Thursday, June 14, 2007

La MeSSa ridin'

Michelle and Mat organized a singlespeed ride for their friend Pedro, a Pinoy SSer based in LA. I always enjoy riding La Mesa and this ride was no different! We were part of a big group that included singlespeeders (including JM, Boyet of Powerbikes, Matt, and myself), gearies and full-boingers. Jay, Mannito, and PA made it too. I tried my best to convince Mannito to bring his Jamis Exile 29er, but he opted to bring his Heckler instead hehe.

The ride kicked off a perfect Independence Day weekend. Want proof? Check out the photos here, courtesy of Michelle. For the photos I snapped, click here. Thanks Michelle for hosting them!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Race Weekend

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.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bibendum rides a singlespeed

Apparently, Michelin commisioned an artist back in the 1898 to draw up a mascot, and the inspiration came from a stack of bicycle tires...

I guess Bibendum (the Michelin Man) would just bounce safely along the trail, should he take a spill.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Race pre-ride

This May 6, 2007 is the 2nd running of the Men's Health All Terrain Race, so race director King took Vic, Jovan, JM and myself up to pre-ride the course. We also hooked up with Team All Terra's Vince and his girlfriend Pam (on her first dirt ride). Jingo, Noel, Gigi and Pat caught up with us and pre-rode the course as well.

The route uses part of last year's course (Roxas trail), but extends into a section called Boy/Girl—a long, sketchy descent on loose soil, and passes behind the chapel via a section that has some steps cut into the dirt and some whoop-de-dos for good measure. After which is a longish grind uphill via a dirt road, back to the main trail of Maarat, then turns left to head back down to the Start/Finish area. Around 12km, but it's an intense and quite technical course. Vic, JM and myself did another loop of Roxas for good measure. Here's a Google Earth view of the trail. Details courtesy of Vic and King. Click to enlarge.

The race itself should be quite interesting, and we expect the first racers to come in at around 30 or 40 minutes. Hopefully all racers will be in before 11 (take off is estimated at 9 or 930am). The sun has been absolutely brutal the past week. We did have some rain Friday night, which helped moisten the trail, giving more traction to knobbies. Plus, they've graded the trails along Roxas, so the nasty ruts are gone. Darn. :-(

Hope to see you on race day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Karlo Kam

Karlo finally unbusied himself and uploaded his pics. It was his first Tour and major kudos to him for riding the 50km (not counting his bike commute to and from his house), while lugging around his dSLR.

As you can see, it was well worth it:

More snaps in his multiply account.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Firefly Footage

Monday, April 16, 2007

2007 Tour of the Fireflies

Well, last year was Spanky's first appearance at the Tour of the Fireflies - a critical mass ride to generate awareness for clean air and bike advocacy. 2006 saw a group numbering 5,000 taking over the streets of Metro Manila...back then I think it was Jay and myself who were the only singlespeeders in attendance (well, at least to my knowledge).

2007 saw no less than ten of us...myself, JM, King, Edmund, Matt, Michelle, Noel, Doy, Boyet, Elvin, sure there were others out there! It was fun and I think the number of participants swelled to 6,000. Our route was sort of the opposite of last year's, from Tiendesitas to Makati to Pasay to Manila to QC and back the are some snaps

We're camwhores! JM and myself SSing and snapping along McKinley Road, Forbes Park.

Slow down? We ain't slowing down for anybody today, mister! Bikes rule!

Rest stop along Ayala. Hmm...this is the opposite side of this pic from last year.

At the Stock Exchange. Buy low, sell high!

Second rest stop at Magsaysay Center, Roxas Blvd., Manila. Yes, that's Polly.

and now on to the Ayala Bridge in downtown Manila.

JM, Polly and Rina hanging on my shoulder...

Edmund of All Terra and Mark Ellis of Fitness First share management strategies.

We swung by Quiapo church!

Overall, this year's Tour felt like it was going at a faster pace, not sure why. Another thing, nobody was hooting and hollering a much as last year, where we had bells and whistles and stuff. I did bring a whistle and was tooting it, but I think I ended up annoying the riders next to me.

Well, next year is the 10th anniversary! Let's see what Ricky and co. have planned!

Thanks to Jed for this neat snap. More pics from his Flickr photostream here.

More photos here as well.

I'm sure Karlo has some nice photos too, if only he unbusied himself long enough to post em!