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Bike heaven

Last Saturday, we had a taste of bike heaven, in the form of 80 kilometers of smooth asphalt, right in the Central Plains of Luzon. This was the bike race that was part of the opening activities for the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Actually, according to my cyclocomputer, it was more of 73.5 kilometers.

It was my first time to join a cycling race. Of course, I wasn’t there to race, but simply to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was in the Category C, the lowest among the race categories, but still not for the faint-hearted! As we were flagged off the starting line, it was fascinating to hear about a hundred clicks of the clip-on pedals, and then I realized this was how it was in the olden days when men went to battle, the sound of metal rousing men’s spirits.

I was well prepared for the race, 4 bottles of sports drink, 4 packets of gels, 2 spare tire tubes. In the end, I used up one-and-half-bottles of drink, all 4 gels, and unfortunately 1 spare tire tube. I suffered a flat at the 35 km mark. The asphalt probably wasn’t that smooth. Anyway, the wonder of it all was that I managed to fix the flat in 10 minutes! During that time I was cursing one second, praying to my guardian angel the next second, until finally I had put on the wheel back in place.

I managed to get back to the race, finishing the whole stretch in 3 hours 3 minutes. It took a while to recover from the heat. No wonder everyone else had support vehicles, splashing cold water on the riders. I had to sit down in the air-conditioned tent for half an hour before I could declare myself recovered.

I was targetting to race at 30kph, which I did for the first hour. The main peloton was simply too strong as I think it was averaging 40-45 kph. So I found myself racing alone for the most part, trying my best to break through the wind. Looking at the cyclometer, the kilometers seemed to fly in the first half of the race, but after going through the turn-around signaling the first half of the race, with fatigue setting on, I found myself wondering if there was something wrong with my cyclometer: the kilometer reading seemed to be getting slower and slower! Well this was the time to chat with fellow cyclists also struggling, enjoy the scenery, munch on my quashed banana.

It was a pretty exhilirating experience. I guess for the next time we’ll have to wait for the next highway construction to finish to get another thrill like this.

Myself and Butch

Mike, Noe and Choy.

Waiting for the race to start.



2 thoughts on “Bike heaven

  1. hey jomz!

    whoa! u were doing 30kph for a full hour, no mean feat ure getting stronger on the bike woohooo! means ure ready for SUBIT 🙂

    …but it sounds like u must have been dehydrated somewhat kung 1 1/2 bottles (less than 1.5 liters?) of fluid lang intake mo the 70+km whole ride. the pro’s tip is to hydrate even if u dont feel thirsty, aim for close to 1 liter per hour (750ml is closer to reality), coz based on beginnertriathlete.com’s article u suffer 10% performance deterioration for every 1.5% loss in body weight (about 2 pounds) due to dehydration… so THAT must have been why u were plodding & struggling on the 2nd half of the ride hehe.

    lalo na sa SUBIT, the 40km bike course is hills for the most part, take a look at the elevation profile i sent u (3% gradient or thereabouts, i think parang bugarin comparatively ang bike course na ito), the ride will separate the men from the boys, so better hydrate often so u wont feel weakened and sluggish for the run leg… 2 weeks to go before SUBIT, enough time to cram sa climbs.

    good thing we decided to ride SCTEX, roads so straight and smooth & traffic-free we couldve biked with our eyes closed dba, like u said, bike nirvana talaga! 🙂

    Posted by butch | April 29, 2008, 4:01 pm
  2. btw, i emptied my 3 water bottles (2+liters) and 1 pocari sweat during the entire 70+km ride, trying to ward off dehydration… compared to ur 1 1/2 bottles 🙂

    Posted by butch | April 29, 2008, 4:06 pm

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April 2008
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