Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Biking in the Cordilleras

Mountain biking in Baguio - that's one of the desired destinations of most bikers.  Mountain biking in the Cordilleras - even more desirable.  Barring thin air to breath, amazing views before downhills and killer uphills (and there's a lot of them), biking the Cordilleras is a great experience for anyone from the 'downland' cities.

Last May 21, 2011, we joined the Globe Cordillera Challenge bike ride for the benefit of the Cordillera Conservation Trust.  A little under 200 bikers joined the event contributing P1,000 each, with the end view of helping out in the tree planting campaign of Globe Telecom.  The ride started at 6am at Burnham Park and ended 3pm at the Benguet Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad, covering some 40 kms of combined road and trail sections.  Led by the Globe Adventure Club (GAC) bikers, it was participated in by bikers from the Philippine Mountain Biking Forum (PhilMoFo), the Pinoy Mountain Biking Community (PMTB), Team Holcim and various other individual participant-bikers.

The first 20 kms are mostly road and is easily finished in under 2 hours.  There is an optional quit stop at this stage which also ends at the Benguet Provincial Capitol.  The next 20 kms is a loop around the Capitol but mostly mountain trails and challenging uphills and downhills.
Some of the stronger riders finished this in another 2-3 hours, so as early as 11am some bikers were already resting at the finish and taking an early lunch.  All in all it was a great experience and something to look forward to again next year.  Thank you Globe Telecom for giving back to mother nature, and sponsoring this ride.  Our P1,000 contribution is well worth it - great jersey & arm covers, comfortable ride to & from Baguio, wholesome accommodations & warm meals, careful transport of our bikes, excellent event organization & marshaling, sufficient media coverage, reassuring medics & security, generous co-sponsors, and best of all - the great company of biker friends and new biker friends.

As I was at the receiving end of generous assistance from biker friends when I had a flat tire on my road bike in one night ride down Cabading where they shared their tube patches, I may only be able to repay your good deeds by helping out the next biker in need.  To the Holcim rider who had cramps, I hope you're well & good now;  to the PMTB biker who now has a new chain link, nice knowing you friend.  This is the very essence of biking camaraderie - pay forward.

(with excellent shots from Allan Bantucan, Mountain Bike Philippines, & Ronald Oruga)