Sagada Mountain Biking

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mountain biking

Night Ride to Antadao June 16, 2006 Friday

The Harrowing Night Ride to Antadao

A Night Ride Presumption
With halogen helmet lights and dual-beam halogen handle-bar lights, I raced a few 24-hour events that took me along winding technical single-tracks on mountain trails in pitch-black conditions. With that earned stripe, I thought I was prepared to the many challenges of night rides in Sagada.

Pitch-Black
Given that confidence, I ventured to do a downhill ride back home to Antadao from Poblacion at 9 pm in the rain with my helmet light and rain coat. In this part of the Mountain Province, a night trip between barangays no matter how short means travelling in pitch-black conditions along winding roads with shoulders promising a precipitous fall - no street lights and no illuminated houses to provide guidance along the way. Fine - I had a helmet light.

Saved by a Back Up Light
I was pedaling my way when within the first 100 meters, my battery went out. When testing a partially used battery pack, it would initially give a full beam that can be misleading since it can taper off within minutes revealing a low-level of power left. It was a good thing I brought my headlamp with me (redundancy is a good thing). With its long-throw setting, I continued my trip.

Mud Holes
Since it was raining, sections of the road were full of mud holes. It was a slalom ride avoiding a mud-splash that would mandate a cold shower upon arrival.

Rain and Fog
The rain blurred my vision and to top it off, there was a thick fog that reduced my visibility to no more than 20 ft. - I didn't anticipate that. That meant reducing my speed.

Nasty Dogs
As if all that wasn't difficult enough, I came upon a section with nasty dogs known for chasing bike riders. I've ridden past them many times when all I had to do was pedal hard and leave them in the dust. Now however, with reduced visibility due to rain and fog, I had to ride slow while the dogs barked and chased within inches of my shoes. I was scared shitless. I was tempted to go fast, but the possibility of an unseen sharp bend on the road would plunge me down the ravine. I bit the bullet in this one.

I finally reached Antadao, shaken, but still in one piece.

Ending Thoughts
I can't say I was arrogant by doing this ride. I thought the challenges were only the rain and that it's a night ride. But a lot of unforseen factors presented itself - fog, dogs, mud holes, which made it a harrowing ride. That was more adrenaline than I bargained for. Would I do it again in the name of adventurism? Nah! Sometimes the demarcation line between cutting it close to the edge and being downright wreck less is blurry. Erring on the side of danger is just plain stupid.

--- TheLoneRider

    Lessons Learned:
  • redundancy can be a good thing
  • avoid riding at night altogether when the variables are unpredictable and cannot be anticipated (otherwise, you're just asking for it)
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