Data log link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/47768544
Sunday 9-5 I participated in the Puli-Wuling Challenge ride over what is called the highest road in Southeast Asia, peaking at 3275m. It starts at 450m and goes ~55km to the finish. My equipment for the day was my SRAM equipped Magnus with aluminum clinchers for the long descent. It was an early day, breakfast at 4am and to the starting line at 4:45. We ended up waiting for close to an hour due to the huge crowd. This was a challenge ride and not a race so the start was not organized by age group and was pretty chaotic due to the 6000+ people entered. The results are sorted by age group and gender so there’s definitely a competitive aspect.
After the start we formed a paceline for the first 16km which was relatively flat and fast. The road was crowded with cyclists of all types, MTB, tall bikes, people with radios, even kids on mini road bikes. The road was also open to traffic, so we were held up a little until everyone spread out. I rode with my teammates on the initial hills trying to convince ourselves to conserve energy for the 2500m of climbing ahead. This turned out to be a mistake as I had too much energy left at the end.
It was a perfect day for riding, sunny and not too hot. As the altitude increased the scenery kept getting better and there were fewer cyclists and vehicles on the road to contend with. The ocean was visible in the distance as well as sheer drops just past the guard rail. I was feeling good after the supply point and started pushing harder with about 15k to go.
The last 3k consists of mostly 10% grades along with hairpin turns that feel closer to 15% or more. I finished in 3:11, 11th overall, ~24 minutes behind the leader, but ~12 minutes behind second place. With some minor changes in strategy and training I think 5-10 minutes faster is possible next year with sub 3 hours possible. The Magnus is a perfect bike for this kind of ride. It does everything a bike is expected to do, transmits all your power to the road and goes exactly where you point it letting you focus on the road and not the bike. Accelerations are instant and the performance of the bike just makes you want to ride harder.
Written and raced by Scott.