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mountain biking

The Ride to Camp Lookout, Valencia, Negros Oriental May 1, 2010

The Ride to Camp Lookout, Valencia, Negros Oriental

I Need Rest
I didn't bother with my morning workout to give my body what it had been begging for - recovery from 3 hours of weight training I did yesterday. My body ached from traps to calves. That's when I got a text message from marine biologist/mountain biker Rene Abesamis, "Would you like to ride? My friend can loan you his bike". The prudent answer would have been, "Thanks Bro, but I need to rest. How about some other time?". I don't know what got over me, I replied, "...sounds good. Meeting time and place?". I knew by body would revolt at what I did....but hey, it's a friggin' ride!

Meeting Up
I met up with Rene near the Silliman University Marine Laboratory and was introduced to Cobbie, the owner of the loaner bike (an American who grew up in the Philippines). So I check out the bike...whoa! It's a Kestrel carbon fiber bike that's screaming XTR (abstract? think Ferrari!). I should have been gaga over it, but the first thought that hit me was, "oh shit...I hope I don't wipe out and scratch this bike....I can't afford to pay for this." But Cobbie was too cool for that. All he said was, "...relax, enjoy the ride!".

bike route

route profile

The Ride
With that, Rene and I were off to his downhill playground at Camp Lookout. The trail was a mix of paved road, fire trails and single tracks that cut through the villages. I felt sluggish on the way to the camp, thinking I should have just stayed home. Of course, I had to put up a brave front. I was just hoping I could sustain his brisk pace. He was fast and I was already getting winded-out. I should have been dismayed when Rene got a flat tire, but secretly, I was relieved I could get my much needed rest.

Da Bike
The bike was extra smooth to ride with. The XTR gears shifted precisely with no hesitation even on the awkward split second shift that would stall any bike with less decent components. Even if I didn't have SPUD shoes (the bike had XTR SPUD pedals), it wasn't much of an issue. Best of all, the bike was amazingly light. It was so light I felt I was cheating on the ride!

Camp Lookout
Finally, we reached Camp Lookout. It was built on an idyllic sloping watershed reminiscent of Baguio's Camp John Hay. You can find a spot for a fantastic view of the surrounding islands. Within Camp Lookout is Silliman University's Writer's Village, a compound with stylized container vans made to look like log cabins. Accomplished writers get to stay there for solitude and quiet - a perfect environment to write.

Within its outskirts are the launching ramps of the downhill riders. From the looks of it, it takes a beefy bike with a skilled rider to manage those jumps...or we're talking major concussions.

From there, we hammered on the downhill run into Valencia poblacion for some kick-ass halo-halo at Estrella's Food Hauz. Its halo-halo is staple amongst mountain bikers after doing some runs.

Riding in the Dark
Heading home in the dark was the order of the day as we didn't bring any lights. What I noticed was, we were coasting the entire time. It was all downhill to Dumaguete. All the while I thought I was sluggish going up to Camp Lookout, but in reality, we were just riding a mild grade the whole time!

Yummy Dinner
As if Rene's kindness wasn't enough, he even invited me to join his lovely wife Nadia and their cute daughter, Mayumi, for dinner at their charming house.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - HUGE thanks to Rene for the ride, dinner and for tagging me along. MEGA thanks to Cobbie for entrusting his XTR-laced carbon fiber Kestrel bike to a complete stranger. You guys ROCK!

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How to Get There

  1. from Dumaguete, take a pedicab and ask to be dropped-off at the jeep bay for Valencia (P8.50)
  2. board the jeep for Valencia and get off at the last stop, which is the Valencia Plaza (P12.00, 16 mins)
  3. from there, you'll see some motorbikes (habal-habal). Negotiate the price with the driver

Reader Comments:

(May 17, 2010) Was reading your blog entries. I don't need to introduce you to the people I know in Dumaguete any more, because you've already met them. Kaibigan namin ng wife ko sila Rene at Nadia.

(May 6, 2010) The blog was way cool. I like the graphic taken from the GPS showing altitude change - last time i checked my head wasn't that big! Hehehe. We'll do a different trail next time.

Alex de Moscoso
(May 2, 2010) ...not being regionalist or anything but Visayans are way cool!:D glad you're having a great time!

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