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mountain biking

Riding Mt. Maarat with the UP Mountaineers December 17, 2005 Saturday

Riding Mt. Maarat with Robert and the Crew

I was attending an art opening at Malate's Penguin Café when I received Robert's invite for a mountain bike ride at 6 am. Hmmm...that means doing a ride with UP Mountaineer's (UPM) adrenaline junkies after booze and barely a few hours of sleep. Alyx, another UPM who was at the art opening, dismissed my dilemma with a quip, "kaya mo 'yan". The choice became academic then.

Getting There
With a slight buzz, I was at the tambayan and hooked up with the crew. We pedaled our way to the Mt. Maarat trailhead by passing thru Balara, Loyola Grand Villas, Marikina and into San Mateo. That 'warm up' ride could may well be the workout itself. We hooked up with other riders at Chow King afterwhich we meandered our way into Marikina and San Mateo's polluted thoroughfares. I was immensely relieved to reach the trailhead and leave the smog behind us.

At the Trails
Even though it was my third time riding Mt. Maarat, the access route we took was different. It felt like doing it for the first time again. There were a few drizzles but it was just perfect to keep us cool without mudding up the trails. There were sections though that remained mud-soaked due to downpours of the previous days. While we met a few other groups at the usual compressions stops, we were pretty much by ourselves deep into the trail system.

Technical Single-Track
While resting at the Giant store, we talked to a few motocross riders who told us about a sweet technical single-track tucked discreetly into one of the obscure bends. They pointed us to the spot and we were smiling crazy as we navigated the rutted and slippery, but sweet piece of trail section that gave a scenic view of what's down below. Although it was barely a hundred feet long, it was a gem. I told Robert, "...can you imagine 24 kilometers of sweet single-track like this?". That's precisely what I had riding the RCA trails in Long Island with my kumpare, Mario, back in the day.

My Knee Problem
When I was doing my 15K induction run for the UPM last October, I pushed myself to the point where my right knee gave me a shooting pain. That pain showed itself again at this ride. It became increasingly painful with every stroke, I had to pedal with my left foot only. That's how I got back home from Cogeo to Marikina to UP. In the process, I think I perfected the smooth circular pedal stroke that pushes down and pulls up without corners. If that sounds abstract, just try pedaling with one leg and you'll know what I mean.

Coming out of the trailhead, we stopped for lunch at the bulalohan (boiled beef soup) area in Antipolo where we had the staple and some BBQed chicken. Eating after a ride is much like eating on top of a mountain you just climbed - extremely satisfying. With good company to top it all, it was a feast.

The Ride Back Home
Having our fill and tired from the trail ride, we started the gruelling ride back home. It was a long stretch of paved roads where we had to compete for space against jeeps, trucks and tricycles. Needless to say, the air was shitty as we inhaled a lot of the sooty exhaust they emitted. We passed by a car wash where we had our bikes cleaned up for P8 - not bad! Individually, we branched off as we headed out. It was 4 pm when I finally got home. What should have been a few hours ride extended the entire day. I was gone before my head hit the bed.

Ending Thoughts
It was a fun ride specially because everyone in the group was fit and gung-ho about being out there. The weather couldn't be any better either. Discovering a new trail was one of the highlights. Daring a new fork in the trail and letting it take you where it takes you is a different high altogether. Another ride was tentatively setup for the 3rd week of January....good times up ahead.

--- TheLoneRider

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December 17, 2005

Reader Comments:

David Joudrey
(20 Dec 2005) Hey dude, it's good to see that you are still kickin' some ass on the bike once in a while. There's just too much dam snow back here in Canada to do any riding.

Joseph Bolintiam
(20 Dec 2005) The pictures were nice. Your website is great also. Hope to bike with you someday again. Discover uli tayo ng bagong trails! hehehe. Ride safe.

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