Nuvali unleashes its Dirt Weekend on Nov. 6 to 8

John A. Magsaysay (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Most metropolitan motorists can only dream of the open road, where a convenient commute means a leisurely drive to take in the sights or where daily transport could only take a fraction off one’s schedule, and when travel time is a refreshing break from life’s daily routine.

Today’s commute has become a dreaded nuisance of red-lit bumpers and hot-headed drivers letting off steam. It may require more than trainer wheels to get us through surviving the traffic, but trading in your trusty four wheels for a good two could be the right start. All we really need to do is hit the seat, put our pedal to the metal and get down and dirty.

Ayala Land’s 2,290-hectare mixed-use property in Nuvali, is now shifting gears to developing a more mindful rediscovery of our favorite childhood pastime. “Nuvali is all about sustainability. We believe in the triple bottom line, which is making it economically sustainable, socially sustainable, as well as environmentally sustainable,” says Nuvali general manager John Estacio. So, among its thriving verdant open spaces that comprise half of the budding commercial and residential property, spokes and saddles reign king.

“As we all know, climate change is here, and we are promoting biking for three basic reasons. First is, as an alternative form of transport,” Estacio notes. As Manila posed record numbers of commuting time (45.5 minutes daily average) in the Global Driver Satisfaction Index by traffic app Waze, the developers at Nuvali thought it best to prove how simple solutions can beat seemingly impossible urban congestions. “We are providing the proper infrastructure for that with dedicated bike lanes. We are also developing a bike share system. And ultimately, even at full development, you can expect that the bike lanes as well as the running trails will be there.” Estacio adds that Nuvali’s green-print is creating safe and efficient two-wheel access among its communities of villages, schools, hospitals, retail and office spaces.

“Second important thing that we’re encouraging biking is that we want to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is key to national development,” Estacio stresses. Compared to running, cycling makes it faster to get fitter with sustained stamina training. It also builds muscle better with less strain, particularly in the glutes, quads, and hamstring areas. Cycling also burns calories faster, at 97 calories for every ten minutes at the pedal. And finally, cycling entails far less physical damage with an average of six injuries per 1,000 hours, as opposed to running’s 11.

 “Finally, we are here to develop athletes, specifically mountain bikers, so we would be able to compete at the world stage,” Estacio notes. With its Dirt Weekend, slated on Nov. 6 to 8, Nuvali cements the claim of how off-road mountain biking can foster healthy competition and rewarding community-building in their vast corner of green and gravel.   

“We have done a lot of Dirt Weekends since 2009, but this is the first time that we are hosting a World Championship Series, which would in turn be a qualifier for the world championships for cross-country marathon.” With the 2016 UCI MTB Mountain Bike Marathon Series in Laissac, France just a sharp curb away, Filipino and other ASEAN cyclists are given the head start in contending for what is considered to be the Olympics of mountain biking.




To make sure that the trail, terrain, and triumph are at par with global standards, Nuvali takes on the assistance of Union Cycliste International (UCI) technical delegate Geoff Kronenburg from the cycling world’s chief governing body. “Being a UCI race, what the Philippines needs to do it comply with the rules, regulations, set-up, and technical requirements of the race. So, my role in assisting Nuvali is to basically assure that everything complies with the international standards,” the Malaysian-born and London-trained Kronenburg says.

“Nuvali has been hosting UCI races for three years now, but this is actually their first time to host a world championship qualifier. They’ve been improving over the years, from setting high standards in terms of participation, to making it more technically sound, in terms of the race course, safety and logistics set-up. Now, being an international race, it requires tracks that are a bit more technical, a bit more demanding, and a lot harder and intense, in terms of riding skill,” Kronenburg shares.

“It makes a difference because, this year, every rider within the ASEAN, Asia, Australia and New Zealand will look at Nuvali to compete for the cross-country marathon championship,” Kronenburg stresses. The Dirt Weekend’s cross-country marathon event, or XCM in mountain biking jargon, is the 70-kilometer trail found just off its beaten track, with steep climbs and deep dives, upon which 30 cyclists will be measured to qualify for the 2016 World Championships. “This one is the long-range part of the sport and it’s all about stamina, strategy, racing smart, and where most of the elite guys race at about two to three hours or so,” Kronenburg shares. 

The other leg of the action-packed weekend is the UCI Cross-Country Olympic race (XCO), which features a shorter range at 35 kilometers, but with the same technical difficulties. In this event, elite cyclists can earn precious UCI points, which serve as currency in global biking competitiveness. “It’s more about intensity. It’s 1 1/2 hours of racing and it’s an Olympic gold medal sport,” Kronenburg reveals.

Another crucial cycling event in the Dirt Weekend lineup is the Four Cross Race (4X), which fetures a 400-meter course defined by pure gravity. “This is a more extreme type of mountain biking. Basically, the riders will go on top of a mountain and just bum all the way down to anything between 1.8 to 2.5 kilometers,” Kronenburg add.

For those who are more into the friendlier route of competitive biking, there is Nuvali’s 35-kilometer Dirt Weekend Cross Country Fun Race. It attracts over 1,000 riders at its starting line annually, but making it to the finish line is another story.

“Just have fun! When you enter your first race, don’t apply too much pressure on competing. Just go out and enjoy the ride. Mountain biking is a very community-based sport. Enjoy it with friends,” says Kronenburg.  But if that’s not enough reward, participants also have a shot at P5,000 in first prize, P3,000 in second prize, and P2,000 in third prize for all 10 categories. Not bad for the P750 registration prize which includes the Nuvali Dirt Weekend race pack.

“What I hope to achieve with Nuvali is that, as we have many international riders coming, it would allow the Filipino riders to realize how they fare in an international scale,” adds Kronenburg. “What I hope to see is Filipino and ASEAN riders stepping up and becoming among the Top 25 in the world.” 

To register for the 2015 Dirt Weekend on Nov. 6 to 8 at Nuvali, Laguna,visit www.dirtweekend.com or call 0927-5750930.     


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