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Tour De Taiwan April 2011

posted 14 Apr 2011, 07:55 by HK Dragons Triathlon Club

Dragons Taiwan Tour 2 – Back in Time.

 

The 2010 tour, by now, should be well known by all and will transcend through time as a tour of epic proportions, until some young film director picks up on it and creates a block buster the size of ‘Gladiator’ based on the brave and heroic events of 12 cyclists from the Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon club.

 

It will break all box office records, and the fans will love it so much, they will be clamoring for more and so, the young director will create a sequel – “Taiwan Tour 2 – Back in Time” – based on the recent 2011 tour where, this time, all were taken back in time. To a time, when they were young, single, fun loving kids supported by their parents and living for one thing only – to “Party’!!!!

 

And so the story begins, with 18 riders in matching tour shirts (and sunglasses) hammering along a coastal highway on a sunny Friday afternoon in April.

The sky is clear, the surf is crashing on the beach next to them, as they are whisked along by a strong sea breeze. Cars toot as they go past, and passengers lean out of the windows to give them a thumbs up and take their photo’s. How special must they have felt.

50Km, and they pull into a palm shaded roadside stop, next to the beach, where their tour organizers team have set up a few tables of fruit and drinks for them, as they take a moment to dof cycle shoes, sit in a chair or on a log and take in the scenery before them.

 

With the sun leaning toward the horizon and 60km still to ride, the Dragons head off, hammering it again as the tail wind encourages them to ride faster and faster. But, unbeknown, disaster awaits, as the group gets stretched out more and more as the miles go by. When they finally arrive at the once grand hotel in Kenting, on Taiwan’s most southerly tip, the sun is just starting to set as the 17th rider arrives. Others have already showered and are slipping their first well earned beer in the hotel bar, when rumour starts to circulate…. a rider is missing!!!!

 

Anxious faces start looking around for who it is, but some are still in their rooms getting showered – who has not made it? Worse, what has happened to them. Anxious looks darken as people fear the worst, a road accident of a loan rider in a strange country??? After what seemed an age, Cam (the tour organizer) has finally received a text message on his phone. He approaches the silenced group. The lost rider is alive and well. Relief all round. But who is it, where are they ?? It transpires that Tequila Tony (aka Anthony Nafte) took a wrong turn, having lost the main ride pack. Looking at his odometer, he continued for another 35km expecting to see the welcoming lights of the Hotel. Instead, he ends up under the flickering light of a semi-deserted petrol station on the far side of the island, surrounded by stray dogs. But he is well, he has been offered a free beer by a sympathetic petrol attendant and he has his i-tunes, so life is OK.

Unfortunately, it’s a several hours round trip for Cam’s team to go and pick Tequila Tony up in the van. The common consensus is, Tony is fine, time for everyone to head out for dinner.

 

And what an unbelievable sight unfolds before them as they walk out onto the street – stools line both sides of the road, selling beer, food, tattoos, beads, or playing thumping music. The police have made the road one way, and thousands, literally thousands, of students kids are strolling up and down, in and out of the bars mingling and re-mingling and getting drunker and drunker. What the hell is happening !!!

 

Unbeknown to the group, they have walked into the middle of the annual Spring break (aka – Spring Scream!!!!) and what a Scream it was. It could have been Glastonbury (for those of you familiar with the famous rock concert in the west country of England). It took and age to shuffled and nudge their way to the fantastic little Thai restaurant a few hundred meters down the road. But the many beers consumed over dinner just enhanced the tiredness of the first day, and despite initial hype of the group hanging out in a club till the wee hours, everyone was asleep by midnight…..just as the door of a hotel room opened and Tequila Tony walked in from his mammoth wrong turn.

 

With mildly heavy heads, breakfast was had in the hotel and everyone was saddled up by 08:30am with strict instructions from Drilly, that the ride was a ‘Tour’ and not a ‘Race’ and the group was lucky that Tequila Tony had taken events in his stride – thank god for the South African attitude. So, the first 30km went by in a snip as all 18 of the group rode in a fast moving pelaton through the lower foothills and fields of the beautiful Kenting national Park. After a brief ‘refresher’ stop, there were clear instructions to the lunch point and it was an open road and a free for all chase, for the first one to get to the East coasts beach for lunch. And what truly unbelievable views the east side coastline offers. Wide, barren, natural – as the cliffs drop raggedly down to large beaches and crashing surf once again.

Lunch lasted longer than expected as the group happily sat in the sun chatting, but it was still 50km back to the Hotel and everyone wanted to make the most of the hotels 50m pool and get out for an early dinner, so that they could venture into some of the bars they had seen the previous night.

 

Suffice to say, after a few laps in the chilly pool and a quick shower, everyone rendezvoused at the Bar on the beach and wow – how mad was the sight before them.

Bodies lay strewn everywhere in the sand, empty beer bottles lay scattered about, a few small beach fires burning, and a vacant DJ stand stood afore the bar that the group now headed towards.

 

A few cheeky pre-dinner beers and it was decided that after dinner everyone would head back to the beach bar and see what was happening.

The street was as mad and crowded as it was the previous night, with the addition of the police escorting a stream of Lambo’s, Ferrari’s, Porsches and Merc’s doing “burn-outs” to the cheers of the masses. Dinner was literally hoovered down, although much appreciated. Cam again did a great job on restaurant and food selection.

And so, like a group of excited kids, the Dragons exited the restaurant, and walked wide-eyed and starring, back down an even busier street, with great tunes being blared out from every bar passed. But there was only one destination on everyone’s mind – and that was the beach bar – and it didn’t disappoint. The sand was hardly visible as thousands of semi naked sweating bodies gyrated and grooved to the classic club anthems being played by the now present DJ.

 

18 Dragons stood in the beach bar, which was elevated on the rocks above the beach, mesmerized by the scene before them, with grins slowly spreading across their faces as each was taken back in time, to their own days of partying on holiday, or in university, clubs or anywhere.

The beers came and went, Jeigermeiser shots followed and so did the vodka redbulls all washed down with more beer as everyone started to dance, hold their hands above their heads and get lost in the music and craziness of partying like a 20 year-old again. In fact, so lost were some, that they appeared as a face amongst the thousands on the beach, before reappearing back at the bar with massive grins on their faces.  The night drifted on….

 

It was a quiet breakfast at 08:00 the following morning!

It was a slow start to the days 80km ride.

I wonder why?

 

But the final day of the tour was just as magnificent, with fantastic fast rolling roads, great scenery and as the cobwebs were blown away and High-5 replenished everyone’s dehydration, the banter returned, the pace picked up and before they knew it, they were off speeding along again like demons, chopping and changing as everyone wanted to be the leader of the pack.

 

So it was, with a wistful thought over their shoulders, as bikes were packed and the reality that a normal grown-ups life awaited them, the Dragons boarded their plane to return to Hong Kong. But I dare say, should such a tour be organized once again during Taiwan’s spring Scream – I’m sure there will be many eager faces – and the Dragons will return in even greater numbers. And why…..well, ‘That’s how we roll’.

 

Until next time.

Drilly, Out.

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