The Taiwan KOM ‘King of Mountain’ challenge first started in 2012 and is dubbed the world’s top 10 toughest cycling courses. I was super excited about this, like I wrote in this post months ago.

The day finally came for me to pack my bags for Taiwan and I was stoked!

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Read my post on travelling light if you want to know how I pack for necessities.

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Arriving in Taipei, we had to put up a night’s stay at this inn before our morning train to Hualien for the race. Located on the east coast of Taiwan, Hualien’s mountainous landscapes make it a popular attraction and we were headed for those!

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Checking we have all we need for the next day. The kind of excitement before a big ride is the kind that keeps you up at night!
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Breakfast stop before our train to Hualien. Taiwanese people are extremely friendly and very hospitable. Service is excellent, even at simple shops like this one.

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The route begins from sea leve 0-metres from Qixingtan, Hualien, then enters into the Taroko Gorge. From the gorge, riders emerge to scale a height of 3275 metres before reaching the Wuling Pass.

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For this race, I was sponsored a new jersey by Endurace‘s Mr. Cheah Seng Ho and attached is my race bib for Men’s Category aged 30-39. I was #66. Good sign? Haha.

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With my sponsor and good friend Choong Siew Ken of #CRCBOX.ORG at the starting point. That morning, he ran 7.5km to accompany us. This guy always has my back! Thank you for unrelenting support.

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There was a total of nearly 400 participants at Taiwan KOM. To my knowledge, only three Malaysians took part. Aside from me, the other two are Tan Chai Her (above) and Ng Kim Ngee. A while after taking this selfie, we took off on the winding road up to Wuling Pass.

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The journey up was not easy at all. Despite my training efforts, I struggled. We’re talking about rising 3275 metres above sea level here!

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At the same time, the view was amazing. Whenever I was tempted to stop pedaling, this was what kept me going. I had to reach the top!

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And sure enough, I did! Team CRCBOX.ORG at the top of Wuling Pass, the finishing point for Taiwan KOM 2016. Of the near 400 participants, only 318 riders finished the race within the cut-off time of seven hours. I ranked 214.

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Thankfully, the weather was on our side. Got to the top to see this spectacular view of Hualien’s beautiful mountaintop.

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Standing here after completing this race that has always been a dream of mine, reminded me of China’s mountains. On KL to London, I got to see many. And it always seemed like no matter how many I got to see, there was always another that was more beautiful and higher up. That’s why I’ll keep challenging these heights. There is always a higher mountain to climb, a tougher race to run. Great experience!

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Oscar Pujol, the Spanish pro-rider placed first in the Elite category under 3 hours and 29 minutes. Here, I’m holding up the finishing trophy for 1st to 6th place. I didn’t manage to take one home this time and I don’t know whether I’ll get one anytime soon, so for picture purpose.. haha.

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These are what I took home: finishing certificate and a medal.

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