Freeman Cebu Sports

Hands on the handle bar!

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

During an early morning ride on May 26 (Sunday), Fr. Jem and I set out to test the bike route for the Cebu Epic race scheduled tomorrow, June 9. We signed up for the mini distance knowing that the full distance would take probably 8 to 9 hours to finish on a chill pace. The organizers warned us of a brutal non-stop uphill climb and a descent that is rocky and technical. To save time on our test ride, we forego the brutal Bonbon Sudlon 2 part and went directly to Sirao/Kan-irag. Upon entering the technical trail, we were greeted with a smooth unpaved single track. I made an immediate attack from the get-go not knowing that after that section, the track will change immediately to ruts and drops. Then the last thing I remember I was trying to negotiate a deep rut, and BANG….

Bike has been part of me growing. About 40 years ago, a note that was not for me always lingers in my head: “Have good grades, have a bike”. That was a note from my dad to my eldest brother Alex Jr. In my mind, I always said, “Ako diay?” Maybe that’s the time when my brother became a daredevil on his bmx bike and even made a ramp for himself wherein he jumped from it and eventually broke his bike in 2 pieces. His passion for bmx made maybe made a footprint in the sport of cycling.

Twenty years later around 1998, Terence Fernandez and Michael Quezon introduced me to the Mountain biking world. With me is a group of architects who was crazy enough to join this lung-busting sport,  Lawrence Young, Manolo Paragsa, Jason Ng and Manny Malunjao. It was fun while it lasted as each Sunday means a long ride to Danao or around Mactan as our family prepared a sumptuous meal at the end of each ride.  Back then, it was getting ridiculously because we were munching more than what we are burning.

Fast forward to another 20 years, only yours truly and Terence were left on our bikes. I have fallen in love with cycling as a whole that I joined oad races and triathlon events. I had always crash my bike, at least every year, from technical route, triathlon races or even fun rides. I have learned a lot on how to control my bikes. For xample, the rear brakes, which is on the right hand, is not for stopping actually. The rear brake is to control or maneuver the bike and the front brakes, which is on the left hand, is the stopping power. You would want to use it lightly “pitik-pitik lang” to avoid Endo. Endo is short for end-over or end-over-end. It is a type of crash where the cyclist goes over the handlebars. When you press the front brake so hard, the inertial moment resulting in rear part of the bike to flip in the air above and behind the rider. These endo moments are fun in the sense that everything is in slow motion. You go fly off the bike, make sure to tuck and roll, see slowly the ground, the sky and eventually your bike fly above you and into you.

Going back to my negotiating the deep rut was actually my last memory. I had no recollection on the impact, the endo. With the scrape on my face on the rough road, as per Fr. Jem, I looked like a lifeless rug doll when I flew and hit the ground, head first, sled my face and left shoulder on the ground. I lost consciousness and was even snoring. I could not imagine how Fr. Jem reacted, but I was out for a good 5 minutes. But when I started to regain consciousness, my first question was how did we get here? Where are we? And with a soft voice and worried look, Fr. Jem told me “I had a bike crash, do you want to call Caroline?” I was dazed, confused and was thirsty and hungry as well. I my mind, I want to finish our ride but based on the facial expression of Father Jem, I had took a selfie and saw how my faced looked. My helmet broke in the front and back. It was a very bad bike crash. Then I started to recall every moment when we dropped by Willys store in Busay and our buko drink in Ayala Heights. I sent my selfie photo to Doctor Charmaine Badilles to have an initial look at me, and told me to go straight to Chong Hua ER as she was on duty. Caroline went straight to the hospital. Good thing that Fritz Co has just finished their training at SRP with the Metafit Tri Team. Bernard Palermo was first at the scene, then followed by Fritz, Zusette and Romulo. Romulo was very concerned and talked non-stop until we reached the hospital. X-Rays and CT scan results were negative. Thank God that I had no broken bone, brain hemorrhage or serious damage whatsoever. I only sustained a scrape, scratch and bruises. I suffered a grade 4 concussion but came out lucky. Thanks to Terence who dropped by at the emergency room looking very concerned. To the nurses and staff at Chong Hua, to Dr. San Juan and Dr. Espanyol and of course to my wife Caroline, my kids, my family and my Metafit team who came to my side, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Nearly 2 weeks after that ‘BANG’ moments in Sirao, I went biking 4 days straight, trying to figure out what caused the crash. It was then that I found out the a simple rider mistake I had made. I found out that when I was negotiating the ruts and drops, my trigger finger was at the brakes controlling my decent. As I was about to avoid the deep rut, I remember trying to bunny hop my bike while my trigger finger was on the brake lever. Most probably I squeezed the brake so upon landing, my front wheel could have been locked out already causing the endo. When you bunny hop, your hands squeezs hard on the handle bar to pull it up.

So to all the participants of the Cebu Epic race tomorrow, keep your hands on the handle bar especially on the downhill section brakes to control your descent. If in doubt, get off from your bike and walk it out on the technical downhill section. The time you save riding it out is not worth it. And to all bikers, please wear your helmet always.

SIDELINE:Game 4 of the NBA Finals is set this morning. I predicted a win by the Warriors in 6 games but with Klay Thompson out in Game 3 and the Warriors lost bigtime, everything changed. The series hangs in the balance for Golden State and the health of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant is a determining factor. If Klay and KD will be back in Game 4, then my forecast is headed to its direction. But without Klay and KD, the series will be over in Game 5, time for Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors to prove the doubters wrong.


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