up.
The Wuling challenge was a failure. But I would do it again, on a sunny day with clip pedals.
The last ride of the tour was 110km all the way from 2000m Lishan (梨山) down to 100m Luodong (羅東). It was fun to have over 70km downhill. When we thought about the days we climbed, we deserved that enjoyment.
After the descending, it was a 30km flat road. I hammered the pedals as quick as I could, as if it was the last time I could get on a road bike. Indeed, the road condition was so good, less traffic, wide road shoulder and quiet. I caught up with the leaders and we were cruising back to the hotel at 30km/h together.
The hotel was next to the Luodong Night Market. We had all different kind of street foods and drinks. Afterwards, we held our big bellies to have a foot massage. The next day, we were just normal tourists and visited Shufen (十份) and Jiufen (九份) in a van. We lit a sky lantern and wrote our wish on it, “Shut up legs!”, then let it disappear into the sky.