There have been lots of great mountain bike races earlier this year, but for one reason or another (the main reason being sheer slackiness) I was not able to join any of them. I missed the Trail 1000, the Adrenaline Offroad Duathlon in Timberland, and the Timberland King of the Mountain.
But there was no way I was going to miss the Bente Bente race in UP Diliman. UP is my backyard, after all. And the organizers of the race—the UP Outdoor Recreation Group or ORG was my org back in college.
Besides, unlike the other races which required heaps of beer and pulutan money for the registration fee, you could join this race for the tumataginting na halaga na… beinte pesos—hence the name. Seriously, how could anyone say no to something like that?
And so, though I had barely ridden my bike in the last ten days, I showed up at the UP College of Human Kinetics or CHK to register. I was expecting mostly slackers and soul bikers to sign up, and I was not disappointed. Clearly, this was not the tribe of the Harkor—most of the guys there were just out for a good time.
But among the throng of fun racers, there seemed to be a few bikers who looked like XC Mamaws determined to make the event a bit more interesting. A fellow biker who was a regular at Timberland’s Biker Café even recognized some entrants who were definitely not slackers.
“Madaling mahalata pag malakas o miyembro ng Philippine team,” he said. It’s the jaws, he said.
He pointed out that Mamaw jaws jut out like they were ready to grab you with their teeth and chew you. I filed that bit of wisdom into my cranial hard drive and started thinking about how I could use it to my advantage. Maybe in my next race I will pretend I also had a protruding jaw just so I can intimidate others into making way for me.
Anyway, despite the presence of the “serious racers” the race was still generally “fun” in character. A lot of the participants gave it their all out best in the first section of the race. But when it seemed that it was going to take too much effort to make it to the podium, they gave way to the harkors who were hellbent on getting their hands raised in triumph.
As I expected, I did not make it anywhere near the podium, although I gave it my best like a William Hung on two wheels. But I had lots of fun and that was all that mattered. It was great watching the kids get competitive as only kids can do. It was also great seeing bikes of various disciplines being used to ride the track– there was a dude on a BMX, and someone even used a folding mountain bike. There were a few crashes though, one of which required hospitalization. Hopefully, that kid will get well soon and ride again.
This was actually the second Bente Bente race for the year. The first one was held shortly after the UP trails were finished by volunteers from the CHK and UP Outdoor Recreation Group.
Funds gathered from the race will be used to maintain the UP CHK trails and build new trails, which are free to the public. This means that in the Bente Bente, everyone wins.