Race weekend's finally come around. We pre-rode the course Saturday, and instead of bringing my singlespeed, I rode an Ibis Mojo Carbon
, courtesy of Goyo at Pinoybikes
It couldn't be any different from my 29er: 26-inch wheels (!), close to 6 inches of front and rear suspension (!!), gears(!!!) and a full carbon frame (!!!!). What's going on? Who are you and what have you done to the real Agu?!?
Seriously though, I was reviewing it for the mag, and I must say, it's one smooth machine. Despite a getting-to-know-you period (see exclamation points, above), and the fact that there's so much things to adjust, we finally got it dialed in during the pre-ride. Vic brought a shock pump and we were able to tweak the rear Fox RP23. I preferred running it a bit stiff, but still I could feel some bobbing under me in the climbs, both on pavement and dirt. I had to maintain a smooth pedal stroke (as opposed to balls-to-the-wall, pedal pounding singlespeed-style riding) to keep the rear shock movement to a minimum, and maintain traction. Once pointed downhill, though, the Mojo is a couch!
I woke up on Sunday still undecided as to which bike to use. In the end, I took the Mojo. I figured in race conditi0ns I'd need the gears to recover hehe
Not that I was racing for a podium spot. I just wanted to be a face in the crowd and enjoy the trail ride. I found myself near the back of the pack at the start of the race, but I gradually worked my way up during the cement road climb - despite the Kenda Nevegals being too sticky for their own good. Entering the singletrack at Roxas I snuck past a few riders (leapfrogging Elvin in the process), and decided to take a weewee break at the top of the hill, which cost me a few places. Hey, I had to drain the lizard!
Bombing down the technical portions of Roxas was a blast on the Mojo, allowing me to overtake several racers. Back out on the access road and headed towards the portion called Boy-Girl (named as such because if you ride down the trail, you're a boy, and if you don't, well, you get the drift). During the pre-ride the day before, the Mojo held it's line in this part of the trail. Boy-Girl is basically a straight descent on some sketchy, rutted and loose soil. The organizers deemed it dangerous, thus requiring a mandatory dismount.
So I hop off the Mojo and scramble down the hill as fast as I can. At this point of the race I was riding by my lonesome, and the sun was beating down on me. I down a Powergel and turn left at the chapel and head down towards the nursery. A series of steps and whoop-dee-dos really make me appreciate the long-travel nature of the Ibis.
Headed up out of the nursery and it's a brutal dirt road climb under the baking sun. I spy Elvin around 50 meters in front of me and I join up with Mach and another rider, trying to persevere thru the climb. Mach and I make it up together but as I crest the hill he puts the power down and opens up a lead on me. I guess this is a race!
I try to catch up on the fire road descents and manage to hang on to his wheel, closing the gap at the finish. We're awarded the same time, at 50m 38s, though Mach's in the 23-30 age group. I just sneak in the top 20 of my age group, with Elvin 19th at 49m 57s, and Vic at 48m 26s. Karlo finished at 1h 42m 56s, and drew cheers from the crowd as he crossed the line. Smiles all around for everyone - racers and spectators alike.
Altogether a fun ride, but my work wasn't over, as I had to preside over the ceremonies (as soon as I recover).
It was a great race, though the heat was a bit unforgiving, being the middle of summer and all. I enjoyed riding the Mojo too, though I think I could've finished a bit faster if I was on my usual ride. Hehe.
For full race results, click here