This was my very first bike race, almost 20 years ago. The route was from Morong Rizal to Real Quezon. So next year, 2016 will be my 20th year since I have joined bike races. Well… a good way to formally declare my retirement from any form of race.
It was only 70 kilometers but it has 2 major climbs- the 14 km Bugarin and the 25 km Famy to Real mountains. It’s still fresh from my mind how we suffered that day. But not because of the difficulty of the route (but don’t take me wrong- it is indeed difficult) as nowadays, we can manage to do this route- but it was more of joining a race unprepared. And of thinking of a race as just a fun bike ride.
It was me, Rodel Palisoc, Harry (Hans Gee- former local Shimano distributor) and Chonny Chan. We just signed in without any serious preparation or training. When the race started, we tried to keep up upfront- a sign of being “amateurs” that we have depleted our life very early on the race. I remember I even slept due to exhaustion in the Famy to Real section (imagine sleeping in a race!). When we were nearing Real, a vehicle passed by the other direction- on the vehicle were the winners of the race egging us to continue and finish the race (not sure if they were really concerned or were they just heckling us). When we arrived at the finish line, people were busy dismantling the stage and other race fixtures. Worst- no more food for us. So I guess the races during that time were more liberal to even allow us to finish…and so were we- we even didn’t mind the embarrassment because if it happened today- I would have just quit.