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Duathlon: More Fun in Batangas

Batangas Duathlon

The duathlon is my favorite kind of race. I like biking, and I like running, and there’s nothing quite like combining the two in one event. So when I got an invitation to try out the Batangas Earth and Water Festival duathlon, I immediately said: Oooh… Hell… Yeah!

Besides, how could anyone say no to a race which promised to take participants down to Taal Lake? So, even though, I had absolutely no practice, and could never do any track read, I signed up for the 5k-20k-3k race. I knew I would suck, but I didn’t care. It’s not everyday that you get to race in a special place like Taal Lake. It also helped that the guys who invited me to the race also threw in a free stay at the excellent Lima Park Hotel.

I just had one problem: was it going to be a trail duathlon or a road duathlon?

Apparently it was the latter. And as I looked at the rows of slick road bikes and road-optimized mountain bikes being slung on the rack at the transition area, I could only hope that these intimidating, ripped, hardcore-looking guys would bonk at some point in the race. I hoped that maybe they got dumped by their girlfriends the night before, drank several longnecks of Emperador afterwards, and were eventually going to break down crying and screeching like Piolo Pascual in some cheesy melodrama. It was the only chance I had of not sucking so bad. Read more [+]

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail

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 [+]

Gear Review: Merrell AllOut Fuse

Merrell AllOut Fuse

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 [+]

A Different Kind of Duathlon on Mt. Isarog

Guest post by Travel Up

mt isarog eco-tourism endurance challenge bikingThe first ever Mount Isarog Eco-Tourism Endurance Challenge last June 15 saw challengers running and biking through the natural forest parks in Camarines Sur, Bicol. The challenge which combined trail biking and trail running, incorporated a pili planting activity at the foothills of Mt. Isarog, which is known for its rich biodiversity, to mark World Environment Day. Read more [+]

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. Read more [+]

Running in Sagada, with Iyer and Kundera

Running in Sagada

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 [+]

La Mesa Offroad Duathlon 2013

La Mesa Offroad Duathlon 2013, Mountain Biking in the PhilippinesThe 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 [+]

Pinoy Sets Record At US Ultramarathon

Simon Sandoval

Simon Sandoval, the Pinoy ultrarunner who set a new record at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run

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Simon Sandoval of Makati City, Metro Manila sets a New Course Record for a Local Pinoy Ultra Runner at the 40th Edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race (WS100), considered as the oldest and most prestigious ultra marathon mountain trail race in the world. He finished the race in 27 hours 9 minutes 53 seconds with a ranking of 156th out of 277 finishers in the second hottest edition in the history of the race where the temperature registered triple digits as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the mountain canyons of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges & Western States Trails. Sandoval was the lone representative of the country out of the 22 countries and 40 states in the US that were represented in the said race in this year’s edition. Read more [+]

Biking and Running in UP Diliman

U.P. Diliman Biker

For running and biking, the U.P. Diliman campus is the best destination in Metro Manila

If New York City has its Central Park, Metro Manila has the UP Diliman campus. No disrespect to Luneta and the QC circle, but in terms of wide and green open spaces, the 493 hectare flagship campus of the State University is unmatched in Metro Manila. The campus is a gigantic garden with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities can be held. I am not sure if there’s a place that can compare to it in the Metro.

Bonifacio Global City may have lots of runnable and bikeable pavement, but its small trees hardly provide any shade. Luneta and Roxas Boulevard meanwhile have deteriorated a lot, as evidenced by the seemingly uncollectable trash along the baywalk. If you’re sick of breathing in the brown, oily halitosis of Metro Manila while running or biking, UP Diliman is the best place to go inside the Metro. Read more [+]

Trail Running in Daraitan

Barefoot Trail Runner in Daraitan in Nature's Trail Discovery Run 2013 (Leg 1)

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 [+]