The new Christmas tradition: Hill Climb 1100

Twas the day after Christmas in the hills of Wulai

Some folks were still sleeping, while the Beasts toed the line.

Our packs and our bottles were filled to the brim

All thanks to our great friends over at Tailwind.

With chips on our wrists and eyes to the sky

We left to run up a mountain that was 1100 meters high.

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Christmas was busy and chaotic, but the gift of this photo makes up for all of it. Pictured here is the start of the Hill Runner 1100 designed and directed by Taiwan Beast Runners, a race that I’m sure all parties will agree is sure to be a new day-after-Christmas classic.

A quick shuttle bus trip (provided by the directors) out of Xindian Station dropped us at a typhoon washed-out river in a popular area of Wulai for hikers at 8:00 a.m.

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We get checked in, have some snacks, warm up and get ready to race up the largest single climb you can find in Taiwan.

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The river we’re standing on at the start is followed for a bit, and (luckily without much rain is crossable by a log. No need to caulk the wagon or ask the Indians to help. Then it is a gradual incline, leading to steeper and steeper climbs to the peak of a 900 meter mountain, followed by one more climb to the peak, 1117 meters up. Twice the height of Taipei 101.

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He looks happy about it.

Once it starts, it’s nothing but unrelenting vert for an hour and a half if your fast, 2-3 hours for mortals. The fog and mist blocked out and view we might have had of the famous surrounding hot spring village. Not that we would have had any time to look at it.

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This is the hill that never ends… yes it goes on and on my friends.

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Volunteer medical staff and photographers, Amber and Frankie, buried halfway up the hill, ready to assist and take your photo.

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At the summit, Petr was waiting, cell phone in hand to check in the runners.

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I arrived 7th, right behind a good friend of mine, and fantastic runner, Sasha. Then it’s a 2k easy run back down from the peak to Bao Qin Temple 保慶宮 for a party, aboriginal-style.

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Kate, always smiling, and the top female finisher and overall badass, Amelia Ortiz.

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At the base, our lovely hosts prepared a feast fit for beasts, complete with beer, wine, chocolates, fried noodles, salads, coffee… The families present really outdid themselves. After an ice bucket challenge with the frosty shower hose, prizes were given out to the top men and women, and the party went on for hours.

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Eva, being a great host and making sure that everyone is well warmed up with Taiwanese wheat wine sangria.

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You can drop food, scratch my head or throw a stick. Either one, please.

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Some of the younger generation getting recruited to help out.

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I got a new knife!

With our bellies now full and our sacks packed with gifts

The shuttle bus offered to give us a lift.

We bounced through the mountains, and back to Taipei

To have a warm shower and get on with our day.

But before we all left, we made one thing quite clear

That we’d all sign up again and be back here next year.

We all went on home, full of running delight,

and said Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

 

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