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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I survived the PCN Alabang-Tagaytay-Alabang Ride



It's been three days since the PCN 10th anniversary ride from Alabang to Tagaytay and back and I'm still sore all over. My calves still hurt and my face, arms and legs now sport cyclist tan lines. Blame it on me for not bringing the sunblock lotion.

109.16 kilometers. I think this has been my longest ride. Ever.

Actually, I was OK going to Tagaytay. I was just spinning. It was the last part that killed me. There were several instances when I had to soft pedal because my legs were cramping. First it was my right calf, then it was the side of the right thigh, and then the back of the right thigh gave in, too. I have never experienced this type of multi-cramping before, but at least it was still manageable for me.

About three kilometers away from Tagaytay, I was worried if I still had something left to pedal back to Alabang. How I wished I had a driver.

Like manna from heaven, a truck loaded with hollow blocks passed by and it was traveling at a relatively slow speed. With what I had left I sprinted to catch up and managed to cling on the back till we reached the junction. That explains the sudden 30kph speed jump recorded in my GPS tracker.

I was happy when we reached Mushroom Burger but I was so spent already. Before the ride I was thinking of wolfing down at least two burgers, but when I got there I only finished one. I was worried. I didn't know if I could still make it.

We went down the same way. I thought we were taking Aguinaldo highway but the guys said that it wasn't safe.

Before, I would blast down the mountain and try to even outpedal the roadies. Being heavy and all, it was like my God-given talent. But not this time. I was conserving energy. At that point it was about 50 kilometers of pedaling to go, and every energy saved was something that I could use later. It was survival mode for me.

Reaching Governor's Drive after the long downhill brought me back to reality. There were still lots of kilometers to go. I was using my Continental slick tires, but even with this I can't keep up with the roadies. From here, it was like a time trial going back with a mean headwind.

I'm not going to lie. There were times when I was seriously thinking of hailing a cab, trike or any public vehicle to take me to Alabang. This was so true on the way back when the whole group was no longer in sight and I was only with Romy and another PCN member, pedaling at less than 20 kilometers per hour with a headwind along the Open Canal Road somewhere in Cavite. There was one instance when I managed to draft behind a tricycle, but for the rest of the way it was mostly me.

The final stretch of Daang Hari to Alabang was a killer with its rolling hills. It wasn't that much, but after doing 90 kilometers of riding, my speed going up was as low as 9kph. How embarrassing!

But just when my legs were giving out and my Camelbak was just drops away from being empty, the vision of the buildings in Madrigal Center lent its magic and gave me a much-needed power boost. I knew I was very near that I was hitting 31kph despite suffering some minor cramps again. I even managed to catch up with a roadie who got dropped by the pack because she's laspag, too! Naks!

We started the ride at 6:45 a.m. and arrived at 4:00 p.m. We treated ourselves to some ice cream and a couple of bottles of Gatorade before we headed back home.

What a way to celebrate the anniversary of a cycling egroup I created in a lazy afternoon ten years ago. Now I'm looking forward to even more epic rides for the upcoming years.

To those who shared in this beautiful suffering, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

8 comments:

  1. Hey Jovan!

    Nice story. I would've joined if it was a mountain bike ride. I don't have a road bike AND I don't have a spare set of tires (current setup is 2.1 Small Block 8 rear, 2.3 Nevegal front).

    When are you visiting?

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  2. Thanks for reading, man! It was hard trying to keep up with the roadies in their element.

    Thinking of dropping by your place 2nd week of March. Whatchathink?

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  3. Jovan-thank you for ilustrating that ride. I could almost picture myself in you, albeit in a road bike. 2 saturdays before the PCN ride, I conquered that climb alone as I didnt want to slow down others. Funny but I never cramped during my solo attempt.

    I did cramp up just after the Tagaytay convention center where I signalled the lead group to just go ahead to Burger Machine less than a KM away.

    Ang bilis mo sa downhill, I could hardly keep up. Buti nalang I found a sari sari store that had gatorade- you were kind enough to bird dog me here. I was filled with newfound strength- and upon seeing the madrigal skyline, I shifted to race gear and hammered! I arrived westgate first.

    Again, Ill ride with you anytime bro

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  4. Thanks for reading, guys.

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  5. Hi Jovan, Nice Blog! Thanks for posting this story + the video! Till next ride! I posted some pictures on my blog as well: http://velodronedigital.wordpress.com/latest-stories/#amadeoride

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  6. You should've used the road bike para naka sakay ka sa peloton! Hehe..

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  7. Mike, I was actually thinking of riding the road bike but I actually haven't ridden it for a long ride. I figured I don't want to risk anything so I brought the bike I'm more familiar with.

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Feel free to write a comment or a message. You can also send me an email at jovan [at] bisikleta [dot] ph.

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