The GFNY Bohol Experience

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente ‘JV’ Araneta (The Freeman) - February 4, 2019 - 12:00am

First, I’d like to say that I loved that the Gran Fondo New York was brought to Bohol and that as long as I’m healthy, I will be joining the event whenever it is held here. The organizers were almost top notch, and I’ll tell you later why its, “almost”.

I knew that the GNFY was an international event, and while I thought that the event was franchised to a local group, the fact that there were about a dozen foreign guys running the show told me it wasn’t.

The pre-race build up was just amazing and local organizers who’d like to level up should take notice. There were billboards, and more importantly, it was all over the internet.

They were also able to partner with the Department of Tourism, who hosted the posts-race buffs at the Bellevue Hotel, the local government of Panglao and the Province of Bohol. They were also able to tap the local police and barangay peace officers along the 144km route. Now these agencies are very difficult to partner, mind you and that the organizers could bring them to the event is just unbelievable!

An event as big as the GFNY is a dazzling advertisement for Bohol and the new spanking airport just a few minutes away from the Bellevue Hotel and I think it was wise for the DOTourism to partner with GFNY. Cyclists from all over the world were present and I met a Fil-Am from the Seattle and from New York, who was on his 8th GFNY so far! FYI, there has been more than 50 GFNY event that has been held all over the world since its inception.

Of course, most of the local participants, who were on their first GFNY, was excited. And it started on time, like all events should. I did the short route of 66km, knowing that I didn’t put in was much training as I should, and I regretted it. I wished I did the long route of 140+km!!

The 66km group was corralled behind the 140+km group and when the flag was dropped, I immediately moved to the front and hitched my wagon to the  stronger riders. I was so far ahead with my category that when I reached the midpoint, there was no one to escort me back.

And that’s why I said at the start of this column, “almost”. There was no road signs and directions on the way back and the police, who thought that the race was still a long way to go. I was riding alone, no escort, no direction, so I stopped at a fork in the road about 17km from the finish. I didn’t want to get DQ’d so I was waiting for at least 5 minutes for someone to show up but no one did. So i just gambled that the road on the right was the right route and this time I was right!

GFNY says, “Be a pro for a day”, so I hope that the next time, the riders will get a pampering treatment. That time will be this 2019.9.22!

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