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Selfie Run up Shotgun San Mateo

Shotgun San Mateo

Because selfies are very important in a run like this

Shotgun in San Mateo: Masochistic mountain bikers consider this the ultimate trophy in Metro Manila. It is 5 kilometers of almost relentless climbing that only gets more difficult with each turn. Last weekend I thought of doing a different challenge on Shotgun. Instead of biking all the way to top, I was gonna run it and see if I still had my mountain legs.

Shotgun is without doubt, the most punishing climb a mountain biker or runner can do near Metro Manila. The road is steep—definitely one of the steepest in the country. The Wall is a difficult climb, but Shotgun takes that difficulty to an even more sinister level.

Take the most difficult section of The Wall and multiply it three times and you get a good idea of what I’m talking about. Just when you thought you’d get a reprieve, just when you thought you’d get a chance to recover, the next twist in the road smacks you in the face with even more climbing. Such is the evil that is Shotgun.

Merrell Trail Gloves

These are the best minimalist shoes for climbing and descending

I parked my bike at Biker’s Café and made my way to the fork in the road which led to Shotgun. Early on the way up, I got passed by mountain bikers who I thought were a bit over eager. But a few minutes later, I was passing bikers who were now huffing, fading, and moving slower than Mar Roxas in Tacloban.

This is one of the weird things about this route. It’s a lot easier and faster to run Shotgun. I mean that in all honesty and without a hint of bragging. Riding Shotgun (no pun intended) means hauling a 25-35 pound bike up a very steep relentless incline. All that weight can really slow you down, which is why bikers often stop to catch their breath and recover.

Shotgun San Mateo

Look at how steep and evil that road is. And it goes on for several kilometers

Picture this: your legs are already boiling with lactic acid, you’re struggling to suck oxygen into your chest, your pores are pumping out gallons of sweat in a desperate attempt to cool you down, and all the while the sun is baking your sorry ass. Not exactly fun eh?

Shotgun San Mateo

The road just goes on and on

But strangely enough, my stab at Shotgun last week was one of the most enjoyable runs I had ever done. Thank heavens for amihan. It seemed as if someone had turned on the turbo cooler, which made it possible for me to run up Shotgun without overheating and with just one water bottle.

Shotgun San Mateo

I hope this trail never gets paved

Shotgun San Mateo

But at the end of paved segment, you get a pretty good view of Metro Manila

Shotgun San Mateo

Trails and climbing, just what the doctor ordered

Shotgun San Mateo

I first ran Shotgun last year in the wake of typhoon Santi.

Shotgun San Mateo

The hills are alive with the sound of labored breathing

Shotgun San Mateo

First time visitors to Shotgun often make a lot of rest stops. Veterans too

Shotgun San Mateo

The only store you’ll encounter on the way up

Shotgun San Mateo

An indigent family gets water from a spring on the side of the road. I’m not sure how clean or reliable this spring is. Access to clean water is supposed to be a human right, and yet thousands like this mother and daughter are deprived of this simple need.

NOTE:
If you plan to run or bike Shotgun, you should start at around 6:00AM. You should also try to finish the climb before 9:00AM because you don’t want to get sun-baked on the way up.

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3 Comments

  • Magandang Araw Sir,

    Itatanong ko lang sana kung posible pa bang dumaan mula shotgun papuntang timberland? Ung trail na lalabas ka ng roxas?

    Salamat

    • outsideslacker

      July 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      hi ralph, last year pa sarado yung trail na yun. pero may mga pumapasok pa rin daw na nago-oberdabakod. (disclaimer: outsideslacker does not condone oberdabakod escapades! hehe) nagawa na yun dati ng ilan na taga bike bros ph…. pero di ako kasama :)