Routleys complete challenging Taiwan trek 

Will Routley 15th overall, dad Tony sixth in division

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF OPTUM - heading out for one more Will Routley participated in the Taiwan KOM Challenge on Nov. 16.
  • FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF OPTUM
  • heading out for one more Will Routley participated in the Taiwan KOM Challenge on Nov. 16.

The Routleys thought they were in their offseason.

But when the opportunity to take part in the Taiwan KOM Challenge came up, the two local cyclists decided to head over to Asia for the Nov. 16 race.

Will Routley, 31, finished 15th overall and 12th in the elite division with a time of three hours, 56 minutes and 58 seconds, and father Tony, 58, was 85th overall and sixth in the Masters division with a time of 4:51:31.

Organizers of the amateur event tabbed Will as a featured professional rider, and though he was looking ahead to 2015, opted to accept.

"It is an amateur event, but they decided to bring some pros to it in order to gain attention," Will wrote in an email. They have also put up really significant prize money, and instituted a strong anti doping policy which is more strict than the Olympic standard, so they are running it like a pro event."

His status as a professional rider at the event meant some extra media commitments for Will, but as a champion of anti-doping efforts, was open to the extra attention.

The race itself was a challenge for all riders, as rainy conditions and chilly temperatures made the route a treacherous one to complete. After initially opening the 105-km race with 18 km of level riding, cyclists are inclined the rest of the ride, eventually climbing nearly 3.3 km.

"The course is really special, it might be the toughest climb in the world," Will wrote. "I had the trifecta of bonking (hitting the proverbial wall), altitude delirium and hypothermia as it was 4 degrees and a downpour in the clouds at the top. A really tough day for every single person out there."

Will, who lives in Abbotsford, is getting set to return to offseason training before joining his team, Optum Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, for training in California in February. He plans to focus on Union Cycliste Internationale races in North America next season.

Tony, meanwhile, didn't know he was going to compete until about two weeks beforehand.

"I wasn't quite preparing for it, so two weeks out, going to a hill climb like that, yeah, I'm pretty happy," Tony said, adding he'd never competed in a race quite like this one before. "I was definitely getting dizzy up there, I was starting to wonder. I was getting oxygen deprivation, it's freezing cold and soaking wet."

Though the weather didn't co-operate, he was impressed with the road quality, scenery, and event organization.

Tony is also looking ahead to 2015 "this was a good start for the training," he chuckled – and after learning of some new events this weekend, he's considering his options, including a seven-day cycle tour in Mongolia.

"I may do something exotic next year," he said.

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