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.