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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!