Freeman Cebu Sports

Unexpected in Baybay

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

Two weeks I’ve been missing here and I already missed this!

I was in Leyte for those two weekends- one for a fiesta  and the other for  road race. It was the Feast of the Ascension in Pacu, Maasin, the my wife, Tata’s hometown. I mean I just loved the place, not just for fiestas but for cycling. Four requirements that I need for e great  ride: Nice roads, zero traffic, great view and most importantly, great company! I can tick all four when I go there. Typhoon Tisoy prevented the boats from leaving port for two days but who cares?  We were stuck in a good place. A bicycle and a good internet connection, well, what can I ask for?

Three days later I was back, this time in Baybay upon the invitation of Nestor “Gogoy” Sy Jr. for a road race. I was in Baybay three years ago for the same event but couldn’t go last year because of stomach issues. The route back in 2017 was very difficult, especially with that 12km climb to Mahaplag. I’m not exactly Egan Bernal so I suffered like a dog and told myself that if the route isn’t modified, then I’m staying home! Luckily, the route was modified sans the 12km climb to Mahaplag but the finish remained the same- that steep hill along the diversion road. If you have’t been to Baybay for a while, check out this road.

Normally, road races start as early as 8am but this race started  past 10am. The heat was already scorching. Also, there was another problem as far as I was concerned- all three categories (35 under, 35-50 and 50+) were flagged off at the same time. This is not a fair thing since I will be racing with 18yr olds whose energy and stamina seemed boundless.

The race started out so fast and so furious! I couldn’t  remember starting a race with speeds that reached 54kph!!!

Also the stronger riders in our cat- Philip Sainz (eventual champ) and XXX Erasmu could easily ride with the young guys. While we (Frank Kangleon and Rudy Mendoza) thought that we were confident with our form to race with Philip and XXX for at least half the  distance, when we knew we were no match for the young lads from Tacloban. First it was Rudy, then Frank who were jettisoned by the pack. I was able to hang on a bit longer but the writing was on the wall after 8km!!!

Both finally caught up after 40km (of the 75km race). I was with riding with Romel Garces, a cool guy from team Amorganda based in Ormoc and four other strong riders from Tacloban. The Tacloban guys tried to drop us but with Rudy doing a strong pull, we were all together for the finish.

The last 400m was ridiculously steep. According to my Strava account, the altitude rise was from 5m to 53 fo that distance. I was a monster of a finish and I knew I would blow up. And I did. While the rest o my companions were climbing at 10kph, I was crawling!

I was thinking that I had no change of getting a podium especially after Rudy and Frank crossed the line ahead of me. But to my surprise, I came in 5th place!!!  Turned out that my companions in the gruppetto belong to he 35-50 cat!

Well, all’s well that ends well!

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