Friday, November 13, 2009

Life on the ROC

the Republic of China, Taiwan or "backwards land" as I like to call it because as I'm turning in for the night, everyone back in my original time zone is just beginning to start their day. I haven't done a tally as of late totalling the number of trips here but believe it's somewhere in the high teens. Their culture never ceases to disappoint though, they are the most outgoing persons who will make sure that every single one of these visits is enjoyable.

Their work ethic is bordering on obsessive and it shows with the recent success' in building up and modernizing their infrastructure, and the ability to build things like very cool, lightweight carbon fiber bicycle bits, although at a severe cost to the environment. Thankfully there have been many improvements in that arena as well. Perhaps it's their independent nature, while technically they are under the thumb of the nearby behemoth of China, there's a very visible streak of individuality, the language is slightly off from traditional Mandarin, the politics are polar opposite of China and the food is wayyyy better. When China requires that they they fly a "Chinese Taipei" flag at the Olympics instead of their national flag, I think that just adds fuel to their motivation.

Go to Taichung and hurl a rock in any direction and you'll hit a supplier making some widget for a bicycle, it's all here. If it's not here than a Taiwanese based company has opened a plant in China to supply factories building and shipping bikes from the mainland. There's some quality road biking once you leave the urban areas but mountain biking is just about non-existent. That's slowly changing as there are many DH specific gravity trails popping up in the steep,
densely forested hills above Taipei city. Shuttling is accomplished by attaching a tow-rope behind a scooter.....they are resourceful and you can fault them for that.
Cross "racing" plans will be dictated by quality of sleep tonight and road conditions. Hope to see you out there.

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