Some may have read part 1 of my advice for people coming to the Taiwan KOM this year in October – and indeed any year – which you can see here.
One who did is my former coaching client, Robert Pinkowski, who successfully completed the event in 2022. He has added some stuff below from his own personal experience of preparing for the event.
Over to Bob…
Having traveled from America to do the Taiwan KOM Lite in 2022 this advice is spot on and I can add some of my experience.
It took some patience doing this overseas as the KOM website registration could best be described as challenging. I found myself on both a Mandarin and English version of the website somewhat interchangeably, but with some help from Google translate and my Taiwanese wife I accomplished it. I wasn’t really sure I was registered until I got an email from the KOM. Since the website was difficult to navigate I chose to buy my ride down from the finish of the race at registration. The volunteers at KOM registration and at the end of the ride were friendly, helpful and efficient as the Taiwanese are.
When I made the decision to do the event I found Lee through the KOM website which eventually led to joining Training Peaks. I bought the standard KOM training plan, followed it and when done with it, made the decision to hire Lee as my personal trainer. Easy decision since he was obviously more than familiar with the ride and being in my late 50s, knew I would need a more personalized plan to get the best out of this older guy even though I was already in pretty good shape. I trained for a total of 18 months leading up to the race with lots of miles, hills (fortunately having access to N. Georgia that has longer steep climbs) and intervals. Trained longer than expected, but the 2021 event was cancelled so continued on. While we went by the numbers, Lee strongly encouraged learning how to ride by perceived effort as well to get a feel for a strong steady effort to know when to push harder or not. A weekly conversation with workout followups kept me on track and helped me successfully get fit for the race.
Although a rock slide caused the event to be shortened, Bob was in great shape and I had 100% confidence he’d have completed the full KOM with plenty of time to spare… Lee.
R-L: Me, Bob and a guy we just met…
Proved to be one of the best things I did to get the best out of my bike and me. I had prior bike fits done, but leading up to the event things got a bit out of whack and I had another one done just prior to leaving for Taiwan. I had the good fortune to be able to do a few rides with different cyclists I was introduced to once I got there. None of them were really easy so that was good. One of the rides was almost 80 miles from Taichung to Guguan and back. I was comfortable and turned out good steady power the whole time. When it was time to head to Hualien and load up the SUV, my bike didn’t quite fit with the saddle up. Before I could mark its position again to remove it, a family member simply lowered it and called it done. My bad for not marking it permanently beforehand. I did my best to get it sort of back where it was once we were in Haulien, but during the race it was quite uncomfortable and performance suffered. Yes, it’s pretty important to have it right.
I had months to figure out what worked and brought what I needed with me and more as Lee says to do.
Bob made sure he ate right…!
Weather was great the entire time I was in Taiwan so summer gear worked fine. For the ride we knew beforehand that we were only going as far as the Bilu Sacred Tree so didn’t need much in the way of colder weather gear. However, a noticeable temperature drop began around 2000m/6500ft and the proper clothing might have been good to have nearer the top I think. I did bring a light jacket for after the race and used it. I’d been to the top of Wuling Pass on previous trips to Taiwan so knew about the potential for markedly different weather than at sea level. Be prepared.