Freeman Cebu Sports

Crazy Solo Rides II

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

What’s a definition of a crazy, solo, ride?

Well, as far as I’m concerned, its riding on a new route when you don’t see any “colleague” on the course or the trail. Crazy, solo, rides, are not usual for most. It was my second in three weeks.

It was Sinulog Mardi Gras day, so like most city dwellers, there were two options, stay at home and chill or get out of the city from all chaos. So when I moved out at around 5.30am, I had a pretty good idea of where I was going but nothing definite. Definitely, I wasn’t going back to Carcar, the traffic was just too bad.

So I took my usual route, from Cebu City to Naga, turn left to Uling and then descended towards Landing, Lutopan. I then went back up via the Carmen Copper, had a slice of bread and a bottle of soda at the top and decided to ride a route I’ve never been to. I’ve heard about it from MTBrs.

From the bakery, I climb towards Camp 7 and at the top, there were were lots of fat tires sitting on a bench, relaxing. As I turned left, I couldn’t help but notice from the corner of my eye the looks on their faces that seem to said, “Are you really sure going that road? Or , Are you out of your mind riding solo?”

Well, if I wasn’t or wasn’t sure, then it wouldn’t be a crazy ride after all!

I learned later on that the route was 16km long from the corner towards the corner going to the Trans-central Highway. Clearly, the road was cemented although it was poorly constructed. In most cases, there were areas where the cement was intact and in a few areas where soil had replaced the broken tarmac. The place was mostly covered with trees at the start but then as I got into altitude, it was mostly grass. It was a good thing that the skies were cloudy and the air cool at this level, it kept me from bonking.

There were two difficult parts: one was a 2km stretch of about 21% gradient.  Even at my fittest, I knew that I couldn’t get over it on the saddle. Imagine this: very narrow roads, potholes all over and steep gradients. It was very hard to even zigzag because it was too narrow! I had two options, 1- put my foot down and walk and 2- crash and still walk. Logically, I chose the former.

I wasn’t worried about my Sidi’s, I was more concerned about the time as I had wanted to get home for lunch. After that very long and steep walk, the gradient became gentler and I was finally to get back on the saddle. A few K’s later, I stopped for bengka and a warm Coke and I thought it was all downhill from then on. I thought.

The final hurdle was just a short one making it ridable. And I think that’s what made it tough. Short enough to be ridden over but steep enough that my body was in front of my back just to keep myself upright. And just when I thought I was going to crash, it was all over. I came upon a corner and it was the TCH.

Kilometer 21 Cafe was full of people so descended home for lunch.

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