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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.

Antenna Hill topview

The view from the top of the Antenna Hill in Binangonan, Rizal

For a lot of mountain bikers in Metro Manila and Rizal, Antenna needs no introduction. For nearly two decades now, the high hill topped with a radio tower in San Carlos Heights in

Barangay Tayuman has been drawing bikers like ants to a sugary treat. Weekend warriors who like a bit of challenge have been trooping to this hill to test their lungs and legs. And when they get to the top of the hill, there’s a great scenic route that leads downhill to the Thunder trail nearby.

Downhill bike being towed by a motorcycle to the top of the antenna hill

Downhill bikes are so heavy that they need to be towed by motorcycles to the top of antenna hill. You can pedal them uphill if you’re a masochist.

Cross country bikers rave about this place, but last Sunday it was the Downhill tribe that it played host to. More than 180 downhill racers took part in the race organized by Team Haooh (don’t ask me to pronounce that).

Racers sign up for the Spyder Downhill Cup 2013

Nearly 200 racers signed up for the Spyder Downhill Cup 2013.
Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

For those new to the sport, downhill biking demands a more dedicated skill set than cross country, which is why I am not a downhiller. For cross country or XC, endurance is what counts. You need lung and leg power to go the distance.

The downhill race starting ramp

A downhill racer prepares to descend from the starting ramp.
Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

For downhill or DH races, what counts is bike handling skills, and a whole lotta cojones to rush down a route where the slightest mistake could mean debilitating injury or even an untimely demise. Along with Freeride (another MTB discipline) downhilling is at the extreme of the mountain biking sport.

Downhill racer negotiates the steep slope

This is a lot harder than it looks. Normal mountain bikers would probably just dismount instead of descending this track.

As someone who was raised in the town of Binangonan, I can’t help but feel proud that the place was chosen as the site for the Spyder Downhill Cup. Me and my fellow bikers in BOMBA (Binangonan Outdoor and Mountain Biking Association) know that our town and its adjacent areas have a lot of great trails to offer MTBers who wouldn’t mind a bit of exploring.

So congratulations to all the winners, and kudos to Team Spyder and Haooh Racing for organizing this event. Hopefully, there will be more races held in Binangonan. Anyway, here are some pics from the race. Btw, who knew that it was possible to go paragliding over the hills of Binangonan? Wow!

A downhill racer jumps a drop

Cojones. You need ’em here

Downhill race fans line up the track

Downhill race fans line up the track. Of course, beer is always welcome in this spectator sport.

Downhill race contestants

Downhill race contestants wait for their turn on the ramp with guest photographer and downhill racer Trixx Ramos

Downhill racers weave through twisting track

Technical skills are a must too.

Downhill race contestants resting and waiting for their turn on the track

Guys who like livin’ on the edge… and then going over it at full speed

Downhill racer jumps a drop again

Might as well jump…

Another downhill drop

… just go ahead and jump.

Downhill racer lands

But you also got to know how to land from those jumps

Downhill racer motion blurred

The world is but a blur from the cockpit of these monster bikes

Downhill racer jumps again

And then you jump some more…

Paraglider in Binangonan

What the heck is this? Looks like some dude is getting ready to paraglide from antenna hill!
 Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

Paraglider launches from antenna hill in Binangonan

Some people like to go downhill in a more leisurely way I guess.
Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

Paraglider in Binangonan

Who knew that the hills of Binangonan could also be a playground for paragliders? This is something that definitely needs a second and third look. Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

Paraglider in Binangonan 4

Kudos to you Mr. Paraglider! I hope you come back to Binangonan, and teach us how to soar through the air like you!
Photo courtesy of Trixx Ramos

 

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59 Comments

  • nice article sir!

  • When I’m in Japan, to discover this place on Google Maps, I have come to flying.
    I want to make a flying club here.
    Once back in Japan, I also come back here in May.

    • Yes! Please set up a flying club here! I know lots of people who would join, including me :-) It was great to see you fly

  • hi again mr. skyhabu, just saw more your paragliding pics on http://www.panoramio.com/photo/86282494

  • I fly at any time. If the wind is 3 ~ 5m / s,
    Because I live in the hills near the antenna.

    • outsideslacker

      March 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      wow! hope to see you again in binangonan one of these days. please tell me when you plan to go flying again. i would like to take photos

  • richard madrid

    March 26, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    sir outsideslacker,

    i bumped into your blog and really find it interesting and informative at the same time.

    im also a mtbiker and also really interested on base jumping, but as for the needed budget to do so, you know the next story.

    then i saw this blog, and the paraglider, it would be nice to meet you and the paragliding guy.

    as for the idea of the flying club, and whoever interested and willing to do this activity, count me in! and my girlfriend :)

    looking forward on riding the antenna hill.

    • outsideslacker

      March 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      hi richard,

      thanks. i hope to bump into mr. skyhabu (the paraglider) soon too! he seems like a really nice and cool dude. i don’t know when i’ll be returning to antenna, but i’ll keep you posted. that mtb destination deserves a whole article in itself, with great photos.

      thanks for dropping by!

      • richard madrid

        March 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

        pls inform me when youll be riding the antenna. if ever where will you be coming from? im from bataan and currently on a DIY bike rack project so i can bring my bike. been riding for about 6mo now and would be really thankful if i could ride along.

        • outsideslacker

          March 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

          wow, bataan is kinda far from binangonan, rizal :) for you to make that trip, the ride has to be really epic! antenna is ok for a weekend half day ride, but if you’re from bataan, maybe you should try out the province’s legendary “killer loop.” on the other hand, if mr. habu allows us to try paragliding, than i’m sure your trip all the way from bataan will be worth it :)

          • richard madrid

            March 28, 2013 at 8:32 pm

            ive ridden parts of the killer, wasnt able to complete the loop yet, i just got back riding after 16 weeks off the saddle from a crash when i was stupid enough not to bring my helmet.

            yeah mr glider should let us try! thats still in may. i might try the antenna this summer. thatd be great.

          • outsideslacker

            March 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm

            Ouch. Been in a couple of accidents myself :-p let’s set a ride sometime next month. Got to fix my sched

  • I am the first time in a while.
    I’m in Japan now.
    I’m go back to May twenty days.
    I teach paragliding for two months afterwards.

    • richard madrid

      March 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      mr habu.

      im looking forward to meet you and call you sensei ! please do come back! your always welcome here in the Philippines!

  • Hey richard madrid
    I returned to the Philippines in May.
    Let’s live in Japan and the Philippines every two months.
    I stay in the Philippines and from December to March.

  • HI !
    I teach paragliding in 23 to 26 of May.
    Morning, please come at nine.
    It is a Seven-Eleven shops of Angono Highway.

    • richard madrid

      May 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      mr. habu, would there be any requirement when you teach us paragliding? i mean fees, clearances, gadgets, equipments, other important skills and knowledge necessary? and if you have a phone number so we could call you for easier communication, thank you.

      sir outsideslacker sorry if this post would seem too personal. thank you also!

  • Saturday and Sunday,
    I am waiting to AM 9:00 to Seven-Eleven.By ANGONO HI WAY
    tel 094 2472 9518

  • In order to establish a paragliding club, you want to hear the opinions of everyone.
    Thanks in advance.
    E mail skyhabu@gmail.com

    • outsideslacker

      May 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Hi mr. Habu, me and my wife will meet you in angono on sunday :-) please reserve a slot for us

  • OK ! I’m drinking juice in AM 9:00 in the Seven-Eleven. G(^o^)v

    • outsideslacker

      May 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      thanks for teaching us how to paraglide mr. habu! i’ll call your number later so we can schedule another lesson! :)

  • OK ! I can teach every day.
    I can not go to not have to think the transport of paragliding.

    • outsideslacker

      June 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

      i will be riding my bicycle in antenna later. hope to see you paragliding there again mr habu :)

  • You guys could not be flight without time Hi last time, two people now, I will present a tandem paragliding.
    I will be back on June 28.

  • Hi hello !
    Do you want a tandem flight this Sunday?
    I am preparing a paraglider.

  • Hi Richard
    AM 10:00 Seven-Eleven is set.
    I do not have a car
    ———————————————
    Hi Richard
    10:00 AM Pitong-Eleven ay nakatakda.
    Hindi ko magkaroon ng isang kotse

    • outsideslacker

      June 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      hi mr. habu. can i reschedule for monday? i will be working in the office this sunday

  • Sunday, Monday, both OK!
    I pray that the weather is good.

    Where I could not stolen mobile phone.
    I wait in the Seven-Eleven at 10:00 morning.

    • outsideslacker

      June 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      hi mr. habu. we’re you able to go flying today? weather forecast says it may still be windy and rainy tomorrow monday. please advise. do you have a new celphone number?

    • richard madrid

      July 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      mr habu! tomorrow me and my girlfriend will be there in seven – eleven! i cant reach you through your mobile phone. we will be there at 10 am!

  • Good evening everyone, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

  • sir, any news from mr Habu? we really like to try out paragliding, also if you have his number? thank you sir!

  • Up to 1/3 to 1/7, to stay in Angono, up to 1/8 to 1/10 day, staying in Kota Kinabalu.
    Phone in the Philippines is 093 3547 7469.
    By HABU

  • sir, saan po ba makakabili ng atomic brand frames and parts/components/accessories?

    • outsideslacker

      August 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      bro, widely available na ang atomic frames and parts. i just went to glorious ride bikeshop last week. marami sila dun atomic bikes

  • Hi,

    Does Mr. Habu still offer paragliding lessons up to now? Very keen in learning this activity.

    Thanks!

    • outsideslacker

      March 8, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      i haven’t been in touch with habu for 2 years now. nagpalit kasi yata sya ng number. am not sure if he still offers paragliding lessons in binangonan :(