The Birthday Ride

A view of Marcos HighwayWith Connie getting her new Thule roof rack, what better way to celebrate my 30th year on this planet than with a cool birthday ride. And so Mike, Charo and I left Manila Saturday evening for Baguio.

It was a sperm of the moment kind of thing. We weren't even sure that we're going to Baguio until that very same night. The original plan was a long, long drive to Pagudpod Friday night but Charo got sick, unfortunately.

We arrived in Baguio at around 2:00 in the morning. We could have made it earlier if we didn't stop for Jollibee at Urdaneta, but good thing we did. The Crispy Bangus Belly seemed to be so delicious after that 5-hour drive. We slept at 3:00 a.m. after checking in Hotel Veniz and unloading our stuff. The drive was tiring but it was fun.

And this is meWe woke up and geared up the following day. Our objective seemed pretty simple, and that is to go up to where the two huge satellite dishes are - a place where the locals call radar. This place has been part of San Mig Light's Urban Jungle years ago but it was only for the elite racers.

The TrailThe cyclometer doesn't do justice to the ride as it only registered 14 kilometers from Burnham Park to the top. What it does not show is that almost all of that 14 kilometers was pure climbing - from cemented roads at the base near Green Valley to a rough road strewn with rocks and stones at the last seven kilometers. It also doesn't say how much the climb was worth it with the cool mountain breeze comforting you as you spin on your granny gear all the way to the top as you enjoy the breathtaking view of the city and its neighboring mountains.

The Third StopWe had several stops on the way although one can ride it all the way as long as he's pretty fit and patient. The climb is not steep so there are very little out-of-the-saddle moments required - it's just long and it goes on and on till the top.

Cheez Whiz on TopIf you're planning to go there, bring more than one water bottle or a hydration pack with you along with a couple of Powerbars or cookies. There are no stores to buy your usual Coke and SkyFlakes in case you bonk.

The Birthday RideReaching the top was very rewarding for us considering that we barely road our bikes since the Clark Duathlon. After taking some shots, we adjusted our forks and blasted went down the mountain with care. Now how I wish I had a full-suspension bike to tame all those rocks on the way down.

All in all, this is a pretty good ride and it's worth the five-hour drive!