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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Safety Bike

So what do you do when you're a cyclist and you have a vision, a loose screw, lots of adrenaline and a know-how on welding? You build the safety bike, of course!

Check out these boys in the video. At first you'll say they're absolutely nuts but a few minutes of watching would somehow make you think if you want to try out their contraption.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Last Ride of the Year

We're organizing an informal mountain bike ride on the 31st of December 2007. We're calling it The Last Ride of the Year and it's going to be in Maarat in San Mateo, Rizal. It's gonna be a great pasyal pace so it's perfect for beginners and for roadies who'd like to try out mountain biking. This is not only for PCN peeps but for members of other forums and egroups as well so spread the word. Below are the details:

The Last Ride of the Year
Meeting at the Timberland Gate, Maarat, San Mateo Rizal
8:00 a.m.
Please bring your bikes, helmet, water, trail food, bike repair tools and ID (the guards will ask for them).

See you all!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cleaning Your Ride: How to wash your bike

It's so tempting to bring your bike to the bike shop for a P100 bike wash. But before you do that, you have to at least experience it first.

I've been looking for my step-by-step guide on cleaning and washing bikes and surprisingly I don't have it here. And so I'm reposting what I wrote in the Philippine Cycling Network:


After a trail ride, here's the step-by-step process on how I clean my bike:

1. Prepare all cleaning materials. These are the garden hose, bucket, liquid detergent, sponge, brush, Kanebo Chamois and rags.

2. Remove the cyclocomputer and the Lizard Skins chain protector.

3. "Wet" your bike using the hose. Do not use a high-pressure; just a steady stream.

4. Mix two tablespoonful of liquid detergent to 3/4 bucket of water.

5. Wash your bike using the soapy water and sponge. Start from the handlebars then to the saddle, seatpost, frame, brakes and fork.

6. Rinse off the soap from your bike using the hose.

7. Turn your bike upside down and then wash the front wheel (hubs, spokes, rims). Use the brush to wash your tires. When finished, rinse it off with water.

8. Wash your rear wheel similar to how you washed your front wheel. Wash your drive train using the brush. Work on the chainrings, pedals, chain, cogs and derailleurs. You may use old toothbrushes to clean the hard-to-reach places.

9. Rinse everything off with water.

10. Turn your bike rightside up then give it some "general soaping".

11. Rinse off and then dry using the Kanebo chamois.

12. Lubricate the chain then wait to it settles. Using the rag, wipe off excess lube.

13. Optional: Wax frame and apply tire black. No Vacuum required.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Poll Mania

My blog has a poll! My blog has a poll!

Been toying around with Blogger's templates when I saw that they're now giving users a poll module to add to their blogs. Coolness! Without further ado, I added it and filled up the forms.

I'm starting with a pretty simple question - What type of rear derailleurs do you prefer? The choices are as follows:
Traditional
Rapid Rise
No preference
I don't use them
What the heck are derailleurs

Vote now and let's find out the real score.

For the Multiply users, join the poll! Check out Bisikleta on Blogspot by clicking here.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bisikleta ang kailangan

ABS-CBN News reports that my preferred gas company has jacked up the gas prices by 50 centavos this morning. That means my usual Unleaded fuel is now about P44.47 even if the Peso-Dollar exchange rate is reaching the P41:$1 mark. Definitely not a good sign. I'm seeing protests from transportation groups asking for an increase in fares. When that happens, everything else follows.

With these things happening, all the more we should start looking for alternate means of transportation, and nothing is as efficient and as simple as a bicycle.

Check out the new Trek Lime, part of Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2007, and you'll see that bike companies are finally getting it. Slowly they're realizing that it's not the hydraulic disc brakes nor the whopping 27-speed spread that make the common tao ride but it's the sheer joy of being free, riding with the wind on their faces without thinking about the gizmos and contraptions that are making it happen.

Now if companies you work for would give good incentives to employees who bike to work, that would make things pretty interesting - things like shower and locker facilities along with a safe, guarded areas to leave your bike.

With enough power, maybe this would force the government to assign bike lanes and paths to bike commuters and start protecting them. Maybe.

But think about it - cleaner air, better health AND bigger savings on gas.

The manongs and construction workers who commute daily on their bikes got this right. Maybe it's time we join them on the road.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Victory for Cyclists



Got this link from Ricky Ledesma of PCN. In this Judge Judy episode, a cyclist gets into an accident because of a stray dog. Watch it and tell me just how much you wish things like these happen in the Philippines.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Whole Shebang

If you're going biking wearing an original Discovery Channel yellow jersey with matching team kit, socks, Giro Atmos helmet, Pro M-Frame Oakleys and Nike Lance 10/2 cycling shoes on a Trek Madone, for the love of God, you better have the legs for it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

After the Upgrade

After the last big purchase, which slapped the 2007 Shimano XTR gruppo to my ride, I realize that there's almost nothing left to upgrade in my ride.

Early this year I bought a light, second-hand KHS Alite Team frame from Mach. A few weeks later, it was a second-hand Rock Shox Reba SL from Ed Lee. Mid-year, I finally got my dream wheels when JM sold his Chris King/DT Revolution/Mavic 819 set for a steal. I also out-texted the other interested parties and got myself a Chris King headset. Then finally it's the gruppo.

Looking at my ride, I can't think of anything else. So now we move to the one with the biggest impact and the hardest to attain - we upgrade the rider.

God help us all.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

If not Mercury

Mercury

My wife said that Mercury is such a lame name for a bike, and after thinking about it, I agree with her. So if it's not Mercury, what should I name her? Got any suggestions? FYI, my old bike's name was Cheez Whiz.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Forgot!

I wasn't able to pick up the bike and now it's been in All Terra for more than a week now. And yes, I wasn't able to do some riding this weekend because of that.

So this is one of downsides I didn't realize in having your bike washed in the shop - you've got to allot some time to pick it up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Bike Wash

Usually I would be the one doing this. I even went out of my way and bought my dishwashing liquid, a brush and a couple of sponges. I even did a trial and cleaned out my old parts for selling. But what made me bring the bike to All Terra Bike Shop in Libis last Saturday to have it cleaned is something I've yet to figure out.

Don't get me wrong. All Terra's bike wash is really good. It may take some time but it's worth it. After they're through with your ride, it would be so clean that riding it on the trails would be blasphemy.

Maybe it's the tamad factor. Taking out all the mud and muck will take more time than the usual routine - something I couldn't afford as I had to go work that afternoon. Maybe, at that moment, just having it squeaky clean far outweighs the ecstasy of your hands sliding on the frame with a soapy sponge in tow.

I guess I would never know.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Helping Hands

Helping hands

The photo is courtesy of PCN member floorbamboo. I saw it this morning when I was browsing through the PCN Flickr Group. I was so inspired by the image that I just had to feature it in the egroup's homepage.

It's a great eye-opener. Just one look and it made everything seem so clear - that in cycling, it doesn't matter if you're riding on a Big Cat or a Santa Cruz. What really matters is the rider and not the bike.

Here's Flor's story:

Hi Jovan!

Thanks for featuring this photo. I'll do more than tell you where it happened.
Magkukwento na rin ako.

Ang foto na ito ay kuha noong 24 Sept 2007 sa Montalban (Rodriguez), papunta pa lang kami sa Puray Falls via San Isidro.

Isa ito sa mga river crossings sa San Isidro going to Mascap, na lumaki na dahil sa ilang araw na pag-ulan. Inakala naming kaya naming tawirin ang parteng ito ng ilog dahil pinanood pa namin ang mga residente na tumawid. Kaya lang pagdating sa 3/4th ng pagtawid sa ilog, sa bahaging pinakamalalim (waist-deep), napakalakas na ng agos. Ang ilan sa amin eh hindi na kayang humakbang, dahil ang pakiramdam eh matutumba na kapag tinangka pang humakbang. Yung malalakas sa amin ang nagmamadaling umuna na sa pagtawid, ibinalibag ang kanilang bike sa kabilang pampang ng ilog, at binalikan ang mga tumirik na sa pagtawid. In turn, yung mga naunang naitawid ay tumulong na rin sa pagtawid sa mga nahuhuli pa. As you see captured on the photo.

Kaya makikita sa larawan yung dalawang pinakahuli sa amin ay tinutulungan na ng halos lahat. Walang nag-iwanan. Walang nagpabaya. Lahat tumulong sa abot ng makakaya.

And it instantly developed friendships din. Siguro dahil nagkasama hindi lang sa panahon ng saya (pagpadyak), kundi nagkatulungan din sa panahon ng pangangailangan. Kasi, dalawang grupo ang nagsama sa ride na ito, mga first time nag-meet - ang OnDaBag group at ang ilang members ng Montalban Cycling Club.

I am very proud of this photo, although I am more proud sa ipinakitang tulungan ng mga kapwa siklista sa panahon ng pangangailangan.

Flor

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Find in Cristy's Bike Shop

Now Cristy's Bike Shop isn't exactly what I would categorize as one of the next generation bike shops. Although they stocked all their bling parts and frames into a room inside the shop and made it a bit more presentable, the old school shop flavor is still there.

Nouveau rich bikers would go straight to this area, and I don't blame them. What knowledgeable cyclist can resist the line of Scott frames hanging from the ceiling along with the latest Shimano XTR parts behind the glass cases?

But to truly appreciate Cristy's Bike Shop, you have to take a look at the showcases outside closely. Just a few weeks ago I was able to find a Shimano XTR "traditional" rear derailleur when the rest of Cartimar is stocked with Rapid Rise. I also discovered that she's still selling a pair of Shimano XTR V-Brake levers! I thought I'd only be seeing them in the second-hand market and there they are inside her glass case!

Aside from the showcases, check out the second-hand bikes on display. If you spot a bike part there that you like, there are instances when you can have them take it out from the bike and buy it. Omel got his pair of classic Chris King hubs that way.

Now I have to admit that Cristy's one of the character bike shop owners. She may seem suplada (and she can be) but if you do get her kiliti, Cristy can be a biker's best friend.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bike Fitting: The Initial Findings

I was finally able to ride my bike using the measurements from my bike fitting session a few weeks back.

The ride was nothing epic. It's just a short spin from our house down to Tumana in Marikina to drop off my worn out Oakley Racing Jacket in Joven and back to Katipunan via Marcos Highway - roughly 10 kilometers of spinning.

The feel was a bit weird for the first few kilometers. With the saddle moved forward, I had to train myself to sit on the correct padded area. (As Toots noticed, I was seated near the nose in my previous set-up.) The adjustment in terms of saddle height was very minute from my old version so I didn't notice anything there. Now that I'm a bit forward, what needs to be addressed soon is the length of my stem. From 90mm, I need to swap it with a 110mm.

In the few kilometers that I tried it, I noticed that spinning was a bit more comfortable and there seems to be a more efficient power transfer to the pedals with the more forward saddle position. Of course these are only the initial findings. I'm curious how it will be on the trails and long epic rides.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rain, Rain

Rain, Rain Go Away
Come Again Another Day


Yes, the ride didn't push through. Everyone was all set and excited but at six o' clock this morning we had to call it off. Unlike yesterday's sunny morning, it was dark and drizzling today. Apparently there's a typhoon and it's signal number one in Manila.

Oh well. I guess our muddy adventures with the roadies will have to be moved to another date.

If you're interested in joining, leave a message in the comment box below.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mountain Biking for Roadies

It seems odd that a good number of roadies are a bit hesitant to try out mountain biking. Talking to Toots a week ago, he said that they're scared of the technical sections of the trail. According to him, road biking doesn't require that much bike handling skills compared to mountain biking.

As part of our demystification process, we're doing a Mountain Biking for Roadies trail ride tomorrow morning at Licao Licao. The place is perfect for them to try out their off-road steeds that are gathering dust in their garages - lots of singletrack without technical climbs and descents. They can familiarize themselves to their suspension and gears.

I just hope the weather cooperates. It's been raining everyday the whole week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

If you're interested in joining, meeting place is at the Shell Station next to Ever in Commonwealth Avenue at 7:00 a.m. We then drive to the trailhead and gear up there.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now it fits

I've been toying with the idea of booking a bike fitting session since they started the service more than a year ago but it just didn't materialize. It's in the realm of those Oh! I 'll definitely do that! kind of stuff that you forget after a while or just plain too lazy to do. Well, after all the fuzz, I'm proud to say that I finally did it.

Thursday last week at 3:00 p.m., I was in Joven Bike Shop with my bag of required gear - spandex cycling shorts, sleeveless shirt, socks, cycling shoes and slippers. I also brought my bike so I could make immediate adjustments.

After changing to the required attire, Toots made me stand on his bike measuring tool that looks like an old-school weighing scale. First, he made me stand up straight with my feet following the guide and measured my height and inseam. He also put a small mark on the upper center part of my chest. I don't know exactly what that was for. After he wrote the measurements down on his form, he asked me to go down the measuring device and spread my arms. He then put a mark on the edge of my shoulder at the tip of the shoulder bone. When this was through, he made me go back to the measuring device. Instead of facing forward like the first time, he asked me to face the left side and hold the bar with my hand. When everything was through, he went to his PC to input the data.

Now the exciting part of the bike fitting session begins. Toots came back from his PC and did some adjustments on the mock bike. After a few adjustments here and there, he made me ride it for three minutes to validate the recommended fit. Whee! Hehehehe! Then his assistant asked me to change to my "normal" clothes as Toots printed the results.

When he came back, he gave me three printed recommended bike measurements for a mountain, road and time trial bike and explained the steps in reaching the optimal fit. As he does that, we shift from paper to my bike and do some adjustments.

It was about two to three hours total and I had fun the whole time.

If you're unsure of your bike fit, consider booking a bike fitting session. It's held at Joven Bike Shop every Thursday and costs only P1,000. That's cheap considering it takes out the guess work in figuring out the correct stem and seatpost length for your rig. It's by appointment only (no walk-ins) amd the time slots are 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Joven Bike Shop is located at 78 Amang Rodriguez Avenue, Santolan, Pasig. For more information and for booking, call (02) 645-6029 or (02) 645-0637.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Maarat Mudfest

It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I just texted the Globe boys yesterday to see if they're interested in doing a short Maarat ride and Mike T took the bait. "Game" was what he replied back.

We met this morning at around seven for a fun spin to "Giant". The mud was thick that we had to take a reverse chapel-nursery detour because an L300 got stuck and was blocking the road.

The ride was cool and it was fun getting all muddy. After some snacks we biked back to the parking area.

It was in today's ride that I really noticed the performance of the Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals. In my old Shimanos clipless pedals, it becomes difficult to engage and disengage once they're caked up with mud. It's a total revelation with the Eggbeaters. It doesn't matter if you can't find the cleats anymore. You clip in and it's there in a snap. Twist your ankle outwards and you're out. It was amazing. It really built up my confidence.

With all the mud building up in my IRC tires, I wasn't afraid of losing any braking power. Before, with my V-Brakes, it would be my concern. I would have a small stick stashed in my jersey pocket and stop and now and then to remove the build up of mud in the brakes and clean the rims. It's not the case anymore with the Avid Mechanical BB7's. I was cutting through puddles this morning without worrying about the getting ourt of control. For an upgrade, this definitely gets my seal of approval.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Village Biking

It's like starting all over again. I've already logged only a few crank revolutions as I leave the driveway of my house and I know it's not the same as before.

I was planning to do a few laps around UP but decided not to when I was about to exit Marymount. I turned right instead and discovered a nice, quiet place to start training and build up my form all over again. I'm talking of La Vista.

The roads were immaculately paved and the short three-kilometer course was not flat at all. Cars were rare, and most importantly, no unleashed dogs. Actually, this could be a great roadie circuit if not for the bunny-hop-to-the-sidewalk section that I do near the Grand Villas gate.

I only did a couple spins before it started to drizzle. I would've continued a few more laps if the iPod was in a waterproof case. (Yeah, right.)

Anyway, I'm sure this won't be the last time. At least now I have another alternative to the usual Ateneo or UP loops.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tour Talk

So the Tour de France is finally over with a 24-year-old Spaniard taking the top spot in the Champs-Elysee. It was a very tumultuous tour which saw Astana and Cofidis pull out from the Tour because of positive doping tests from one of their rider and withdrawal and firing of then-race leader Michael Rasmussen.

I am surprised at myself. I would think that I'd be disgusted by all the scandals that happened but I'm not. I'm actually quite calm and happy of the outcome. I guess it's because I know that the anti-doping measures are starting to work. It may not be 100% clean and I'm sure there are some riders out there still cheating, but it's getting there.

Some ramblings for this year's Tour:

1. After pulling out Rasmussen from the Tour and firing him, I'm glad that Eric Dekker and most of the Rabobank boys chose to still ride and finish the Tour de France. It was a very hard step for them to do after what happened, and I applaud them for this.

2. I didn't even think that he had it in him to finish in the podium until I saw his performance at the Stage 19 time trial. Now Levi Leipheimer has my respect. Moving forward, I think we need to see more aggression from him if he wants to see move up in the general classification.

3. Kloden is thinking of retiring, and quite frankly, I think that he should. He's always at the wrong team at the wrong time anyway.

4. David Millar's mechanical problem in the Stage 19 Time Trial will be a blow to his wheel sponsor. I just don't know how significant it will be.

5. The sport of cycling isn't exactly at its high point with all the doping scandals. With a number of teams looking for sponsorship next year, I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them disintegrating and their riders moving to other teams. If Discovery finds another sponsor in time (they said they're already finalizing it), expect Bruyneel to be getting more riders for Contador's defense next year.

6. Rumors are going around regarding big George Hincapie. They say that (a) he's leaving Discovery for T-Mobile, (b) he's transferring to Jonathan Vaughter's Team Slipstream, or (c) he's retiring. Whatever it may be, I just hope he gets another shot at the Paris-Roubaix before he even thinks of riding into the sunset.

7. Giro is not taking full advantage of the exposure of their new eyewear line with Contador. Seeing him in his new yellow Giro shades, potential customers would log in to the Giro website only to discover nothing.

8. I don't know if I admire Cadel Evans or not for what he did on the last day. On one hand, he respected the tradition and didn't attack. On the other, the few seconds difference between being on top and being number two would forever haunt him. Nonetheless, he has my admiration for finishing a strong second place in this year's Tour.

What do you think? Leave a message in my comments link below.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Tour, Another Scandal.

Tour de France 2007: Vinokourov tests positive; Astana withdraws from Tour

Just when you thought that they'd all be making a move to clean up after last year's Operacion Puerto and Floyd Landis scandals, Alexandre Vinokourov tests positive and pulls down with him his team, the Tour de France and the sport of cycling.

It's just so disappointing that an exciting Tour is now marred with doping scandals. First, it's with Rasmussen not informing the UCI and his country's anti-doping body of his whereabouts for the required anti-doping tests, and now this.

If there's a silver lining to this dark cloud, then it has to be that now cheaters are getting caught. It doesn't do well in the image of the sport for now but it would help it in the long run.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tour de France Finally!

I've long been a Tour de France fan. Well, probably not as early as the time of Lemond but I do remember watching some stages in the 1996 Tour.

In the reign of Lance Armstrong, I stayed up late to watch the French coverage on TV5 on SkyCable. It starts at 12 midnight or 12:30 in the morning so I would still be groggy the following day. Nonetheless, it was worth it.

Since last year though, TV5 isn't showing the Tour de France anymore. Being big fans, this was no obstacle to us. The wife and I would settle on the web updates from CyclingNews.com, VeloNews.com and Eurosport.

This was our modus operandi for this year until one member from the Philippine Cycling Network told us about this cool software that lets you watch Versus on your PC over the internet for free. I tell you, this is such a blessing. With this, never will I settle watching ESPN's lousy 30-minute highlight show.

If you're interested, download the TVU Player here. Once you installed it on your PC (Sorry, it's not available for Macs), scroll through the channels list. Versus is at the bottom part.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ugh! Dealing with the Government!

I don't want to flex my muscles but for this case I have to. To be fair, I did try to get in touch with the person in charge but somehow I feel like he was trying to avoid me and so I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I texted my cousin asking him if he could point me to the right person to bug. Told him that I don't want to raise this matter to my tito but the name of the city is at stake Being a good-natured person, he was the one who followed it up with the head. Lo and behold, I got my answer right away - they'll be sending the checks through courier hopefully by the end of the day.

Of course, most of you who are reading this know what I'm talking about - these are the cash prizes for the 6th EBD Barangay Tour Mountain Bike XC Marathon. Most of the winners understood how strict the Commission On Audit can be, but it was the head who committed to sending out the checks at the end of the week. Well, the week has passed and I've heard of no one getting their prizes. All I'm saying is he should live up to his word.

Now let's see if we start getting the prizes tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's over. See you again next year.

Me and my MegaphoneIt has been a few days since the 6th EBD Barangay Tour Mountain Bike XC Marathon and I still have to get it out of my system. Admittedly I've been surfing the forums and e-groups fishing asking those who joined for their feedback of the race. And from what I've been hearing and reading, it was a success! Of course I know that next time we really have to beef up on the directional arrows some more and add even more marshals, but generally the race rocked!

A Lone Rider on the Riverbed TrailIn the briefing I told them to get ready to suffer, and suffer they did. What's so cool is they all loved it! They've been talking about how the tackled the grueling 63-kilometer mountainous race course for days - from Dandan's record-breaking finish of only three hours and fifteen minutes to bonked racers eating leaves along the way to participants who refused to ride the sweeper back to the City for the awarding ceremonies in order to be called a finisher. The race was a story full of triumph, drama and comedy on man's will to overcome the odds.

All Terra's King BeeAnd it didn't just stay online. It spread like wildfire in the bike shops as well. I dropped by All Terra tonight to wait for my wife and Bruce and Dandan were talking about it. Even Edmund's wife, Salve, told me that it really put Batangas on the map. Wow!

Hearing all this really gives me goosebumps. I was so happy that I collected the messages and shared it in the BMB e-group. They were all so happy that they kept reading and re-reading the messages. It didn't stop there. I even got inspired to revamp the BMB website. (Check it out at www.bmb.org.ph and let me know what you think.)

I don't know if I'll still be appointed as race director again next year, but I sure hope I can still help out and make this an even bigger event. These guys need better planning and more coordination with more City Government departments, especially the City Tourism Council. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

For my pictures of the race, click here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

One Day to Go!

I woke up early today, hours before the alarm clock rings. I guess I'm totally excited for the big day tomorrow that I can't wait to see if everything is really ironed out as they said.

This racing director gig reminds me too much of being a stage manager back in my college theater years. You really have to think of everything, including scenarios that might just pop out of nowhere, and be ready for it. It's like being praning with everything but keeping your cool at the same time.

So I'll be leaving today at 7:45 in the morning. I'll pick up King in his house near Commonwealth and then Dandan again at the corner of Batasan and J. P. Rizal. Hope we can make it to Batangas City early so we can check in the hotel, have big, fat pancit at MGM for lunch, do the final briefing with everybody and then drive to Pulot Aplaya to check things out.

I gave them the feedback from last year's race when we met the last time so we can address it. Hopefully now they placed tons of directional arrows and more marshals and guides on the route.

This year we're placing a cut-off time at Pulot Aplaya and an official SAG jeep or truck for those who can't ride any further. The cut-off time is 2:30 p.m. For their safety, those who arrive beyond that time won't be allowed to climb to Pulot Itaas as they might not make it back to the city before it gets dark.

I pray everything goes according to plan.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

EBD Barangay Tour Fever

The EBD Barangay Tour is reaching fever pitch with only a week to go before the mountain bike marathon. The online forums are all abuzz and the metro bike shops' customers are asking about it.

For my part, I posted all the information that I have about the event on the BMB website and sort of turned it into the central event information center. The maps are there (both from MotionBased and Google Maps) along with my story about the course, route pictures, places to stay in Batangas City and links to the online discussion boards and eGroups.

Aside from that, King and I went around the different bike shops to post my makeshift event poster, thanks to my bootleg PageMaker and photocopy technology. From my place in Katipunan we biked to the two John Wilkie's, Joven, All Terra, Bike King, Powerbikes, Dan's, Sabak, Elixir, Paulina's, Velo City, Ross, Cristy's, Cycle Options and Extreme - in that order. We started at 10:30 in the morning and ended with a McDonald's milkshake at Quezon Avenue at around 6:30 in the evening before we headed back home. That was more than 70 kilometers of biking.

The ride was long and so polluted that I'm not feeling 100% at all. I was supposed to go to Batangas City this weekend to do the briefing and check up on the tasks at hand, but I'm not feeling well. I guess I have to do this over the phone with Oca and Atty. Percy.

To those people who are joining the race, see you on the 24th. And please don't hesitate to approach me and say hi.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Hardest One-Day Ride I Ever Did

I can't be the race director and not know what sort of suffering the racers will face in the upcoming EBD Barangay Tour. Last year was a last minute thing - everything was assembled. The only thing I had to do was show up and do some PR work. This year I want to be more hands-on. So with King, Dandan, Bruce, Tolits and Wreachelle, we rode the whole 65-kilometer course last Saturday.

I woke up at 4:00 in the morning. After some final packing, I left the house to pick up King and Dandan. There were two things I borrowed for this trip: my brother-in-law's extra fork-mounted bike rack for the extra bike and Victor's GPS unit to track the course.

I was in King's house at 4:30 a.m. but Dandan wasn't in the Shell Ever Commonwealth meeting point yet. We're running late and to make up some time, we went down Batasan and waited for him at the corner of J. P. Rizal. It was already 5:00 and the sun's starting to come up so we hurried to Petron in the South Super Expressway to meet up with Tolits and company. After a very quick McDonald's breakfast (I think I finished it in less than two minutes), we had the usual bathroom break and drove to Batangas City.

I think it was around 8:15 in the morning when we arrived at Oca's Shop. We parked in front and got ourselves ready while I got on the phone with Oca and asked him for our guide. After a few minutes, a cyclist clad in full BMB pink kit arrived - it's Totoy Bibo.

We left the shop about 15 minutes before 9:00. We stopped at the SM City Batangas Overpass to set our cyclocomputer and started our adventure.

The first part took us to the lowland barrios and barangays. If last year started on the highway to Lobo near Hotel Pontefino, this time we used the inner barangay roads. I forgot the names of these settlements. Before when I was still here I used to know these by heart. Now, I just called it the barangay roads left of the highway.

So these were mostly rolling on cemented roads. I think it was just an additional four kilometers of road before we connected to the highway again and turned left. Then it's another few kilometers of rolling on asphalt before we turned right for the first of many climbs.

It was steep but relatively short. It was less than a kilometer and I think a lot of racers who are unfamiliar with the course would attack and burn themselves here. I managed to climb crawl this on my bike's granniest gear (a 24x32, I think) but I was trying to catch my breath and was sweating buckets. I wanted to catch up with the others but had to consciously tell myself to ride at my own pace. From that point, it was still a long way to go and bonking is something you don't want to happen.

They were waiting for me at the turn. We stopped for a while and had some power cookies which I bought from Banapple. Another rider showed up shortly - Motmot of the BMB. He caught up with us and joined us for the rest of the ride.

Everybody's Still FreshWe geared up again and resumed our adventure. We had a taste of some downhills before another round of suffering going up to the gilingan in Sto. Domingo.

Like manna from heaven, an ice buko vendor showed up as we were in the middle of a climb. Of course we stopped and treated ourselves to a round of ice buko, ube and cheese ice popsicles. Too bad Bruce, Tolits, Totoy Bibo and Motmot weren't around to partake in our small feast. After paying the ice buko vendor and telling him to come back on the 24th, we went on our way.

The course was mostly on cemented roads with about 20% rough roads. There was barely a concern for traction going up the climbs. Nonetheless, there were some parts with loose gravel so we had to be careful.

The next break was at the gilingan, which is about 3/4 the climb up to Sto. Domingo. We rested for a short while over softdrinks. Then we geared up to finish the last quarter of the climb.

Resting at the top of Sto. DomingoIt was already past eleven in the morning when we reached the top. There were some parts that are steep and I was already tired. Good thing Dandan and Totoy Bibo took turns in pushing Wreachelle and me up the road. Actually, they would be doing this for a good part of the trip.

From there it was even more climbing before we did a long downhill leading to a small stream crossing. We were descending on a potent mix of cemented roads with some loose gravel on top and some stretches of offroad. It wasn't too technical but requires total concentration.

King, Bruce and MotmotThe stream crossing was a welcome break. While waiting for the others to arrive, we shared our stories on how hairy the descent was. After taking some pictures, we continued our grind as it was another steep uphill from the stream.

When we reached the top, it was again another scary cemented road downhill stretch. This time though it ended on a river trail leading to the ocean.

DSC05431.JPGRiding this part was probably the most fun I had for the whole trip. I thought at first that it would be slippery and soft, but when I did try spinning it was like biking on water.

We thought that this was the end of our suffering. Last year they took the bayside road leading to city from here, so we thought that we're on our way home. It was right then that Motmot pointed to the top of another mountain and said that we would be climbing that one going back.

Lunch BreakWe followed the river trail going to the beach. By this time it was already 2:00 in the afternoon and we haven't had lunch. Totoy Bibo and Motmot went ahead to look for a place to eat. We finally ended up in a house by the beach selling canned goods. They cooked us rice, scrambled eggs, sardines and tocino meat loaf. We were so tired and drained that this probably tasted like the best meal we ever had.

The Climb going to Pulot ItaasThe barangay is called Pulot Aplaya and we left at 3:00 to climb the hellish road to Pulot Itaas. It was a steep cemented road from the beach to the top of the mountain with about four or five switchbacks.

Of course all is not over as there are still lots of uphills and downhills and it's still about 20 kilometers to go.

We're glad to find a store somewhere on top of this climb. We were so dog tired that this store seem heaven-sent. The only thing lacking would be the sound of angels singing "Hallelujah!" We snacked on cookies and fig newtons over Coke and buko. What's so cool is the buko is free. Yup, they don't sell them and you're free to eat and drink as you please. After paying and thanking the owners, we went on our way.

It was still a long way back. There were lots of uphill and downhills before the big downhill from Haligue.

When I saw that place, I knew we were near. It was where Ka Amado and I would do our afternoon rides before. Going down was fun as I knew the only "climb" we have is the one near Shell refinery and that's it.

"Malapit na!"We had some mountain dew at the store at the bottom after the bridge then took a left turn to the overhanging bridge and enjoyed The trail and off-road section leading back to the highway.

Just the sight of the highway leading back to the city gave me a feeling of accomplishment deep inside. It was already past 6:00 in the evening. And so as the boys took advantage of the flats going back to SM City and Oca's bike shop, I paced with Wreachelle and cooled down as well.

It was one hell of a ride. From my opinion, it's something that one should do at least once in his lifetime. Then again, that might be pushing it a bit. Still, it's a great bonding moment with friends as well a great way to test one's soul.

Now that I know what the course is like, I can really say when I take the stage to brief the racers on the 24th that's it's going to be long and hard.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Magic Number

After the Matuko Point afternoon ride eye-opener (that I'm not used to cycling long distances anymore), I've been doing some late afternoon-early evening training sessions in U.P. Diliman to put some kilometers in my legs. I usually ride the main oval, which is a little bit more than two kilometers, but when I do get bored I ride the outer perimeter, which adds two more kilometers to the loop. I do about 20 to 25 kilometers before I call it a day.

Spinning is quite a humbling experience if you're used to pedaling at faster speeds. The magic number I'm trying to maintain is 90 revolutions per minute at all times, regardless if it's an incline, a descent or a flat. That means that there are instances when I have to consciously get out of gear mashing (70 to 80 rpm) and shift to a lower gear to spin. When fatigue sets in, it even got to a point when my speed was only 23 kilometers per hour.

But this is OK. I know it's going to pay off sooner or later. I just hope it kicks in this Saturday, as we're going to ride the full EBD course. That's 67 kilometers of suffering, and from what I know from the Batangas Mountain Bikers, it's definitely not flat.

So why spin? Basically you're using the same amount of work if you're pedaling a heavy gear at a low rpm as with a lighter gear at a higher rpm. The advantage with spinning is you don't put too much strain on your leg muscles compared to when you're gear mashing. That means that your legs will be fresher and will last longer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Matuko Point Afternoon Ride

A View of the Batangas Bay from Matuko PointIt's great to be back in Batangas. I never realized how much I missed the biking and the people until I went there last weekend to talk about this year's EBD Barangay Tour.

We arrived in Batangas City on Saturday afternoon at around 3:30. We had my first generation Mavic Crossmax wheelset installed in Mike's bike and then, together with Totoy Bibo of the BMB, set off for a 39-kilometer afternoon round trip ride to Matuko point.

Except for a few meters, it's surprising to see that the bayside road are all cemented. Before, after the first climb, the roads were so rough that our bikes would be covered with dust by the time we got back. Now a road bike can climb up to Matuko Point with very minimal hassle.

Totoy BiboThe course is still as scenic as it was the first time I rode it. The weather was great and there were only a few vehicles on the way. The final climb was still a killer. I had to stop at the foot of the climb to rest before I crawled my way up. At the top, I was rewarded with a view of Batangas Bay - very nice, indeed.

Doing the ride, I came upon a realization - because of all the trail riding I've been doing, my leg muscles aren't used to pedaling longer distances anymore. Before I can just spin and do a good tempo on the way back, probably averaging 25 kilometers per hour at about 80 to 90 revolutions per minute. But as I was doing that last weekend, I felt my muscles slowly stiffening so I had to slow down.

Crucify Him!It was dark when we got back so there was no time for pansit as the group was ready to discuss the EBD race on the 24th. We only got to towel dry ourselves before the meeting started.

So how was it? Well, all things considered, everything went fine. Of course there was some debate on the age categories and opening it to non-locals, but after some explanation everyone was enlightened.

I'll be going back to Batangas this Saturday to ride the race course. Hope it's going to be as fun as the Matuko Point afternoon ride.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Riding in the Rain

It looks like summer's over and the wet season is upon us. I'm sure a lot of cyclists would be staying indoors. Some might even grow a conscience and do some spinning sessions on their trainers.

I can't blame them. The effects of the rain to one's bike is not negligible. For starters, it's going to be heavy on the pads if they're still using rim brakes. Shimano's multi-system (?) brake cartridges work relatively fine in wet weather but they don't last long. Another issue is water getting into the sealed areas of the bike. The performance of hubs, bottom brackets, headset and suspension systems are greatly compromised when water penetrates into their "sealed" bearings. This is when things start squeaking.

As for me, I love riding in the rain. I guess it brings back childhood memories. The feeling of having the rain in your face as you pedal somehow makes me forget how wet and dirty my butt is. Water in the trails or on the road makes me somehow be a better bike handler because it forces me to look for lines that will give my tires traction.

One need not be stuck at home when the rain comes. Here are some tips:

1. Wear eye protection with at least clear lenses. It's better than squinting at a 60 kilometer per hour-descent.

2. For trails with sticky mud, apply Pam's cooking spray (or any oily stuff, I guess) to the parts of your frame where mud normally get stuck.

3. If you're using twist-style shifters, wear gloves or risk being a single speeder for a day.

4. If your helmet doesn't have a visor, wear a cycling cap underneath your helmet. It helps in protecting your eyes from the rain.

5. Don't forget to drink. Cyclists usually forget to do this because of the cold weather. They only realize the need to drink when they're already thirsty, which is too late.

6. After a wet ride, at least dry your bike, especially your chain. If you can wash it first, then that would be better. When the chain is dry, don't forget to lube it.

7. Bring your bike to a bike shop for regreasing every now and then.

8. Be careful of riding on puddles or flooded areas as there can be an open manhole that will take you to kingdom come.

9. Wear a riding jacket or kapote.

10. When braking, do not attempt to do squeeze of death on your brake levers or you might lose traction. Try "feathering" them, instead.

11. If you're annoyed at the water spray from your tires getting into your face, consider installing good quality fenders.

12. You still get sunburns even if it's raining so don't forget to apply sunblock an hour before the ride.

If you have any tips that you'd like to share, please feel free to do so. Just click on the comment link below.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Licao-Licao

We all had fun in yesterday's Licao-Licao ride, courtesy of trailmaster King. I was planning on giving the Reba a nice test session and the trail delivered the goods. It was our first time and we're really happy about it! The trail network was awesome - lots of singletrack, great views, not too much climbing and not too technical.

My apologies for not posting pictures. I forgot to bring the camera. No worries as I'll be back again next time for sure!

Among all that was there, my favorite was this stretch that seemed to be the entrance to Jurassic Park with all the trees and bamboos. The path was covered with cobblestones and it was suspension heaven as it did test how the new fork held up. It was short but we all had a blast!

So what's the verdict? I still need to get used to the Reba. It was plush but it wasn't as plush as the Z.2. I need to get myself a shock pump so I can change the negative air pressure myself. Right now, the positive and negative air chambers have the same amount of air. I'm thinking of increasing the negative air pressure so it would be more responsive to the smaller bumps.

As for Licao-Licao, it's going to be included as one of my favorite trails. I just need to familiarize myself more as to where these trails are.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Goodbye Z.2, Hello Reba!

I think that road bike plan will have to be moved to a later date. In all honesty, I was intent on getting one with a nice aluminum frame (perhaps a Giant) and Shimano 105 components. It would probably cost me around P30,000. Not bad at all.

Then the evil King popped me a message last Tuesday and gave me a link to PMTB's Buy and Sell section. When I clicked on it, I knew right then that the road bike plan would have to shelved. What's there waiting for me is a second-hand Rock Shox Reba SL at a price I just can't ignore! So I called up the seller and got P500 off the asking price, picked it up the following day from Extreme Bike Shop in Panay Avenue and had it installed there.

Yes, I finally retired my 1999 Marzocchi Z.2 BAM 80mm fork. After eight years of use, I'm saying goodbye to this long-time companion. Come to think of it, the relationship wasn't love at first sight at all. Coming from a Rock Shox Mag 21 air-oil fork, I initially hated the Z.2 because it was too plush. It seemed to take away some power when I pedal. Then after some adjustments and a change to stiffer springs, I started to love this baby that I didn't see the need to retire them until I saw this deal.

I'm going to road trail test the Reba this weekend. King is thinking of going to Licao Licao so it's going to be longer than our usual Maarat trail route. That would be perfect to try the U-Turn and the Lock Out functionalities.

If the reviews are true, then I think I would be spending eight years with this fork, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I think I want a road bike

Yes, you read that right. After being a mountain biker since high school, I'm now slowly considering getting a road bike, finally.

I think it's King's fault, or maybe it's the people at the XRC Race, which I attended this morning. Seeing the peloton spinning at forty kilometers per hour on rolling terrain made me want to join them.

I don't have the budget. Well, not yet. If ever I do decide on getting one, I'll probably start with a Shimano 105-equipped steed.

To be continued.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tagay for Basso

Basso admits involvement in Puerto Scandal

My hunch was right! That resignation from Discovery because that is his way to show his respect to the team seemed like a good build up to an eventual finale of him growing some balls and admitting his involvement in the affair. And here we are.

Ah the drama! This is great material. Just imagine the movie rights. He can give The Flying Scotsman a run for its money.

Seriously speaking, when I read the news it didn't feel all that bad. Yes, I felt ripped off to find out that all that climbing I saw him do in those Tour de France DVDs are fake. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a lifetime ban or retires from cycling. The silver lining to this dark cloud is him finally admitting his involvement.

He admitted his mistake and that took a lot of courage. Now contrast that to Ullrich (who insisted he's innocent, retired from the sport but got caught anyway) and it gave us a glimpse of the true inner person.

I don't like what Basso did. No cycling fan in his right mind approves of the use of performance enhancers. I applaud him, though, for being man enough to admit it when his back is against the wall.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Men's Health Race Course: Reconnaissance Photos

We went to Timberland this morning and did a slow ride through the short race course. With the Batangas Mountain Bikers joining the race tomorrow, I took it to myself to take some reconnaissance pictures of the whole course. Below are some them:

Roxas Trail Downhill Section 1
This is the start of the downhill section in the Roxas Trail.

Roxas Trail Downhill Section 4: Kawayanan - View from the Bottom
This is the last part of the Roxas Trail downhill section and it's the most dangerous. I always use the line on the right.

Boy-Girl View from the bottom
This is the Boy/Girl section. Sorry, in this trail, I'm a girl. Good thing it's gonna be a mandatory dismount tomorrow.

The Chapel Steps: view from the bottom
The Chapel Steps Downhill. It might scare off the beginners, but all they have to do is put their weight at the back and relax to clear it.

To see the full course in pictures, click here

Friday, May 04, 2007

Time to Bike!

With gas prices predicted to go up by P4.00 per liter in the next few days, this would be heavy on the pockets of the common Filipino who drives or commutes to work. Just imagine, my Shell Unleaded E10, which sells 50 centavos cheaper than their Unleaded gasoline at P37.57 a liter, will now be P41.57! And this is their cheapest fuel for my car.

The time for alternative means of transportation is now. Time to bike to work. Not only will this solution be easier on the pocket, it's also a good exercise and good to the environment.

Start with looking for a good route from your house to your office, avoiding busy intersections and crowded streets. Next is to look for a secure place to lock your bike. Then, if your office doesn't have the facility, look for a place to freshen up, shower and change to your office attire.

When you're through with these, time to go to your bike and check if everything's in tiptop condition - check the tires if it has the right air pressure, check the chain if it's properly lubed, and see if the brakes are working properly.

Now for your gear. What you absolutely need are the following: helmet, reflectors, rear blinkers, head lights and a good bike lock.

When you're all set, it's time to roll.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Korporasyon

In English it translates to "corporation", but in local cycling lingo it means more than that. Used in mostly in races, the term loosely means already having a result even before it starts. In a korporasyon, scheming cyclists determine who wins the race before or during the race itself and all agree to split the pot when it's over.

Now I don't know if this year's EBD Barangay Tour is a korporasyon but it does have that same fishy smell. Unlike last year's event which drew roughly around a hundred mountain bikers, this year's race now only has one category for non-Batangas residents. In a way it seems like the organizers have literally organized themselves and decided that they want to make it a homegrown-talents-only affair. Indirectly they're shooing away their competition with the intent of keeping the city's funds to themselves.

I got a private email from one of their members, who wishes to remain anonymous. According to him, they really wanted to make this an all-Batangueno affair. They only offered the National Open category for those who'd still like to join. As a glimmer of hope, he added that they'll be bringing last year's format next year.

Being the race director last year, I find this news quite disappointing. I was hoping to expose them more to the level of competition from other parts of the country, but it was them who chose to go back to their shell.

I was planning on going there and riding the course today, but I didn't feel like it anymore. There's no reason to map out the route and find out the distances if they want to keep it to themselves.

I guess I'll wait for next year's announcement.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I think I'm going to be racing

2007 Men's Health All Terrain Race CourseIt has been years since I last joined a mountain bike race. I think this was during the 1999 Mountain Bike Challenge held at the Payanig sa Pasig grounds and at the Traksnijak in Tagaytay.

Next weekend is the Second Men's Health All Terrain race at Timberland in Maarat, San Mateo, Rizal, and I think I'm joining. The 12-kilometer mountain bike race starts at Mandala and goes around the roads inside the village before going to the Roxas trail, the Boy-Girl drop and the steps at the back of chapel before going back to Mandala.

I'm hoping the Batangas boys would join so they can be exposed to the mountain bike community in Manila. I left a message in the egroup telling them that I'd sponsor their entry fees if they'd just join.

On the picture is the race course itself courtesy of King and Victor.

Updated: Below's the course from another angle.

2007 Men's Health All Terrain Race Course

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's Raining Today

It's Raining
It's raining today and I think that's a good sign. We'll be biking again tomorrow morning in Maarat to try out the race course for the May 6 race. With the rain, the trail wouldn't be so dusty and it would make trail conditions perfect - sticky enough but not too muddy.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Afternoon Ride

I haven't done that much afternoon trail riding in Manila. Usually, this would be a few laps in the Ateneo or some spinning in U.P. So when King asked if I'd like to go and do one lap around the planned Men's Health Race this coming May 6, I said yes.

Afternoon rides remind me of my two-year stint working at the family business in Tanauan. After graduating from college, I worked there and tried to put some structure into things. I'd drive all the way from Batangas City in the morning and then leave at around three o' clock in the afternoon - just in time for a four o' clock ride with my afternoon BMB bike buddies and finish the ride of with a heaping bowl of lomi at MGM.

So the supposed meeting time at the parking area was three o' clock. I passed by Tumana and got there eleven minutes late. I thought they would all be geared up and just waiting for me. Lo and behold, I was the first one there. King and Vic were still waiting for Steve at the Shell station in Commonwealth and it would take them at least thirty minutes.

My RideAll ready with nothing to do, I treated myself to some Hi-Ro cookies and a bottle of Sprite. I also toyed with the camera and tried to take some "feeling artistic" shots of the bike.

Mach arrived after thirty minutes and showed me his neat new ride - a Giant Trance trail bike. It was plush and not that heavy at all. He had a fresh pair of Kenda Short Block Eights installed, which he plans to test out in the course.

King and Victor arrived finally. Steve wasn't with them because his bike was out of commission. So we all geared up and pedaled to the Roxas trail.

The course is about 12 kilometers and includes Mandala's cemented roads, the Roxas trail and the Chapel steps down to Timberland's nursery. It's hard enough for the advanced riders and tolerable for the beginners. There even was this big drop after the Roxas trail that would be a mandatory dismount area because of how treacherous it can be with the soil so loose. Victor tried to ride it but his tire slipped near the bottom and crashed. It wasn't serious though.

The Roxas TrailTalking about crashes, I did crash in yesterday's ride. It was going down the final technical part of the Roxas trail. I managed to complete it but my front tire got caught in a rut at the bottom part and I crashed. I'm OK. I think I got some really small scratches on my left arm and knee. It was surprisingly fun.

We got back to the parking area just as the sun finally went down. The ride was great and the boys treated themselves to some softdinks. This is one ride I want to do again.

Check out the pictures here

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tour of the Fireflies


I joined the Tour of the Fireflies again this year after skipping last year's fun ride. The whole contingent was about 5,000 to 6,000 cyclists from all over the Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces.

The ride is hot. Literally. What started as an overcast ride became a not-so-fun ride anymore by the end as we sampled this year's scorchin' summer temperatures.

It's great to see that the numbers are growing yearly. Hope to see more people volunteer as marshals as there aren't that much of them this year.

Check out our picture taken at the Fort. That me and Vic taking the cool opportunity of having our pictures taken beside the No Cycling sign.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Going Tubeless

It was fun, fun, fun till her daddy took the T-Bird away. So goes the line in one of the Beach Boys' more popular songs. It was like that for me when King convinced me to have my new wheelset converted to tubeless by Dandan of All Terra.

It all started during a trip to Cartimar a few weeks ago for a fork tune-up. The eight year-old Marzocchi Z.2 BAM suspension fork didn't feel right anymore so I brought it to Velo City's Hermie for some good lovin' - an oil change and overhaul.

I was thinking of building a new wheelset and I was eyeing the Chris King disc hubs that they have there in the shop, but it was too expensive for me at that time. P25,000 on a pair of hubs isn't exactly easy to shell out.

From there, I decided to upgrade to disc brakes and bought the tried and true Avid BB7 mechanicals from Ross, one of the friendlier bike shops in Cartimar. I also got a good deal with the Mavic Cross Ride wheelset so I threw that in as well.

In short, I went home with more than just a freshly tuned fork.

Now I told King about the "latest acquisition" and he told me to have my new wheelset converted to tubeless. I thought I might as well do it and see what these tubeless evangelists are yapping about. So I brought my new wheelset to Edmund's shop and had Dandan convert it to tubeless with his homemade conversion kit and Stan's sealant.

I was using IRC Mythos tires with kevlar beads so we're not sure how those will hold out since they're not recommended in the Stan's website. I was about to find out.

The following Saturday, we took it for a spin in the Roxas Trail in Maarat. I was with King, Jed, and Boy and his posse. The ride was great. They were grippy that it seemed like I'm riding them under-inflated. Being used to tubes, I had to stop and see if my tire has air.

Going uphill on an uneven trail, the front tire's bead suddenly was unseated and blew off. There you go. So that's the reason why it wasn't recommended by the Stan's people. I tried cleaning the big mess on my front tire with leaves (there was still a lot of sealant left) and installed the emergency innertube that I bought.

So will I be going back to tubeless after this experience? My answer is yes, but definitely not with the IRC's. Since I love these tires so much, I'll wait till the knobs are all gone before I get the Kendas and go back to tubeless.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Great Butingting


One of the things that I really like to do is tinker with the adjustments of my ride to make it perfect. A quarter turn of a small allen bolt can make one's brakes fit better. A few millimeters of cleat adjustment can do wonders on one's knees, not to mention power output. A few turns on a knob of a suspension fork can make it all buttery smooth and make the owner realize what a good buy it is when he got it seven years ago.

I really pity those who take their bikes to the bike shops for the littlest of stuff because part of the allure of having one is being able to do what Filipinos call butingting. (Don't you just love how that sounds?)

Admittedly, there will be casualties - bolts will lose threads, wheels will wobble, or there won't be any brakes - but I think this is part of the learning process that makes a cyclist appreciate his ride more.

I did some repair work last weekend on my wife's ride, and I have to say that I'm particularly proud of what I accomplished.

I saw that the past owner wasn't too keen on chain length and the big chainring-big cog combination was impossible to do. So I went to the bike shop and got myself a new Shimano HG-93 chain, and with the help of my trusty old Topeak MacGuyver's chain breaker and instructions from Park Tools, shifting is now excellent. It was my first time to install a brand new chain so to see things go in order is pretty rewarding.

I also switched brakes with her (mine was XT and her's was XTR! Damn!), did the toe-in adjustment and adjusted her brake reach. I'm also planning on getting cable cutters when I have money so I can replace her cables. (Her's right now is a bit short.)

For those of you who want to be your own bike mechanic, don't be left in the dark. Login to the repair section of Park Tools and read up! You can also join the Philippine Cycling Network and ask other cyclists to tips.

Have fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Incredible Lightness of Bonking

(With apologies to Milan Kundera)

I was thinking yesterday if there ever is such a thing as glory in bonking, and the only incident I can think of is after one has broken away from the group, goes all out to win the race, and pass out as he crosses the finish line. Aside from that, the whole experience is probably one of the worst you'd ever feel in cycling.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, bonking in cycling means to hit the wall. Wikipedia defines it as "when the athlete suddenly loses energy and fatigue sets in, usually caused when glycogen stores in the liver and muscles are depleted, resulting in a major performance drop."

I think I may have bonked or was in the verge of bonking in yesterday's short ride to the Roxas trail in Maarat. I was climbing with King, Agu and Dandan on the stretch of cemented roads when I just couldn't follow. And it wasn't just getting dropped. It was as if I don't have that much in me to pedal.

I shifted to my granny gear and spun but it was no use. I was running out of gas fast and there was no shade in this part on the climb. White spots are starting to appear in my vision. Uh oh, I know what this is - I'm starting to bonk.

I think it may be heat exhaustion which caused this. Being used to riding in the shady trails of La Mesa and at night in the Ateneo campus with my wife, it was actually my first time in a long time to ride with the heat of the sun directed at me.

When I got to the top, I knew what I had to do. I told the boys that I'm bonking and looked for a shaded area where I can sit, rest, eat and hydrate. Luckily I was able to do this before the cold sweat and the goosebumps came in. After a few minutes, I was ready to roll once more.

I haven't bonked in such a long time, and I'm actually glad that I was able to prevent this one from being an all-out head-between-my-legs affair.

Some tips when you're bonking:

1. Stop cycling and look for a place where you can rest. Walk a while if you still can. Afterwards, sit on the ground so you won't feel lightheaded.

2. Eat and hydrate. Eat and hydrate. Eat and hydrate. Bring food and a hydration pack with cold water every time you do your trail rides.

3. Rest. You've probably gone to the red zone and need to lower down your heart rate to the lower it to normal levels.

4. Tell your riding buddies how you're feeling so they'll know what to do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Going Online

Since I started the Batangas Mountain Bikers website in 1999 and earned us a Kalabasa Award (for having one of the worst websites in the sports category), I've always dreamed that the boys would adapt to the net and take the pagtambay online, too.

It's a growing process. And in the next editions of the site, as I learned how to use tables, I also introduced feedback through email. This mechanism evolved to the ConferenceRoom embedded chat applet. Sadly, nobody used it.

In the last version before the current one, I placed a Tag-Board. Borrowed from Blog technology, I saw that slowly it turned into the members' online message board. It was great until people got rowdy and I had to pull it out.

For the current version of the BMB website, I'm bringing in more community tools for these people. Instead of the traditional HTML updating, it's now replaced and powered by Blogger for instant publishing. I also made a BMB eGroup (patterned from the now seven year-old PCN) and there are already a handful of members who signed up.

It's great to see that they're adapting to change. Slowly. One by one. Who knows, I might be linking to some BMB videos on YouTube very soon.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Climb I Hate.

I don't usually hate climbs. It's usually me that hate for not being too fit enough to conquer it, but it's different this time. This climb I'm referring to isn't a two-kilometer wall nor is it a super loose uphill trail leading to somewhere. It's actually about three or so kilometers from where I'm staying now. Ladies and gents, I'm referring to none other than the Marcos Highway-Aurora Boulevard climb during rush hour.

It's actually quite a short climb coming from the Marikina bridge. What makes this climb really hateful is all the carbon monoxide emitted by smoke-belching jeepneys and buses that goes straight to my lungs as I try to take a breath of air. That mixed with the heat of the sun and you've got one nasty concoction enough to make you think twice about biking in Manila.

Next time, I should probably take the Tumana Route. It's farther and steeper but at least it's better for my health.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Newbie Mistakes

This is a message I posted in the PCN

While talking about maintenance and fiddling with your bike and also out of curiosity, would like to know what newbie mistakes did you guys and girls do with your bike?

I have a list of my own that I'd like to share with everyone:

1. Improper Tools.
Back then in the early 1990's, I just bought my bike. Being the careless teener that I was (Now I'm a careless 30-year old), the tools that I use for my "maintenance" are a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. Yes, no allen wrenches. What's funny is I force everything with the use of these two magical tools. Hey, MacGuyver was in during these days. I even take out my inner tubes using the screwdriver. You never know how many flats I had to vulcanize (I didn't use the word "patch" then) because of this.

2. Incorrect Lubes.
Come on. Say it with me. You know what this is. Now, all together - SINGER OIL. Yup, that was was idea of lubricating the chain. What I was thinking was it did well on the door hinges so it will do wonders on my chain. And so I did use this wonderful lubricant and my chain immediately transformed into a gunk magnet (I didn't know you had to wipe off the excess). I only learned about bike lubes when I visited the then-hot bike shops of Marikina.

3. Incorrect Tire Pressure.
To be honest I didn't know what the correct pressure was. As far as I know, as long as the tire feels hard then it's OK. Only learned about the correct pressure (and also how to read those numbers printed on my tires' sidewalls) from other cyclists.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Shopping Spree


I wasn't planning to go on a shopping spree, but when Mach posted a message in the PCN saying that he's selling his KHS Alite Team frame for a really good price I knew this was my chance to get one of the frames I'm targeting to upgrade.

He posted it Friday night and I got it from him Saturday lunchtime. As you can see, I didn't waste any precious time. I called up Hermie right away and scheduled an appointment that same afternoon.

I got to Velo City at 3:00 in the afternoon and everything was finished by 5:30. As for the damage, it was not that much. I had to buy a new Deore XT top-pull derailleur and brake bosses from Ross and some brake cable housing from Paulinas.

It wasn't part of the original plan, but since my shoes have all but retired, I got myself a new pair of Shimano mountain bike shoes - A SH-M121G.

With the new bike frame, I had to use a different stem. Both the Kore Elite 130mm and the Thomson 110mm were too long. I had to borrow King's 90mm Truvativ team stem for things to feel right.

With the new frame, the ride was very different. I was able to do the climbs up La Mesa without the front tire losing traction on climbs and I'm not scared of doing an endo every time I go down a steep hill. It was awesome!

Now that this is finished, I feel this frame and I will go places.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Next Project: The Oakley Radar

If you're a big Oakley fan and you're following this year's Tour of California, you'll definitely notice the new eyewear the Discovery boys are wearing.

I've going through a lot of Oakley fan sites to figure out what these are. Thankfully, the Paceline let us in to the hottest stuff in the peloton.

Dubbed as the Oakley Radar, it will be launched on March 2007. According to the article, it's a mix of the M Frame and the Racing Jackets.

I can't wait to try these out!

Monday, February 19, 2007

New Stuff: Oakley Pro M-Frame

I've always been an Oakley boy ever since I started biking. Back in high school, I bought a pair in a sports shop in the then-freshly constructed SM City North EDSA. Then sometime in 1992, I discovered Joven bike shop in Marikina and that's where I bought my first Oakley M-Frame.

It had a clear frame with blue iridium plutonite lenses. It was the coolest thing I owned then. Never mind that I looked like an alien when I ride the jeepney in U.P. It had a great fit. Too bad the frame was brittle, and so after years of use, it broke off.

Now, after more than a decade of cycling, I ordered a custom Pro M-Frame (the one that doesn't fold) with persimmon lens. Loved it the instance I pulled it out of the box and wore it. The fit was excellent and the lens tint was just right.

Now time to get these thermonuclear protection in action!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Road Trip

Cheez Whiz on TopI think I have a magical attraction to Mount Sto. Tomas that I instantly said I'm game when my friends from Globe invited me for a weekend trip to Baguio.

To me, Baguio is not strawberries and ube jam anymore. It's the short eight-kilometer offroad climb to one of her peaks that gets me excited and makes me do the five-hour drive up the country's summer capital from Manila. It's the joy of punishing yourself up a rocky climb as the cold frigid mountain breeze cools your body down.

The second climb was really different from the first one with Mike O. last year. It seemed shorter. Nonetheless, the climb is still a good test to see one's fitness as I had to stop several times to rest. Maybe next time I can do it without going down.

_____

Here are some tips when you do your road trip with your bike

1. Do not forget to bring your helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, water bottle/hydration pack and riding shorts. Realizing that you left one of these in your garage can mean your bike ride is over.

2. Bring your lubricant and pump with you in case you may need them. Don't forget the trail/road tools as well.

Secure your Baby3. Bring a lock with you so you can secure your bike in your hotel room. You don't want to go back from a night around town only to discover that there's no bike in your room.

4. For those with roof-mounted bike racks installed in their cars, do not forget that you have bikes up there when you drive. Be careful with telephone/cable/ electric wires, branches and those oh-so-dreadful drive thru's.

Got more tips? Post 'em here! :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hometown Ride

Topher and Mike OI haven't gone riding with the Batangas boys for quite some time. The last time I was with the big group was in last year's Visita Iglesia and that was it. (So much for being called a a member of the Batangas Mountain Bikers.) And so I decided to drop by last Sunday for some nice old climbing Batangas-style. I brought Mike O along since he hasn't tried the trails here yet.

I left the house at around 4:30 in the morning and got to BF in Parañaque at five to pick up the Big O. We arrived in Batangas at around 6:30, parked the car in my tita's house (the place where I learned how to ride a bike), geared up and met with Topher and Aldrin at Oca's Shop.

Today was race day for them. Aside from a lot of BMB members whose names are unknown to me, there were also mountain bikers from neighboring towns and provinces. The prizes were actually small. Just P500 for the first prize winner. But it's more of the bragging rights that got these people to this part of the country - to be the first one on top of the Sto. Domingo climb and nothing less.

It was worth it!What's so cool is there are actually no corporate sponsors nor official support from the local government. The prize money, the trophies, the tokens and the food all came from the pockets of some of the members of the club. Now that's grassroots cycling!

Eventually, we climbed clawed our way to the top of Sto. Domingo and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment. But that was after we made a slight detour and visited what the locals called the "grotto".

Well, technically it wasn't a grotto. It was a big statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion on top of the peaks overlooking Batangas City and the bay. It was a tribute by a Batangueño politician to the City's patron.

The Immaculate Conception StatueThe route was basically the same as the climb going up the dreaded Sto. Domingo, except for a right turn going up the grotto. Now we had the choice to use the cemented road to the top, but mountain bikers that we are, we chose the steep footpath going up the peak and ended up carrying our bikes on our backs.

Getting there was really worth it as we're rewarded with a fantastic view of the city as cool mountain breezes comforted us. Eventually it rained so we had to take shelter under a small mango tree. But after a while, the rain turned into a slight drizzle.

Ala Eh!From here, we rode to the main road to Sto. Domingo initially to watch the race and go back to the city and reward ourselves with pancit from Krosroads. However, after some lauding by our friends, we climbed/walked/crawled our way to the top.

This was a great ride. The climb was about three to four times longer than Maarat's Wall and about as steep. I can't believe that this was just one part of the EBD Mountain Bike Challenge that we did last year. How those at the top finished in less than three hours is absolutely amazing.

And as tradition, we ended a good ride by rewarding ourselves with Krosroad's Pancit Guisado and rice.

If you're dropping by Batangas City, try this route. The road's all cemented now but you'll definitely need your granny gear.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The La Mesa Social

A lot of people showed upWe took a ride in the La Mesa Nature Reserve last Saturday and I must say that this has got to be the biggest number of mountain bikers in the La Mesa Nature Reserve in a regular, no-event day. I think the news of this short-but-sweet, enclosed trail network northeast of Metro Manila has spread in the local e-groups and forums. From what we know, the bunch is composed of five different groups from all over, totaling about thirty mountain bikers eager to try out their machines on this newfound playground.

It's a climb!Since we've been biking here for quite some time already, we tried out something new. Instead of the usual 12-kilometer loop that we do that takes us around a good section of the reserve, we went to Tower One. This is the farthest and highest point of the reserve and, according to the boys who have been here, the most exciting trail as well.

The way going to Tower One is about eight kilometers one-way, consisting of average downhills, lots of a turns and some pretty nasty climbs. What's good is there are a lot of places in between to recover and the trails are shaded so you won't notice your agony that much.

Now time for that rum cake.Joining the supposed fast group was forester King, Victor, Agu, Mike, Ricky, Rick, two of King's friends whose names I forgot, myself and trail first-timer Rommel. We were supposed to be the ones setting the pace in front but mechanicals and waiting for the others slowed us down.

Is that a smile?It was Rommel's first time to ride his brand new bike on the trail. We gave him tips on how to position himself on the bike and what to do on downhills, but I guess he panicked and went over the bars on the first major downhill of the ride. He was shaken. His helmet was damaged and his right upper arm felt a bit sore but he just shrugged everything off and still enjoyed himself tremendously.

When we reached Tower One, we climbed to the tower and was rewarded a great view of parts of Quezon City and the neighboring mountains of Montalban. The ride was fun and not so tiring. We're definitely going to do this again.

OK Ba?On the way back, we took a left turn and took the Cecon 24-Hour Challenge route. It wasn't really challenging but doing that for 24 hours will make you think twice.

All in all, the La Mesa Nature Reserve is a great place to really mountain bike in Metro Manila without the hassles of vehicles or stray dogs out to get you. If you're interested in trying it out, you need to book it days in advance with ABS-CBN Foundation's Bantay Kalikasan. The trunk line is +63 2 415-2272.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Overhaul

It's the start of the year, and while those who had a hefty collection the past Christmas holidays are trooping to their favorite bike shops with new components/apparel/bikes in their minds, us mere mortals need not be left behind.

This afternoon, I visited Hermie, my favorite mechanic in Cartimar, for a good old bike overhaul. It's not as serious as you think. It's just a shifter and brake cable change that cyclists often overlook.

I replaced my seven year-old cables with fresh Armadillo cables that I got from Sam at Ross Cycles - the bike shop right next door. Admittedly these are a bit pricey at P1,000 per set, but the point is one will never know how much improvement this does to an old set-up. I've been religiously lubing my cables almost after every ride but it cannot equal that of a fresh cable change. It especially did wonders on my shifting. What once was turning to be an effort is now smooth and crisp. It was miraculous, if you ask me - a few notches short of the Frankenstein creature.

This year also marked the retirement of the last piece of component from my first bike that, until today, was being used - the DiaCompe Aheadset. After years of service (11, if I'm not mistaken), it threw in the towel. And so the replacement was a Chris King knockoff, that is allegedly manufactured by Cane Creek. It's performance was OK based from my ride this evening. Of course only time will tell if it will be as good as its predecessor.

Now everything is in order, it's time to do more riding. I'm hoping this year brings us more adventures with our bikes.

Cheers!
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