Nov 18, 2006
Conquering Deadman's Plunge
Location : Sagada (municipality), Mountain Province (province), Philippines
After the morning ride at Kiltepan, another ride was set for the afternoon to Bangaan ridge. Normally, I'd just beg off, feeling content at having finished a ride for the day. It seemed like a crime though not to take advantage of the perfect weather. I was in. It was me, Steve and Joey.
Encouraged by the no-granny thought du jour (granny is being on the smallest chainring and the biggest cog - the lowest gear), I attempted to stay on my 2nd ring at the initial climb towards Danom. At some point however, I had to go granny. It's tough to be going continuously uphill with no reprieve or recovery flat. Steve defiantly replied, "I'm not gonna do it"...and he didn't. One thing about riding with strong riders, nobody wants to be the one to weigh the possé...so boundaries are pushed. It's good because it's good training. The group momentum brings out the best in you.
From the main road to the ridge was the mother-of-all-climbs (at least for that ride). As Joey pointed out, "...it's not worth it" (riding it, even if it's do-able, uses up more energy than pushing the bike up). I rode and mashed on my granny anyway. As I huffed and puffed my way through, I was curious to see at what point I'm forced to dismount. Surprisingly, I nailed it, but at a cost. It took a long time to recover. I ended up portaging what would have been an easy climb further up the trail. I felt tired and juiced-out from then on. Actually, from then on and not until after a long while, it wasn't fun anymore.
The Long and Winding Single-Track
We came upon the section that took us out of the ridge and into a long and technical single-track section that led us to the village of Bangaan. From our last ride with the 43Bikes, I remember dismounting on a good number of sections - not because they were horrifically difficult but because they were scary - so scary I couldn't distinguish if what I felt on my throat was my tonsils or my balls.
At that point, I have fully recovered. I was following Joey as he ripped the trails with total abandon (but that's Joey...he's his own category). With renewed confidence, I ripped along, even on the technical sections...even on the scary nose dives. In fact, I was able to ride the whole flow without dismounting. It was done even after I realized it was the part I chickened out from previously (amongst many). I'm glad it happened that way. Had I deliberated on it, I may have chickened out again. It was a rush. I kept saying, "I f@&kin' did it". I was in disbelief.
Finally, we reached Deadman's Plunge - the litmus test...no, make that the acid test. This is the same one cleared by Ben, Mike and Joey on our last ride. That extended nose-dive looked like an ultra-steep one-way ticket to the underworld (good luck!). I wimped out on this the last time. It was frustrating because I knew I could do it. I also knew that it was a mind game but still, I couldn't get over the fear. Now, empowered with my strong ride in Kiltepan earlier, and the no-dismount ride I just finished, I decided to go for it. With my rear so far back my butt was on top of my rear wheel, I went down while solicitously feathering my brakes and controlling my steering. Steve later commented my mouth was open the entire time, as I almost expected the doom-and-gloom result of the plunge.
Voila! F@#cking A! I did it! I was still in one piece. I was on cloud 9 without feeling the solid ground underneath me. I was 19 years old all over again. The exhilaration gave me a frenzied high (cocaine, eat your heart out!). Woo-hoo...I was Superman shedding off my Clark Kent suit. Okay...I'm getting carried away again...OM....OM....I'm good now.
With mountain biking, I really have nothing to prove and it was probably best for me to have toe-ed the line, but in a way, it was my ticket out of a head-space rut. I took a chance and got away with it. Clearing that new hurdle has put an added bounce on my stride. The mushrooms are more flavorful than ever and the greenery of Sagada is more vivid. I am once more immersed into the fountain of youth...testosterone overflow, wet-dream mornings (did I just say that?), and feeling "bad-ass mountain biker". I know I'm over the top and I don't care. I'll soak in it while it lasts. When the frenzy is over, I know I'll go back to dirty laundry, scrubbing the floor and washing dishes.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
(Nov 21, 2006) That, my dear is one of the finest pieces I've seen you written. Engaging, honest and I felt your excitement throughout. Mind you I was sleepy when I read your story. Now, it feels like I'm pumped with adrenaline too.. ;-) I also liked the photo of you coming down with lots of Steves there along side the trail...very Magritte (another thing to Google when you've got time to kill..surrealist Rene Magritte). I am glad you are fantastic despite the risk you took. To more experiences of being alive! To RAPTURE!
(Nov 21, 2006) ...saw your site. Nainggit na naman kami sa ride nyo. Everytime we visit your site and see those posted pictures, it's like openning an invitation card saying, "Come visit Sagada and ride with us"
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