I keep mentioning Timberland and The Wall in this blog, that I sometimes forget that not everyone knows what I’m talking about. When you’re a long time biker, it’s easy to treat it as common knowledge. But I’ve been learning recently that a lot of visitors to this blog are newbies, as evidenced by the most popular article on this site.
So for anyone and everyone who has ever wondered, here’s the lowdown on Timberland and The Wall.
Timberland is in San Mateo. It’s a subdivision and outdoor recreational area atop a hill overlooking Metro Manila. From here you can get a nice view of the city. Most of the time though, Metro Manila is covered by thick brown mist, which makes you wonder what kind of filthy toxic soup it is you’re breathing when you’re down there.
Anyways, see this map? It’s how you get there. Just type Timberland San Mateo on Google Map and voila!
Many bikers in Metro Manila nurture this belief that you can’t really consider yourself a mountain biker if you haven’t been to The Wall. If you’re not familiar with The Wall, it’s that nearly 2 kilometer stretch of uphill paved road that leads to the gates of Timberland.
Of course, it’s not called The Wall for nothing. In less than 2 kilometers, you get an elevation of over 800 feet. For a biker, it does feel like hitting a high concrete barrier. Punching through that beast, and getting past its extremely steep grade is considered a rite of passage.
Newbies who have been biking for just a month are not advised to try and scale The Wall.
A week ago, I went to Timberland with some new biker friends. One of them was Thomas, a former US Army guy who had started biking just two weeks earlier. Thomas is a big strong guy who was just starting to like the trails. We thought he could easily handle The Wall.
Big mistake. The Wall can be deceptive, just when you thought you had rounded up the steepest part, just when you thought you could finally gear down, it throws another one in your face. It takes a lot of fortitude not to yell: What the Hell!
The first time I went there four years ago, I had to dismount twice. While I already had some experience in ascending the steep road in Antenna, The Wall was something else.
The nice thing about it is there’s plenty of food to be had at the end. Vendors sell carb- and electrolyte-rich bananas and suman. You can also have drinks and meals at Marc’s–the carinderia at the gates of Timberland.
Some bikers learn to like it and even look forward to testing themselves against it. Others swear at it and head straight for the trails, of which Timberland has plenty.
But I’ll reserve that for another post ;) The Blue Zone and Green Zone deserve a story of their own. Shotgun too. Maarat is definitely worth a thousand words and dozens of pictures.
PS. If you’re a newbie and you really want to test yourself on The Wall, don’t be embarrassed to dismount and walk when you feel that you’ve gassed out. And take it easy on the descent, a lot of bikers (even experienced ones) have crashed on that super fast descent.