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.
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