I have started biking since I was 8 years old but it was only when I was 26 years old when I first tried bike racing. The second time, it was mountain biking almost after 6 years of the first experience. It was only after the second time, a mountain bike competition that I gave a serious look at racing and started entering a lot of these races. Prior to this, I was already joining marathons and adventure races. I think the reason for being a late bloomer in cycling is maybe because before, almost all bike races are geared towards the elite riders or in short, there are no categories, and if there is, most probably its only regarding age. There is no or too little races under the “executive category”. Though this category issue is something controversial (i.e. there were even a race where an employment certificate identifying the participant as in a managerial level became a rule- discriminating the other “blue collared” riders as if short of saying “we create this race that we want to control so that we can increase our chances of winning”); this is a topic I leave others to argue as I am no longer part of the road racing scheme. But one last note on this- as if even in bike racing we would want to create boundaries between the haves and have-nots.
Going back, I consider myself as an under achiever in terms of competitive cycling. I mask this with my motto- “I only race for fun!” I also justify this by stating the fact that I started competitive cycling when I was already past my prime cycling years. And further- as a mountaineer or outdoors-man- I am not really competitive and my sport are usually those that relieves stress rather than create one. This is coming from a man who has a Joe Friel book in his library as early as the 90s. Nevertheless I still dream of one time winning a bike race or two but as years past, this bucket list of mine is something I think I would no longer fulfill.
As I often fondly narrates- my first bike race experience happened in 97 when I and Rodel Palisoc decided to join a race with out any serious or even non-serious training, if there is such a thing. It was the Morong to Real Quezon Race known as the Rudy Project Classics. It was a funny experience as it was one hell of a ride for us. At the start of the climb in Bugarin we barely made it alive and we still have to climb the Famy-Real road! I remember I stopped in one store in the hi-way were after eating, I think I fell asleep for about 5 minutes and it was a bike race! As we entered Real, we were surprised that a truck going back to Manila has some riders shouting at us to continue on. They have finished the awarding ceremony, took their lunch and rested and then decided to go home while we were still on route to the finish line. It was one first race experience.
That was the only road race I have joined in my life to date. At around 2003 I started joining mountain bike races from the San Mateo races, to the Sabak pump track races, the track installed in the current location of Serendra, La Mesa races to town fiesta races. I didn’t have any remarkable finish ranking in all of those races. While my fellow MMS members who have started biking just recently like Juboy Willkomm and Wiwit Acuna has already started winning races. That and maybe a couple of other factors converged which includes age, reality, time, family, career and my real interest which is bike touring and hiking that made me decide that I’m done with racing. That was the time we have just started the AllTerra Cycling Team.
That doesn’t mean I have shut down my racing career for good. I still join races once in a while. This time its really just for fun…