Yesterday, I had my first ride to Bugarin. Bugarin is a town somewhere in Rizal, famous as a long bike ride destination, a sort of Mecca for the biking faithful. We set off from Club Manila East in Taytay, with my tri-buddies Butch Rayos and Anthony Eisma.
We started with a group of Taytay cyclists, regulars of Bugarin, at around 8am. It was a slow pace initially, but I couldn’t keep up with the biking pack, as they weaved their way among jeepneys and tricycles along the highway. I did manage to catch up, as the group had a stopover in a place they call Kabayo (because of a horse statue), about halfway through. The three of us decided to proceed, as we figured these guys would certainly catch up with us. Mercifully, after 35 kilometers of biking, we stopped for a little respite in a small restaurant just before the uphill climb to Bugarin.
I pulled out my Cloud 9 chocolate bar, the everydayman’s equivalent of a Powerbar, and guzzled up a bottle of C2. In addition, I had coffee, two bananas, and a somewhat huge serving of puto (there wasn’t anything smaller, probably portioned for bikers hehe). A Lance Armstrong quote whizzed through my mind, of cyclists as eating machines, eating and drinking constantly from the get-go. I felt no guilt stuffing myself up.
A lone cyclist with a dust mask appears from the distance, and stops to chat with us. It turns out to be a 65-year old Finnish guy, settled in Antipolo with his Filipina wife, trying to catch up with his group that had left much earlier, also to Bugarin. We invite him to join us.
We finally take off, the four of us. It was a nice ride uphill: the roads were smooth asphalt, the weather was cool. Good thing I had just recently upgraded my road bike to a compact crankset, which made the ride all the more pleasant, although it wasn’t really apparent as I was dripping sweat like a faucet. In contrast, I turn around and see the Finnish guy whistling, and he’s riding on a steel bike with these huge plates!
It was a good 10 kilometers up, and we finally reach the peak. Nothing really spectacular, just a roadside restaurant, with a long bike rack as its distinguishing feature. There were a lot of bikers as there was a race earlier. We stop for a while and chat with some of them; in the meantime, I refuelled with another C2 and my second Cloud 9.
It was a fast ride going down, as you can imagine, with Butch and Harvey the Finn, leading the way, or I should say leaving us in the dust. We and Harvey separate ways somewhere along the Kabayo landmark, as his way leads to Antipolo. We have a final stopover somewhere in Cardona; gobbling my 3rd Cloud 9 and two bottles of Sprite (the store didn’t have C2). It was a good thing we stopped; I thought we were already close, but I found out later it was still ten kilometers to go, with a couple of killer hills to boot!
Finally, we arrive in Club Manila East at around 1:30 pm. I have my customary recovery drink, Hershey’s Chocomilk, and feast on some Jollibee spaghetti and burgers. Total distance on my odometer: 88.5 kilometers. What a day!