Here is a blow-by-blow account of what happened during race day – one of the special days of my active life as a runner and a budding cyclist:
Saturday November 16
10:00 PM -slept after a tiring day at work and a blog event until 8 pm right after. I did not prepare all my cycling clothes the night before that I usually do during my run events
Sunday November 17
3:30 – woke up a bit earlier than planned (excited?), turned off the alarm clock on my phone that did not sound off since I set it to ring at 4 (I cannot function with less than 5 hours of sleep and 6 is optimal), and took a bath (or should I? Hehehe)
4:15 -ate some egg, a nono since it is my first time to eat this before a race, but since there was nothing else on the table, I simply have no choice. Good luck to me then!
4:30 -just remembered the stickers! Unlike in running where the only identifying numbers needed are those in the bib, in biking, you will have a lot to stick to your helmet and bike. Actually, 4 in all – 2 for both sides and one for the front part of the helmet and a long one that you will wrap around the seat tube with the flaps attached together towards the back and where your time chip is placed.
4:40 -with complete outfit including the stickers, bib number, reflectors, helmet, brand new Rudy Project shades, cleat shoes, and the all-encompassing make-up (of course!), off I went for the BGC starting area. It was located along the BHS area along 30th Avenue and 9th Street that I reached riding my bike! Well just think of it as a 6K warm up.
5:20 -arrived at starting area with enough time to spare before the 6 o’clock gunstart! Well I very much needed some time to catch my breath so it was a welcome “breather”. Afterall, I have no need for additional harassment of coming into the start area only to find yourself unable to reach your wave chute because a lot were already there blocking your way! I had a lot of time to pose for some initial, fresh-looking-me pictures in almost all the nooks of the start chute including the lead Lexus cars!
Then I saw the Cycling Asia ambassador himself getting ready in front of the rest together with Fred Uytengsu and the rest of those who had the good fortune and some 60 hundred bucks to spare for this special opportunity to ride with him! Not wanting to lose this wonderful opportunity to have my pix taken with both of us in our cycling outfit, I huddled close to him, leaving my bike behine (no one would dare get an alloy and dirt cheap bike like mine among a sea of carbons!). Unfortunately, he is in an animated conversation with Mr. Uytengsu so I was not able to get a good pix with him.
6:00 -ride with Robbie began
6:10 -gun start for my wave (wave A) which was delayed for a good 5 minutes since Mr. McEwen found it safer not to push his pace to TDF levels! Good for those riding with him! Then off we went.
I was situated near the front and to the rightmost of the first peloton. Since this is my first foray at an organized cycling event, I was hesitant at first to start with the rest opting instead to wait for the tail end group before pedaling off. However, I looked at the other cyclists including the woman foldie rider not intimidated with the sea of roadies around her. Encouraged, I pushed ahead together with the lead group and, with prayers heard, not buckled nor found myself in a nervous collision with the others. The rest started not too eagerly themselves so I found myself in safe company.
6:10-7:30 -all throughout this journey of 40kms with two skid accidents during practicet leading to this day, I was full of trepidations at everything from a simple road curve, stones and potholes on the road, pedestrians, vehicular traffic. Add to these are the shifting of gears I really have no time to master whenever a flyover or a bridge or even a slight elevation are fast approaching. Another are slow cyclists I need to overtake while shouting “on your left/right” as I pass. Fast cyclists passing me at both sides are another intimidating and nerve wracking aspect (Finding my speed of average, I preferred to stay near the middle of the road to avoid road cracks and pedestirans near the edge.)
Initially I kept my speed to my trained effort of 30kph except on downhill portions where I reach almost 40kph. But not more as I am very wary of my not so expert handling skill that I always apply some rim clumping intermittently to decelerate. The technique I applied when traversing a bridge or a flyover is to shift crank so that the effect is instantaneous (big crank for uphill and small one for level road). I do not know if it is ideal but it worked fine for me. Then if I needed some more adjustment, that is the time I use the cassette gear shifting.
I must have been so conservative in my speed and gear usage that I realized, almost to the end of the race, that I can sustain a speed of around 35 kph, given the adrenalin rubbing off on me of being in a race. My being a neophyte though kept me from doing so. I was even surprised that I can manage the hardest of my gears just fine which I am not able to do so during training. Well there will always be a next time to push harder!
7:35 -after reaching the finish line with a chip time of 1:14 (good enough for me given my prediction of 1:30-1:45), I proceeded to get my lootbag and humongous gear shaped medal and some after race replenishment meal (lugaw, ice candy and water) given to all finishers. It was likewise a nice feeling to have my name called out by the MC as I passed the finish line and given the congratulatory remarks. Luckily, there was Ms Vimz “Kulit Runner” Mendoza to feed my name to the announcer!
7:40 -after some chika chika and picture taking with running friends who also joined the race, Coach Mherlz Lumagbas and family, Sir Jeff “Pinoy Fitness” Lo, it was straight to home for me as I have another 6K to traverse. Along the way, I espied a group of runners using the Wednesday Group of Runners’ highly visible red and golden yellow singlet. It was the fabulous divas La Familia doing their Sunday lsd afterall! So I stopped for some pictures and bessos.
8:30 -arrived at FTI and straight to AANI, a weekend flea market, for some hot and delicious La Paz batchoy which my stomach craves for each long and sustained effort be it running or cycling.
9:15 -arrived home and took a refreshing bath! Had a blast and wished for more! I thanked God that no ontoward accidents happened to all of us who joined BGC Cycle Philippines. I will definitely join part 2 of this event whenever it happens.
Some video clips of the event.