Last Sunday, we decided to join the PECA group going to Sierra Madre. Meeting place was at Burger King Marcos Highway at 6 am. True to form, Butch and I were late, and so by the time we were ready, the group had gone already.
This was my first cycling after doing the triathlon 4 weeks ago. And it definitely showed. After 15 kilometers, up the first peak, with my heart rate already going crazy, I had to go down the bike and recover a little. As some bikers zipped by, I could only smile wanly, trying to convince myself there is no shame in going down, haha.
This was also my first time to go to Sierra Madre, and I sort of had visions of going through thick forests, with wild dogs running around. It turned out to be a pleasant, if challenging route; very few cars, not many houses, smooth cement roads. To my amusement, the Sierra Madre that we were going to was a resort called Sierra Madre Mountain Resort, the highest point along the rolling hills of Tanay, Rizal. Well, in any case, this does seem to be the start of the Sierra Madre Range, which ends up all the way to Cagayan in the North. And steep rolling it was: one moment I was chatting alongside Butch at a leisurely pace; the next moment, we were doing 63 kph going downhill.
We took a long break at a roadside store where we found the PECA group. Finding it still too early, Butch had the crazy idea of going to Bugarin from there. Not sure why I said yes, but I found myself huffing and puffing up Bugarin, before finally reaching it at 1:30 pm. Lunch consisted of one cup of rice, and 3 packs of Lucky Me noodles, the poor man’s carbo load (not to mention the vetsin load). Still not content, Butch went down to Mabitac and back up, an additional 20 kms. I dozed off while waiting for him.
We finally went down from Bugarin at 4 pm, my legs aching at the same time trying to go as fast as possible to get back before the sun sets.
I managed to survive the last uphill climbs of Teresa before reaching Burger King at 6:30pm, exactly 12 hours and about 120 kilometers later from when we started. It was an epic (if not crazy) ride. Looking forward to the next one, no more a stranger to Sierra Madre.