4AM my alarm goes off. Having only 4 hours of sleep I wanted so badly to go back to sleep. But we were told we should be at the meeting place by 5:30AM for our trip to the La Mesa Eco-park where we will try out the mountain bike trails there.
This was my second time there, the first time was last Oct. 19, 2008, when ABS-CBN and Bantay Kalikasan held the first Ride with Pride race (the La Mesa Watershed Eco-Bike Challenge), but the race made use of the intermediate trail for its race track.
Anyway, the reason for the early meet-up is to give allowance to latecomers; and we will still have to load the bikes in our assigned vehicles. By 5:45AM we were on our way to Petron along Commerce Ave. in Alabang to meet up with the others, then to Petron along C5 where another friend was waiting, and where the group had breakfast in Jollibee and Chow King.
As with quite a huge group (19 members of the Backout Boys were in attendance) the take-off after breakfast got delayed due to too much yapping — you’d think this will be the last time we will all see each other!
We got to the La Mesa Eco-park at around 8AM, unloaded and assembled the bikes, geared up, and was called by Glenn Flores, the head ranger, for the orientation before entering the trail. But before the orientation a short conversation was overheard between Glenn and M.P. (Master Patutut) that went like this:
M.P.: Saan ang pinakamalayo na pwedeng marating dito?
(Where is the farthest point we can go to?)
Glenn: Sa Tower 1. Pero yun ang pinakamahirap na trail.
(Tower 1. But that would be the most difficult trail we have.)
M.P.: OK! Sige, dun kami!
(OK! That’s where we’ll go!)
I can just smile, as I knew these guys would prefer the most difficult trail. For good reasons:
- We are paying to enter and experience what they have to offer (PhP 200/head, minimum of 5 per group).
- The La Mesa Eco-park is quite far from where we all live, around 2 – 2.5 hours of travel by car, without traffic the Philippines is infamous for.
- Because of points 1 & 2 we want to take advantage of our trip AND our money spent.
During the orientation Glenn informed us the trail we’ll be riding in is 36km long, and warned us that in the La Mesa trails would feel like twice the actual distance. I was quite skeptical about this but in the end I would say the man speaks the truth! From our cyclo computers we only clocked 32km but if felt like 65km.
After a quick prayer we were on our way. The single tracks were damn fun! What these trails lack in technicality it made up for in distance, scenic views (in some parts), cleanliness (relatively), and roller coaster-like terrain (perfect downhills with sudden uphill climbs — SHIFT, SHIFT, SHIFT! ARGHHH!!!).
If only I had a camera mount I would’ve taken pictures and videos while riding, but that isn’t the case, so the only pictures I have are of the group resting and proof that we reached Tower 1. Success!
By the time we got back to the parking lot we were all too tired to take photos… so…
As far as I know there were only 2 spills. Before we arrived there were 4 people waiting to enter the trails, but there is a 5-person rule, so they all had to wait for at least 1 more rider, then we arrived, 19 people. So they all tagged along. One member (I forgot the name, sorry) endo’d I think, as told to us by one of the rangers, so he opted to go back. I don’t know how serious the spill was. They all kept to the rear and I was in the middle so I didn’t see it happen.
On our way back down from Tower 1 we heard someone shout, the kind of shout when someone falls. We found out later on it was our friend Rodel. After a section where the terrain rolls up and down he was riding his downhill momentum to get up the next ascent, and noticed too late everyone in front of him stopped during the ascent. I think he wasn’t able to shift his weight in time while braking and his front tire hit a rock, then he crashed. The mud smears on his jersey looks bad, but he assured us he was fine; he fell on his side just hitting the ground (no protruding tree stump, etc., which is good).
All-in-all everyone had a great time, except for those who opted to go back due to the crash and being too tired to try to reach Tower 1. It was money and time well-spent.
I want to go back. This time I will be more adamant in telling the group to bring more than enough drinks and food. Almost all of us ran out of water and all of them didn’t believe me when I told them to bring extra food as we will need it when we’re inside the trails.
We reached the parking lot at around 3PM. Nice ride!
Possibly Related Posts:
- Back to Insanity, Part 2
- Shotgun: The Hill, now a crime scene
- Back to Insanity!
- Welcome back, sir!
- Philmofo XCM-MIM 2011