First post by KOS was:
New thread started (as discussed with Craw) to list/post MTB schedules trails. Maganda raw sana gawin nating regular etong MTB trails… (trans: Would be better if we do these MTB trail rides regularly)
Date: March 29, 2009 (Sunday)
Meeting Place: Tina’s
Meeting Time: 7:30am
Destination: Maarat onwards
Kindly add your names to the bottom of the list nalang…
Living far away from the venue and having ridden Maarat’s trails only a few times I was excited to ride there once more, plus the “promise” of going out on a ride with my 4×4 friends — they all frequent Mt. Maarat because they all live quite near. I, on the other hand, need to always schedule my Mt. Maarat trips way in advance.
To not waste the plan I posted a reminder the Friday before this that this plan should push through. Also asking if the people in the list are still good to go (I didn’t get a reply).
Jayboy signed up, and during my Saturday ride he was sending me text messages letting me know he’s joining the Sunday ride.
Come Sunday I arrived at the rendezvous a few minutes after the designated time. Jay was already there. This was his first time to really ride his mountain bike. From what I gathered he has only ridden inside some construction area near his place. With that info I decided to go the Wall route, as opposed to climbing Shotgun. I didn’t want a first-timer to go backtrack due to the difficulty of the ride.
An hour later Alain arrived with a friend of his, Mike.
During the wait I sent a text message to both Doc Raffy (Defpotec) and Gilbert (Dizman) asking what time they’ll arrive. First to reply was Gilbert. He was in Sta. Rosa that time. WTF?!
After a while Doc Raffy replied saying he thought the ride wasn’t going to push through so he went ahead alone. He was already at Giant, I think.
Cellphones, internet, 4x4PH.com/forum — choices of verifying if the ride will push through.
After Mike and I ate a quick breakfast the 4 of us took off. I think I heard Alain give out a sigh of relief when I suggested we do The Wall, for Jay’s sake. I think devirginizing Jayboy via Shotgun is too brutal. Maybe on his 2nd ride.
No ID, no entry
ID’s are required if you’ll be entering through the Timberland gate. I only remembered when we were resting as this was only my first time to pass through Timberland on the way up. My usual route when riding Mt. Maarat is climb up Shotgun and exit down Timberland.
For unknown reasons Mike didn’t have an ID with him, too. So 3 out 4 didn’t have ID’s. Now there’s a risk of having to go back down and climb Shotgun just so we can ride the trails up Maarat.
I’m both hesitant and excited at the prospect of having to climb Shotgun right after climbing The Wall. It’s a crazy but necessary one if we plan to ride the Maarat trails, and since I’m already there I’m determined to try out the other trails. I don’t think the others felt the same way.
When we get to the gate we informed the guards it was our first time to ride there, the reason why we didn’t have the required ID’s. The guards were understanding and allowed us to proceed just this one time. No problem. Experience is the best teacher. This should now be engraved in our minds: bring ID’s next time!
Warming up for the day’s ride
More uphill climbs, passing the Timberland Clubhouse. Both Jay and I waited for Alain and Mike at the end of the cemented road where the dirt road called Basic Trail (I think, please correct me if I’m wrong) starts. As soon as they arrived we continued on.
Upon reaching the left turn going to Roxas I asked Alain if they wanted to take that route, to pass through a part of the Splash MTB XC Challenge racetrack: we turn left, follow the dirt road with semi-mild ascents and descents, turn right at the wider gravel road (fun, straight, fast, and easy descent; going straight would take us to the end of the Shotgun climb), which then turns into a fully cemented road. My plan from there was to enter the techy single-track with a short creek crossing and 3 sudden climbs (no momentum due to the crossing), exiting back to the Basic Trail but turning left towards Giant instead of right, the racetrack route, which will lead us back to the Timberland Clubhouse.
Alain begged off as Mike was starting to show signs of exhaustion. I wouldn’t blame him, with his heavy downhill bike and a lack of front gears (just 1 chainring up front).
I asked Jay if he was game. He was. In retrospect I think he only agreed because he didn’t know what was up ahead… maybe.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am!
Jay enjoyed the wide downhill section, but being a first-timer he was still keeping his speed in check. Without marshals to warn and show us the way (haha!) we passed by the single-track entrance using up the last bit of momentum we had. I noticed it right away, though, and I was able to brake smoothly and warn Jay about overshooting the entrance. A quick U-turn and a few pedal strokes more my front tire was pointing towards to first section of the mildly twisty tracks.
I warned Jay about the track, telling him if he felt any doubts about what’s up ahead he can just walk the track to be on the safe side. I think he only walked the sudden climbs after the water crossing. Overall he did good for a first-time trail rider. Devirginizing a success!
Upon exiting we turned left and rode the Basic Trail. Talking while riding, even along the sections where we rode single file to avoid muddy sections of the track due to rains in the previous days.
A short and fun technical section to satisfy the itch for “whoopsie” tracks was served by this section: downhill, roots, ruts, rocks, water crossing, slippery-looking rocks, climbs, more roots, and we’re done.
Easy road pedaling
Then we reached the gate (not sure what this area/section is called. Help please?) with no sign of Alain and Mike. Taking out my cell to send Alain a text message to let him know where we are I noticed I didn’t have a cell signal. 3 riders were there so I just confirmed what I already knew from my past experience, “Does this road go straight to Giant?” They told us yes, with just a couple more climbs, but the road is cemented all the way. I thanked them, letting them know we weren’t familiar with the area, and got an invite to ride with them going up. I declined politely, saying we were so hungry and we wanted to get to Giant as soon as possible — their group looked like they were still taking their time before taking off.
Riding up Giant was easy pedaling. In a light curve a biker was coasting down in the opposite direction. I nodded a hello, then noticed a kid was riding a few meters behind him… then 2 more kids… then a woman rider… behind them all was a black Toyota Hilux. I had to smile, and I couldn’t help but feel envious. That was a good family bonding time. Easy downhill ride in Mt. Maarat.
We continue pedaling.
After a while of continuous pedaling we saw 4 more riders ahead of us. I don’t give them a second look, I just concentrate on my pedaling. Then Jay says, “There they are,” and I look up at the group ahead. That’s when I recognize Alain and Mike. With a sly smile I pedal harder then I shoot through the middle of the group, then I veered towards Alain who was in front, and crowded him, emulating an aggressive rider in a race, playfully shaking my bike as I ride to emphasize my mock enthusiasm and determination to overtake him to take the lead, and eventually first place… only in my mind.
I laugh, then Alain expressed his surprise seeing us, I heard him say something about us being fast but I didn’t really understand all his words. Jay continued to pedal, coasting near me. We continued with our original pace leaving the 4 of them behind, since we’re near Giant, anyway.
Jay and I reached Giant, parked our bikes, and got a table. Jay, as with being a good boy scout (sarcasm, please) went straight for a bottle of water. I got a bottle of Sparkle to conserve my own water for the trip back.
It was hot, 11:00 A.M., and Alain wanted Lucky Me! beef noodle soup… hot soup? In this heat? I gave him a funny look and debated it was too hot for soup. He agreed to settle on Lucky Me! instant pancit canton, topped with scrambled eggs. It was a good shock to see the effort to present our food, uhm, artistically? Hehe! Others ordered halo-halo (it was eaten too fast for me to take a picture).
Anyway, after eating there came the stories, jokes, and out came their power sticks (cigarettes).
A last hurrah!
Once we’re ready we started preparing for the ride back. An uneventful ride going back. Too uneventful that I invited Jay and whoever wanted to come to ride the techy single-track portion of the Splash racetrack once more — Alain’s friend, Kenneth, decided to join us. Sort of like a last hurrah before heading home.
The 3 of us who rode the single-track arrived at the prearranged meeting place at the intersection. It was quite a surprise we arrived there first before Alain, Mike, and Andy. We thought we took the longer and slower route (slow as we had to negotiate some obstacles, as compared to the route they took of a wide cemented and gravel road).
Approaching the Timberland gate Alain and Mike opted to ride with Andy and Kenneth. They started loading their bikes in the car, which was parked by the Timberland clubhouse. Their choice was understandable as they pedaled all the way from home. Hitching a ride back after a tiring climb in that heat and not over-exert yourself is a good idea.
When Jay and I reached Aling Tina’s we downed 2 bottles of large Mountain Dew, a few bananas, and more story-telling. When we felt we were rested enough we started loading our bikes in our respective cars, planned to ride together again soon, and went on our way.
It was a fun and easy ride with friends, but I was hoping to ride with the original signees to this ride, and more. Oh well… I’ll just wait for them to come visit our trails here in the south of the metro.
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