How do you do something you think you can’t do? Start the dream of running 42.195 km starts with a huff, and a puff of a 1 km jog; 2km swim starts with plenty of bubbles and drinking lots of chlorinated water along the way.
The story you are about to read is a specific journey to do something she though only the best of the best can do, a 100 km bike ride. Share her journey with every pedal, every uphill, and downhill, and a determination worthy of her team name – ENDURE.
by Tracy Carpena
TAGAYTAY CITY, CAVITE – Tagaytay is a normal Sunday escape for me. The city boasts of sights of Mother Nature, culinary stops perfect for family day and pasalubong shops.
My last visit there, however, was atypical. Covered with sunscreen SPF 50 all over, I tagged along with some friends from Team Endure, a multisport group, to begin our journey to Tagaytay via our road bikes.
A few days before the said day, bikers confirmed attendance. The route was plotted. Accuweather was consulted. The goal was set: 80 kilometers of fun, easy, non-training ride from Alabang to Tagaytay and back.
So on Sunday morning, our group trooped to Filinvest, Alabang to begin our adventure. On our way to ground zero, we discovered that three of us were quite anxious with the hilly adventure ride. I, for one, have never gone farther than 50 kilometers on a bike.
Despite that, excitement won over my anxiety as we offered prayers and entrusted our adventure to the One above us. All set to go, Erick, Pio, Darwin, Raff, Karen and I mounted on our bikes. Little did we know that we were about to go on a ride called century.
Upon take-off, we found out that all six of us are first-time riders to Tagaytay and five of us had never done a 100-km bike ride.
From our parking spot, we made our way to Daang Hari. I just kept pedalling and made sure my team mates were still in sight.
After the busy main roads came the difficult part—the uphill battle. Pio was the group’s sweeper—tailing behind or drafting with the last biker, who was, more often than not, yours truly. Relying solely on every effortful pedalling (as I wasn’t wearing cleats), I found the uphill as my biggest challenge.
Cadence, cadence, I recited in my head. I downshifted my gears to make the pedalling effort easier, but slowing me down. If my quads could scream, it would’ve cursed me.
The sights, sounds, scents
So to ignore the struggles of pedalling, I looked around me, took in the sights, sounds and scents, and appreciated details I wouldn’t have noticed if I were travelling inside a comfy airconditioned vehicle.
As we climbed, we appreciated the shady trees lining the highway. As I drafted behind team mates, I watched butterflies dance above their heads. And after every uphill, there came the thrill of the downhill.
Besides the hustle and bustle sounds of the streets, we could hear the trees’ leaves sway with the wind. As expected on an early weekend morning, the aroma of households’ breakfast reached the streets and I could only take a wild guess: Spam? Bacon? Dried fish?
From the city’s welcome sign, I was able to tell we’ve reached Tagaytay. And as we rode further up, I could feel the familiar coolness that Tagaytay brings: I couldn’t feel the sunray kissing my exposed skin anymore!
We reached the rotonda and took photos as we waited for the traffic jam to subside (the Mass just concluded, hence the jam-packed highway).
80km turned 100km
They looked at their cyclocomputers, checking how far we’ve gone.
“Just a few more kilometers and we can actually make this a century ride,” one of us said.
We looked at one another—no one protested. Besides, it was just past 11am, way too early for lunch.
So we rode further before making a U-turn to our lunch destination.
After lunch, we took off just the same.
Going downhill was a breeze. But we had to face one hurdle: Erick got a flat tire. Pio headed back to help him and Darwin, while Karen, Raff and I waited.
There was a jeepney parked near the waiting shed where we lingered. A few minutes later, it started to drizzle. And soon, it rained. We asked the jeepney owners—an entire family—if we could take shelter inside their vehicle.
Despite the downpour, we saw Pio took off. Raff, Karen and I debated whether we should have a go or not. Our discussion and chit chat ended when we saw Darwin, who stopped when he heard us calling out. Pio and Erick had gone ahead, Darwin said. When the downpour tamed into a drizzle, we thanked our foster family and headed out again.
We later discovered that just a few minutes away from where we stayed, the grounds were dry.
Completing the century
To complete the 100km ride, the gang pedalled to Daang Reyna.
At 3pm, the sky was overcast. We didn’t want another downpour to ruin our momentum. So we all hurried to cover the 5-km Daang Reyna trip.
Soon after the Daang Reyna side trip, we concluded a Tagaytay ride, the group’s first trip to the city via our bikes. By then, five of us were happy to have completed our first century ride.
This Tagaytay trip is an out of the ordinary trip for me, and it was one memorable visit. Despite encountering a bad restaurant service during lunch, enduring uphills and taking a shower while riding a bike, we all went home happy.
The unique sights, scents, sounds and sensation of Tagaytay breeze as we rode made the 100km ride worth all the sweat. I also discovered the bliss of long rides. They aren’t just about burning calories—at least for this Tagaytay ride.
This century ride was a journey with a bunch of your friends (who you’d watch out for and who’d likewise check on you as well), a celebration of health and life as we pushed how farther we could go, and having and keeping the faith that there’s Someone above keeping us safe every kilometer of the way.
At the end of the day, I could allude long rides to real life—an adventure with uphill battles and downhill excitement, appreciation of the journey, presence of mind at critical points, sharing it with people who matter to you, and entrusting a greater Force on a safe and meaningful journey.
Tracy Carpena works as a copy editor for a trade publication for design engineers. When she’s not delving into the wonderful world of electronics, she goes out to run and bike, or munches on peanut butter granola bars, bananas and strawberries while reading a magazine or a work of fiction. Her other outdoor adventures are chronicled in her blog Digital Dash