Jose Vicente ‘JV’ Araneta

Allez – The Freeman

December 4, 2023 | 12:00am

My 2023 Taiwan KOM Experience (Part 2)

I am assuming that you have read the first part.

This Taiwan KOM is 105km long. The first 20km is neutralized. The next 95km isa gentle 4% grade average. It’s the final 10km that that is pure up-hell!

IMO, the km20 to 95 is a set up. For neophytes in this race like, and who has never ridden the final 10k, the climb leads you to believe that it’s going to be fine.

Once I reached the third feed zone, I had some bananas, coke and water. I stuffed myself with so much sugar that I felt like the Michelin Man. The sun was still out and it promised what the said earlier- that it would be raining at the top.

I didn’t feel tired, and my legs were still working. Just as I approached the 4th feed zone, the drizzle started. I think it was now in the region of 2500m in altitude and I was feeling cold. The vegetation also changed from tropical to pine trees and moss.

There were also about 30 tunnels along the route. Most were lit, but there were two that I rode blind. A few crashed because you’d be losing orientation in the dark

Fourth feed zone. Again I had a can of Coke and rice cake. Then suddenly, one lady, it turned out she was Clarice Young, the sister of Biboy Young, came to me and asked me if I wanted the raincoat. I completely forgot about the raincoat and if I did, I don’t think I could have finished!

There were still 20km to go and despite my plastic raincoat, the chill started to creep inside my body. I felt dizzy (altitude sickness, I learned later on). My feet and hands were soggy as I didn’t have a booty and winter gloves on. The ramps are still doable so I soldiered on.

Finally, I reached the dreaded part, the final 10 and the final feed zone. I grabbed a banana and water as the guy there was moving a lot to heat up. And what they said about the final 10km was true. It was like riding the last km to tops multiplied by 10. There are flatter sections but the first 95k already had softened me up. This was the final round. I don’t remember how many times I dismounted but what I remember was that the last 3K sign was taken down. Over a Km from the finish line, I was asked to stop and take the sag. Which I did and was grateful for. When I reached the finish line, I saw Junhel Carcueva who took my bike and told me to get into the warmth of our van. I was given a bland noodle soup which I spat out.

I was given a finishers medal and later on learned that I was given a finishing time of 8 hours and 20 minutes. The winner had crossed the line in over three hours.

If I was quitting cycling, I’d say that this is the best swan song. But no, I’ll go back and finish it before cut off. It took me 1 hour 50 minutes to get through the final 10k.

If I’m to go back, I need to lose weight- 25-30lbs. Losing weight would be a greater battle than the KOM.

This post was originally published on this site