It’s been a minute since I’ve updated this blog. Sorry about that, but, you know, busy and other things, and life and COVID and all that. But from now on I will be back on it, and I’m starting with a new little series focusing on specific locations from which you can experience some really great riding. And first up is Danyang in North Chungcheong Province.
Danyang is a sleepy little resort town that has great appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, and as a cycling destination it is outstanding. Some excellent climbing can be found nearby, as can many rolling hills. And in every direction is beautiful natural scenery.
For a beautiful, rolling course that is surprisingly brutal, head west to Cheongpungho (Cheongpung Lake). The course (here) is 115km and offers some of the most beautiful roads you could ask for. The start of the route includes a few climbs, one of which is Gwagaeijae, a category 3 climb that offers some nice views at the top. From there it heads into the lakes region which is beautiful every time of year and is one of my favorite places to ride in all of Korea. The biggest challenge of the day is Gapogogae, which is a brutal climb that starts out super steep, descends a bit, and then heads up at increasingly steep gradients with a really tough finish. Heading back to Danyang from this point includes a couple more short climbs, including the final climb of the day, the excellent Gosujae. It’s a short, steady climb that overlooks a gorgeous valley into which paragliders glide and land. This course isn’t for beginners. It’s really tough. But it’s beautiful and heaps of fun. Video below.
Another recommended course in the Danyang area heads south and includes some fairly significant climbing. The course (here) is about 105km and includes nearly 1,900 meters of elevation gain. The course starts out through Woraksan National Park, heading up Beoljae, a 2.7km long climb with a steep finish that comes after a 10km long drag uphill to the start of the climb. From there the course makes its way south before looping back north over the Category 2 Jeosuryeong, a long climb with a steep finish that heads up through some beautiful, lush forests. See video below.
In addition to these two courses, here is a third course that starts not far from Danyang and includes one of the top 10 climbs in all of Korea, Jungnyeong. This course includes the ride through Woraksan National Park and over Beoljae, just as the previously mentioned course does. But this course, instead of heading back via Jeosuryeong, continues further east and comes back via Jungnyeong. Danyang is also within riding distance of Yeongwol where you can do the famous Byeongmaro Obersvatory climb.
Basically, Danyang is like a cycling heaven for those who enjoy hard rides with lots of elevation gain and beautiful natural scenery. Whichever direction you decide to go, you’ll be greeted with mostly empty roads and the excellent sights of the Korean countryside. So follow the routes provided above or make your own. But at some point, find a few days to spend in Danyang and do some of the best riding you’ll ever do in your life.