Getting some air on the Nuvali 4X track during the Dirt Weekend 2015
Nuvali is a vast real estate development in Sta. Rosa Laguna has been attracting bikers from all over Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. I’d been hearing lots of good things about this place for quite some time now–chiefly about its amazing trails and scenery.
I’d always wanted to check out Nuvali and sample its dirt, but I often got discouraged from going there. Why? Because it meant loading up the bike on the car, and braving the infamous gridlocks of Southern Metro Manila. Yeah, I’ve said it before: nothing ruins my day quite like getting stuck in traffic.
But last December, I finally got to bike in Nuvali.The almighty mountain biking gods accepted my sacrifices of virgin titanium spokes and graciously granted me my most fervent wish! Or almost. Actually, my wife got invited by Seda Hotel for a free overnight stay through her travel blog. Since we were going to be resting, relaxing and luxuriating in an excellent hotel for FREE (!!!), the dreaded traffic going to Sta. Rosa seemed less dreadful. Read more [+]
New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail
I love trail running as much as I love mountain biking. This is why I was quite excited to try out the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 when it was unveiled several months ago.
This shoe has generated a lot of hype. The very name itself was calculated to stir up buzz and incite curiosity. Fresh Foam: does this mean every other foam used in every other athletic shoe has become stale? What the heck is so fresh with this foam anyway?
Well, honestly, not that much. The foam isn’t really that (excuse the pun) groundbreaking. But it’s the shoe’s marriage of the virtues of minimalism and maximalism which really distinguishes it from the current crop of running footwear. Read more [+]
One of several skylights in Calinawan Cave
Calinawan Cave is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Tanay. This cave lies just a few kilometers from the always crowded Daranak Falls, and is usally reached by renting tricycles from the Tanay poblacion. Last weekend however, TravelUp and I thought that it would be more interesting to visit Calinawan on our bikes.
I first learned of Calinawan Cave about two years ago when I joined the Nature’s Trail Discovery Run in Tanay. After finishing that 21k race, I promised myself I’d return to Calinawan and enjoy this place at a more leisurely pace. Last weekend, I was finally able to do that. Read more [+]
Introducing the Merrell AllOut Fuse
Buying a new pair of running shoes is a tricky affair. There is a bewildering variety of shoes to choose from. In the old days, all you had to consider was color (uy ang ganda ng red!) and brand (parang mas seryoso ang dating ng Adidas kesa Nike). Now a shoe buyer also has to consider whether he needs traditional thick soled shoes divided along stability, neutral and cushioned; minimalist shoes that promise to get you more connected to the ground; or maximalist shoes that promise to keep you floating over the terrain.
I’ve always preferred minimalist shoes. It may not be a style that suits everyone, but it just works for me. So when my road runners began to show signs of falling apart, I started scouring the running blogs for a shoe that would be a worthy replacement. The blogs all hinted that the shoe I needed to buy was this: Merrell AllOut Fuse. Read more [+]
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. Read more [+]
Volunteers repack relief goods at Power Up Gym in Tandang Sora. The goods were directly transported to the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar. Photo grabbed from Power Up Climbing Gym’s FB page
I had a lot of stories lined up for the blog. But when Supertyphoon Yolanda slammed into the country, writing about biking, running, climbing and other activities I enjoyed just didn’t seem appropriate.
Amid the destruction and suffering wrought by this horrifying force of nature, it just didn’t seem right to post anything that suggested happiness. Against this backdrop of demolished houses, bloated corpses and wounded desperate human beings, stories about biking up and down a steep hill, or breaking a personal running record not only seemed trivial but also insensitive. Read more [+]
Sagada: one of the best places for mountain running
Sagada has always been one of my favorite destinations in the Philippines. The cool clean and crisp air, the mountains covered in a thick forest of evergeens, the clearest dome of blue that is the sky over the town, the cliffs carved by eons of rain and sun which are just begging to be gripped and climbed, and the friendly people and their unique culture–all of this always makes for a transcendent retreat.
Last year, on All Saints Day, Kara and I went there on a much needed vacation. We were also looking forward to witnessing the unique custom of Sagada on Novemeber 1st called Pinag-aapoy. Here locals build a small bonfire on their loved ones’ graves instead of lighting candles.
But first, I had to get my runnng fix that morning. I was training for a 21k trail run that month and needed to keep my cardio level up. And Sagada was just perfect for running. Read more [+]
The La Mesa Nature Reserve is one of the best running and biking trails in Metro Manila. It’s always been a favorite trail of mine because it never fails to give both newbies and old timers a very satisfying endorphin kick, while making them realize what a beautiful well-preserved forest looks like. These were some of the reasons why I couldn’t pass up the chance to race in La Mesa again.
Mud, sweat and gears: we often hear these words used to describe top MTB racing events. This year’s La Mesa Offroad Duathlon was all that and more. Much more.
Last October 13, just after Typhoon Santi dumped a week’s worth of rain on Luzon before saying sayonara to the Philippines, around 200 trail runners and mountain bikers made a pilgrimage to La Mesa to test their mettle in the forest’s soaked earth. Many of them were casual bikers and first timers who wanted a get a taste of the booming multisport scene. Others apparently were triathlon veterans who wanted to add dirt to their resumes. Read more [+]
It’s tricky to descend into and then climb out of these bridges. Photo courtesy of Bong Madriaga
The first time I came to La Mesa several years ago, I couldn’t believe that there was such a place right inside Metro Manila. I had heard a lot about the place, about the beauty of its trails, and the postcard (or is it Instagram?) perfect scenery you get to enjoy while biking there. But nothing compares to seeing it for yourself.
Let’s just get something out of the way first. The biking destination I am talking about is the La Mesa Nature Reserve, not the La Mesa Ecopark. The former has kilometers upon kilometers of well-maintained fire roads and singletrack which can take you a whole day to explore. The latter (the Ecopark) is a smaller park which features boating, paintball, and a few kilometers of biking. It’s more suited for family picnics instead of mountain biking. It’s easy to confuse the two parks because both are maintained by ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan. Read more [+]
Hardcore dude thinks shoes are optional for trail runs like this
Race Report: Nature’s Trail Discovery Run 2013 (Leg 1)
Daraitan in Tanay, Rizal is legendary for Manila mountain bikers who have a serious craving for pain. I’ve heard bikers compare Daraitan with Sta. Ines—that other brutal biking route in Tanay, with some saying that Daraitan was probably the more difficult of the two.
I had never been to Daraitan until I joined this year’s first leg of Nature’s Trail Disovery Run. But after running to and from Daraitan, I can safely say that Daraitan is the more difficult climb.
The dirt road from the river bed to the highway seemed to go on forever. The road grade is also something that could put Shotgun to shame. It was a great race and a feast for people whose idea of fun is generating gallons of lactic acid in their legs. Read more [+]