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Le Tour de Filipinas 2013 Stage 1

Le Tour 2013 kicks off in Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Riders rush out of the starting line as Le Tour 2013 kicks off in Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Pinoy cyclists gave a gallant fight, but in the end the superior training of foreign pros was just too much. That pretty much sums up the action at the recently concluded Le Tour de Filipinas–the most prestigious biking race in the Philippines.

I was fortunate to have been part of the media contingent for this year’s tour. I was invited by Living Asia Channel to document the event, and am now in the process of writing the script for it. I finally got to see the windmills in Bangui Ilocos Norte, ride through the awesome Patapat viaduct again, see the postcard pretty Marlboro country in Cagayan, and witness the brutal but beautiful uphill road from Nueva Vizcaya to Baguio. Most important of all, I got the chance to observe up close what a UCI sanctioned race looks like. And let me tell you, it’s the next best thing to actually seeing the Tour de France. Read more [+]

Covering the Le Tour de Filipinas 2013

The most prestigious bike race in the Philippines

Le Tour de Filipinas 2013: The most prestigious bike race in the Philippines

Last month, I switched to a 29er bike thinking that this would give me the edge I needed for my very first pure mountain bike race. No, I don’t mean to imply that 29ers are superior machines to 26ers. But as any biker knows, nothing motivates you to practice and hammer the trails quite like a new bike.

But sadly, I will not be taking part in the Giant XC Cup at the scenic La Mesa Forest Reserve. The reason is this: Le Tour De Filipinas 2013— the only UCI certified race in the Philippines. I won’t be taking part in it as a racer, but I will be covering it for a TV channel. Read more [+]

Bisikleta Iglesia

Bisikleta Iglesia

Bisikleta Iglesia: Making a pilgrimage to at lest seven churches by bicycle

Holy week is here. While thousands are preparing to head off to the beach, bikers as usual are looking for the next epic ride. Fortunately, for many religious Pinoy bikers, it is possible mix their passion for biking with the observance of the passion and death of Christ. It’s called Bisikleta Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia is a cherished Filipino tradition every Holy Week. Each year, during Maundy Thursday, thousands of Filipinos across the country make a pilgrimage to at least seven churches to remember the stations of the cross. Two years ago, I and a group of friends thought about giving another twist to this Pinoy custom. We did it by bike–we visited seven churches in our home province of Rizal. Read more [+]

8 tips on buying your first mountain bike

Bikes for sale

How to buy your first mountain bike

So you’re sick of spending the weekends glued to the TV. You’re feeling slightly guilty about spending half your day “liking” status updates. You’ve also noticed your neck is starting to disappear, while another layer of love handles is pushing its way up your sides. 

You know you need to get some exercise, and biking seems a likely choice. It doesn’t look as physically taxing as running, and it can burn as many calories. The only problem is… you don’t have a bike yet. You need to buy your first mountain bike. Read more [+]

Switching to a 29er Bike

 

29er Mountain Bike

29er Mountain Bike

Originally, I wanted to say “Upgrading to a 29er.” But I realized that that would be biased. It would suggest that 26er bikes were somehow inferior, which is hardly the case. There’s a whole bunch of reasons why 26 inch wheels have come to dominate the mountain bike world.

But first things first. For those new to mountain biking, a 29er is a bike that has wheels with a diameter of 29 inches. Standard mountain bikes have smaller 26 inch wheels. And no you can’t simply slap a 29 inch wheel into a standard mountain bike, they just won’t fit. You’ll need a new bike frame and a new fork as well. Read more [+]

Downhill Racing at Antenna Hill

Spyder Downhill Cup, Mountain Biking in the Philippines

Spyder Downhill Cup 2013

It was fast, furious and (from the look on the faces of the racers) extremely fun. Downhill racers maneuvered their heavy full-suspension rigs down a steep hill (45+ degree slopes?) at full speed, not minding the two to four foot drops on a narrow dirt track with trees and boulders thrown in.

As each biker flung himself down the track, the crowd hooted, cheered and some even clapped while contestants put all their skills on display. Such was the atmosphere at the Spyder Downhill Cup, held last February 24th at the “Antenna” in Binangonan, Rizal. Read more [+]

Lance Armstrong, Doper

Lance Armstrong gets taken down by doping allegations. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Like so many of the people who believed him, who got inspired by his story, I tried to cling on to the idea that Lance Armstrong was one of the greatest cyclists ever. Even in the face of mounting evidence that there was something fishy about Armstrong’s superhuman feats in the Tour de France, I shrugged off the accusations as sourgraping by dope cheats and lowlife cynics who just can’t handle the idea that towering greatness does exist in the world.

But then came the USADA. Doubts began to surface and made me think if Armstrong was really the man he marketed himself to be. Read more [+]

Mountain Biking in Sagada

mountain biker in sagada

Sagada: one of the best places in the country to do mountain biking

Ever since I set foot in Sagada over a decade ago, I dreamed about exploring this beautiful mountain town on a bike. Last October I finally got to do this.

Unfortunately, I could not bring my own bike to Sagada. We could not risk taking the car and driving all the way through Cordillera’s twisty roads. I couldn’t find a cheap bike carrying case either which would have allowed me to lug my bike safely onto a bus.Thankfully, you can now rent decent enough mountain bikes for P100/hour from Sagada Mountain Bikes. Read more [+]

La Mesa Offroad Duathlon

 

Mud-spattered participant at the Adrenaline Offroad Duathlon at La Mesa Nature Reserve.

Dirt finds its way into this racer’s tongue and teeth. Photo taken during the Adrenaline Offroad Duathlon at La Mesa Nature Reserve on September 09, 2012 by Raph Rios and the Office of Senator Pia Cayetano.

My first duathlon. The goal was simple: to not suck. By this I meant: to finish at a decent enough time, and maybe (if I was lucky enough) not in the bottom half of the list. It was that simple. I had no illusions about winding up on the top ten, much less stepping up to the podium… well, maybe just a little.

I have heard from friends who’ve done triathlons that duathlons can often be more punishing. Running, then biking, and then running again really test the limits of your legs’ powers of endurance. Against my slacker instincts, I said: Bring it on. I joined the Adrenaline Offroad Duathlon at the La Mesa Nature Reserve on September 9. Read more [+]

Upgraditis or Gear Lust

How do you muster up the fortitude to resist buying new gear when your current ones still work?

So you just bought those new top-of-the-line racing flats. They look great, feel even greater, and they just cost you half a month’s salary. Expensive? Who cares? Because after a week of breaking them in, you feel like you could challenge Dean Karnazes to an ultra smackdown! Hey, bring it on Bikila. Usain Bolt, your days are numbered haha!

But a week later, you pass by your favorite running store. Something catches your attention. What are those things on display? What are those bright, shiny, gorgeous, kickass things? Salivate. Drool. They whisper to you: “Come to me baby… Take me home… Bring me home now and I’ll show you all the pleasures of the world…” Read more [+]