I had to ride. I had too many rides canceled just this week due to a number of different reasons.
I felt the desperation yesterday. As soon as my 5-year-old left for school I was alone & it hit me suddenly — I should have prepared to go out for a ride. Timing is crucial in a sense. I only have a few hours to ride in between my youngest leaving for school & all of them arriving home. 30 minutes, more or less, one-way just to get to the Daang Hari police outpost, the usual meeting place.
When my wife’s working from home there isn’t much pressure. But she wasn’t home yesterday, as today.
I would have been able to ride Tuesday and/or Wednesday this week but my second son came down with fever. He went back to school yesterday, that’s another reason for me being surprised about the peacefulness of the house, then the realization I could have taken a quick ride.
Call to arms!
After the sound of silence, accompanied by the realization I could have rode my bike, I sent a text message to Keelo asking if he wanted to ride tomorrow (today). Possible meet-up time was discussed (morning, I had to be home by 8:45 A.M.) I had the idea of riding again at 2:30 P.M., so that info was relayed. He wasn’t available for the afternoon ride.
A tweet was also sent out with the possible riding schedules. It was a form of invitation to everyone if they wanted to join.
Morning ride didn’t push through because of rains the night before & Keelo got his appointment moved earlier. I didn’t want a half-assed ride of taking shortcuts because of time constraints. Not to mention the trails would definitely be wet.
Around 11:00 A.M. today I noticed the sun was out. Looks like the afternoon ride’s a go, I thought. So I made a pact with myself to ride today. I put my bladder (for the hydrapack) inside the freezer & cranked up the thermostat (Disclaimer: Just until I have to leave. Disclaimer to the disclaimer: I think my wife sometimes reads my blog).
- Phones. Check.
- Philmofo ID card. Check.
- SSS card, ATM card. Check, check.
- Money. What money? OK, wallet. What for? Just do it. Fine, check.
- MP3 player, earphones. Check, check.
- Underwear, jersey, shorts, socks. Check x 4.
- Glasses. Check. (Can’t wait to get my Spy!)
- Nema gloves. Check.
- Helmet. Check
- GoPro camera. Batteries not charged. Oops.
After getting the bike from the stand I noticed the front tire to be on the soft side. At least it wasn’t flat. So I got my air pump & checked both tires. Now we’re good to go! Rolling out!
To trail or not to trail…?
Nearing the trailhead by Fernbrook I couldn’t stop wondering how the Malipay trails are now. Will it still be wet from yesterday’s rain? Would it have dried up by now since the sun had been out all morning & noon. I only had one way to find out.
I stepped-up to the last curb to get to the Fernbrook trail entry to Malipay. The footpath still had patches of mud. No problem with slow riding, but I was used to riding these trails quite fast. Blame the Backout Boys. I stopped a local walking on the path & asked her about the conditions inside. Is it wet? She said no. There was a chance she lived just nearby making the route she’s taking dry because of busy foot traffic. I decided against going in through here. So I turned back & continued pedaling to Portofino Amore, our usual trail entrance.
I can just exit Fernbrook if the trails are dry, I thought.
The route I took wasn’t our normal route. I did detours to avoid areas I know will be wet. Deep ravines that would still have standing water at the bottom. Reason for this is it breaks the flow of the ride. Plus the bottoms of these ravines have been destroyed by Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana). Safety also played a part in my decision to avoid these areas. A lone mountain biker in Malipay. Paranoid much?
But with the detours I was still able to enjoy the ride, solo at that. It has been a long time since I’ve truly enjoyed a solo ride. With the great network of trails in Malipay one can create a number of different routes & still be able to ride everything, without backtracking. Sure, I did smaller loops but I didn’t go through the trail I rode on as I exited these loops — except for the double tracks that serve as the main road of the area.
On the single tracks which was leading to the end of the ride I opted not to go too fast. Normally we would be riding fast in this tight & winding single track. After a few meters I decided to ease up on the pedaling. I didn’t have to ride fast, anyway.
Good call on my side, too. As I approached one of the many twisty curves of the trail I noticed something orange move in between the bushes. With my earphones on & my MP3 player blasting out a Slapshock song I didn’t hear the 2 local women talking while walking. I stopped & moved to the side of the trail to let them pass.
The 2 women had huge basins with freshly-washed clothes on their heads. I smile & greet them a good afternoon. They smile & greet back, and said, “Tinanghali na kami (Took us quite a while)!” They just came from a stream where they normally wash their clothes. Seems like they were there the whole day washing, since morning.
When the track was clear I pushed off & continued pedaling lightly. I give in a little to the urge to ride these tracks fast, but still controlling my speed. I didn’t meet anyone else along the way.
When I reached the tamarind tree I decided not to stop. I can drink from my hydrapack while riding, anyway. With the wide open space & established track, with clumps of tall grass making a part of this track tight for 2 bikers, I pedal easily, lightly. Enjoying the afternoon, enjoying the place, enjoying the ride.
I reach the main dirt road once more near a community store, but I didn’t stop, deciding to turn left towards the Fernbrook exit (turning right would lead me to Amore). Again, I have just finished a smaller loop. I just passed here 10 minutes ago. With the slight rolling terrain I let my bike freewheel.
I did quite a distance of no pedaling & I laughed to myself. Suddenly the chorus of the song started playing in my head, “Easy like Sunday morning…!”
I left the house at 2:30 P.M. Around 3:45 P.M. I was along Daang Hari pedaling. Going the opposite direction. I was so tempted to stop him, talk, & ask if he’ll be entering the trails, or if he’s willing to enter if we’ll both together. But I decided not to. I was satisfied with the easy trail ride today. Getting home early would give me much time to spare before the kids arrive home from school. So I pedal, lightly, contently, towards home.
Now to focus on tomorrow’s race.Did you like this story? Buy me a coffee!
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