Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Day before The Race

It was pretty sunny this morning when I brought my new car to the church to have it blessed. Then I was awaken from my mid-morning nap by the sound of rain falling quite heavily on the roof. It has stopped now, and I hope it would stay that way for the whole weekend, especially with tomorrow's mountain bike race in Batangas.

I've ridden the course before but in several parts when I was staying there. Never had I imagined that they will combine it in a race. I'm sure it's going to be tough for those who are competing tomorrow with all those climbing.

I pray the weather would be forgiving tomorrow. I would really shorten the course if I feel the safety of the riders is in jeopardy. Regardless if it was 65 kilometers or 10 kilometers, it's still going to be the first man to reach the finish line anyway.

To those who are going to race tomorrow, I bid you good luck and I hope that you have fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Race Director That Needs Some Direction

This Sunday is the 5th Edition of the EBD Barangay Tour Mountain Bike challenge. Held in Batangas City, the route is 65 kilometers consisting of cemented Barangay and Barrio roads, double tracks and mountain footpaths.

As the race director, I would have to wake up early Sunday morning and drive to Batangas City to be there by 6:00 in the morning.

This is going to be my second time to be a race director. The last time I was director was during my term as president of the Batangas Mountain Bikers. I hope everything turns out OK.

If you're interested in joining the details are in the Batangas Mountain Bikers website.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Ride to Calatagan

We were supposed to start the ride from Quezon City, but King talked me to starting at Sta. Rosa, instead. The additional 30 kilometers wasn't worth the risk going through Metro Manila traffic at five in the morning. Fine then, to Sta. Rosa we go.

So we started the ride at Sta. Rosa at around 7:00 in the morning after unloading the three bikes from the roof rack at Caltex, putting on our gear and applying sunscreen. Powered by a "healthy" breakfast of Pan de Coco, Inipit and Powerade, we started the ride up Tagaytay. There we were, three souls willing to suffer under the heat of the sun riding three different beasts - a single speed road bike, a mountain bike with slick tires, and another mountain bike with full knobbies and a pannier.

I left the Camelbak in the car. I thought I wouldn't need it in the short climb. I have a new Discovery Channel-knockoff waterbottle filled with Powerade anyway. But when Charo said that they'll be waiting for us at the top, I reconsidered and got it back. At least if I get a puncture, I wouldn't have to call them for my tools.

I was riding with arm warmers covers at first to appease my wife, who hates my weird cyclist tanlines, but I just couldn't take it. I had to take them off at the first climb or I wouldn't last the ride. It was too damn hot!

So up to Sta. Rosa we climbed. It was surprisingly easy. I was just spinning all the way. There were only two major inclines - the first one up coming from Sta. Rosa and the one at the PNPA. I had a harder time climbing Antipolo.

King was riding his single speed road bike so he was on a league of his own. At the start of the PNPA climb, he stood on the pedals and just left us without any effort. I was thinking of catching up with him but I don't want to leave Mike behind, who's having a problem with his back. Now I know how a T-Mobile lieutenant feels like when Lance breaks away and Ullrich can't respond the way you want him to.

The climb up Tagaytay was 18 kilometers from Caltex. Charo and Mang Piermo, the driver, was waiting for us at the shoulder. After stopping for a few minutes for some more Pan de Coco and strawberry bread downed with Powerade, we continued riding.

Tagaytay itself is not flat. Going to Batulao, we had to climb several hills. Knowing it's the last one, Mike broke away and attacked the final climb before the downhill to Batulao. I was tempted to chase but I was thinking about conserving my energy. So I rode on King's wheel and let him bridge the gap.

Our next rendesvouz point was at the gasoline station near the fork going to Lemery, the the car wasn't there when we arrived. The driver apparently missed it, according to Charo.

From there it was a long downhill to the Nasugbu junction with a some rolling terrain near the end. It was long that eventually the adrenalin fades and you stop spinning and just coast. My fastest speed was 63.5 kilometers per hour but Mike's was faster at 64.

The car was parked near a waiting shed near the junction. We stopped for a short while to eat, chat and drink before we started the final leg from Nasugbu to Calatagan. After doing a bathroom break at the Shell Station at the corner, the suffering began.

The road from Nasugbu to Lian is flat. And at around 10:30 in the morning, the heat was getting to be more and more intense. We drafted to each other's slipstream, doing our turns at the front.

What killed us was the surprise climb between Lian and Calatagan. It was a short incline and not so steep, but coming from a flat road without expecting this made us shift to our granny gears. The great King, of course, just rode away. Again.

After the downhill and a few kilometers of flat roads, we finally reached Calatagan's Arc. And what better way to celebrate the achievement than a minor cramp on my left calf a kilometer after entering Catalagan.

I soft-pedalled the rest of the five kilometers to Punta Baluarte, where we had lunch and stayed for the night.

The trip totalled 92 kilometers. A pretty good achievement for someone who hasn't ridden long distances for quite some time.

Now I'm thinking of doing a Laguna de Tour - a bike ride going around Laguna de Bay that starts at Antipolo and ends in Muntinlupa.
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