Sagada Mountain Biking

TheLoneRider.com Tuesday October 24, 2017 EDT 
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mountain biking

Ben coming down from Marlboro summit October 22, 2006 Sunday

43Bikes Hammers Marlboro Country

Big Air Specialists
43Bikes is a bad-ass mountain bike possé who gather Sunday mornings at the University of the Philippines (my beloved alma matter) and take turns defying gravity as they show everyone how big air is done. I've met a few of them while I was a resident of UP but never really had the chance to go trail riding with them...until now, in Sagada.

The Committed 2
Sagada's in-village hammerhead, Steve Rogers, played host and invited the group to ride the sweet trails of Sagada. Many were invited, a lot heeded the invite, but only 2 had the resolve to make the 12 hour trip from Manila to Sagada - Ben and Mike. I call that commitment.

The Cast
While I whimped out yesterday on the Kiltepan and Banga-an rides due to precipitation (ain't fun riding in the rain), I was able to join them for the Marlboro Country ride with Steve and son Joey. Joining the ride as well was peace corps volunteer Rachel and Sagada's potter, baker and caving guide, Siegrid.

Vanishing Single-Track
The trail was damp with the overnight drizzle that made for added difficulty grinding up the new road. The road workers have made more in-roads into our single-track. We were told it would not extend beyond the carabao hole. This still leaves us ample single-track until we reach the Marlboro peak.

The Edge
On picture, it doesn't seem like a hairy section to cross, but the actual ride on this narrow off-camber trail that drops off to a long deep slope is a major head-game. It's not difficult. The only problem is, a miscalculated steering means tumbling down a few hundred times until you hit rock bottom. That's when the mind starts doing funny things.

Look-Out Point
I can't imagine a more picture-perfect shot than the lookout point on Marlboro's many peaks. It's a vertical drop down, but just by the edge, it perches you up to a landscape vast and open - mountain horizon as far as the eye can see and little villages clustered down below, like little Christmas villages. It seems like you're Zeus, looking down on puny mortals from the dizzying heights of Mt. Olympus.

Roller Coaster
Going back, the once brutal climb on the new road was now a wide-open roller coaster downhill run. The trick was to hammer hard on the downhill to build momentum to hurdle the upcoming hillclimb, rollover the top and bomb down again. This cycle went on a few times, it was a blast when you finally got the rhythm going.

Ending Thoughts
I can't get enough of Marlboro Country, no matter how many times I've ridden there. Given the awe Ben and Mike had over the trail, the scenery and the expanse, I was reminded again how fortunate I am to be riding the fabled trails of Sagada.

I was also totally stoked to be riding with 43Bikes, Mike and Ben. To be honest, they were not even familiar although I'm positive I've met them in UP before. But that didn't matter one bit. After a few minutes just chatting and riding with them, it was like bonding with long time friends. Again, mountain biking has served as the wall-breaker as it has always done time and time again. With more rides slated during their stay, the promise of a good ride and good bonding is up in the air.

--- TheLoneRider

Comments? Email webmaster@thelonerider.com

Reader Comments:

Raven
(October 27, 2006) ha..ha sana next year mas marami na tau..pix is not enough u have to feel and see it.....may magnet sa sagada..na u cant xplain..super sarap..

Rob
(October 27, 2006) Very nice article lonerider. im so sorry i wasn't able to join the ride. that looks like an excellent trail you guys rock! Ben and mike.. hmmp hehe

Jovell "Macho Man"
(October 27, 2006) Great story there Lone! And good shots. At least I saw some scenes from your adventures. I wish to travel there soon since I failed to tag along with Ben and Mike due to work.:-[ I'd really love to join you guys on those precious rides, if only I could escape from responsibilities for just ten days.

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