Text and Photos: Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 10:57 PM November 22, 2019
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—Rampaging the trails at 2.84 kilometers per minute, Bohol’s elite tandem of Paseo de Loon’s Nicho Lumay and Adelino Buligan (01-A/B) zipped through the downhill section to Punta Cruz Watchtower and finished the grueling 100 kilometers in fashionable 4:44:52.47 to be hailed Kings of Bike Ta Bai’s Bohol Epic Challenge 2019, November 17, 2019.
What most thought as a downer for those who finished the grueling 85 kilometer challenge that featured an almost impossible climb 70% into the race, this year’s 100 kilometer self-sufficiency challenge that feature killer long climbs, technical downhill sections and crazy tunnels including a hanging bridge crossing, only 418 of the region’s amateur to professional downhill maniacs on extreme cross-country or downhill mountain bikes, and nosey amateurs finished.
A race where majority of the mountain bikes sport the formidable single to double cranks and cassettes that go from 10-42 or 10-51 which is a less painful way to scale up the steep technical climbs that decorate the entire race route, this year’s Epic race attracted bikers from as far as Mindanao, Cebu and Leyte who have had logged kilometers upon kilometers of daunting uphill grinds.
The race which opened to mini epic distance of 50 kilometers, also put up open elite, 30-39 age group, 40-49, 50 and above and all women open however generously put up 8 checkpoints with excellent hydration stations and documentation support including drones and closed circuit television cameras, especially on technical sections.
Due to the long route which is impossible to put up enough marshals, we figured a tandem as team would have a better chance of surviving together than going solo and singularly face the daunting issue of possible mechanical problems or accidental crashes, revealed Gerry Marmito, Bike ta Bai race organizer.
They may separate but they have to be within visual distance, one can not pass a checkpoint without his tandem, he added.
And as minimum requirement in self-sufficiency, each biker must have enough trail food, spare tubes, tire levers, basic hex tool, air pump, trail lights, spare chain, missing link, and compulsory safety gears including helmet, sufficiently charged cellphones and spare batteries to be let out into the race.
With registrations closed a month before the race, race participants who were able to read the tracks realized they have eaten too much of the slice and 52 pairs downgraded their entries from full distance to mini-epic, upon seeing the race route.
But even then, Boholano cross country mountain bikers used their familiarity of the tracks to their advantage and crawled through the technical climbs while they ripped and shredded the downhill sections, leaving dust for those who have no luxury of getting intimate with the route.
Twelve minutes after Lumay-Buligan tandem crossed the finish line, team mate from Paseo de Loon and KaSikad Sagbayan team with Deven Valderoza and Archie Enad (02A/B) crossed the line in fashion at 4:56.36 since the mass start.
In their tail were the tandem from Dumaguete Union of Trail Trackers (DUOTT) Gobert V Austria and Mc Augustine Barnagua survived the race in 4:58:06 as Cebu’s Jessiedel Arnado and Christian Cabonita (34A/B) in close pursuit finished at 4:59:48.
Cebu’s mountain bike king Dongkey Sanchez and Mark Jorice Zabate of Team PSK finished fifth at 5:12:07 in the elite open category, where 78 bikers finished the race.
In the mini epic distance where 102 pairs finished the full 50 kilometers, Ernesto Garcia and Neil Arado of team Bohol Bike Kings (201A/B) crossed the finish line 3:18:15 after the gun start to claim the championship in their category.
Placing second is the tandem of Leonard Quijada and Paul Karlo Cericos of SBR Laspag Boys (214A/B) at 3:30:56.
Third in the category were Gino Aranas and Alger Sancija of Team CFB (207A/B) who crossed the line 4:05:15 into the race.
4th Place went to Wilfredo Gitaruelas / Vicente Layar of FilGen 1 (201A/B) at 4:19:34 and 5th were William Tan Jr. Henry Almario of CFB resurgent at 4:31:15.
30-39 Age Group
Champion: 335A/B Kirk Jed Geolagon and Jeffry Silvano of Cebu Kasikad who crossed the finish line at 5:11:02, 2nd (314A/B) Benjamin Ramirez/Jong Sajulga (Trek) at 5:28:52, 3rd 348A/B Alexander Diaz/James Kho of Cebu Cycling (5:32:24) 4th 315A/B Rolan Sedon/ Redan Cantilla or Team ORGA at 5:40)3 while 5th were John Villaruel/Sammy Moreno (323A/B) of Dan’s Trek at 5:52:00.
40-49 Age Group
Champion: Butchie Zamora / Roger Torreon (437A/B) of Tri Bohol (5:56:04); 2nd 435A/B Milo Melon/Lino Olaivar of Paseo de Loon (6:24:18); 3rd Jerson Maquilan/Nick Malon (425A/B) of Tayud Cycling (6:24:30), 4th Edil Batiancila / Freddie Perez (430 A/B) of Team Atbog and 5th 453A/B Jowie Natak and Walter Arcon of Team Usapay (653:33).
50 and above Age Group
Champion 509A/B Jay Eusebio/Totong Parojinog of MTB Negros (6:26:31); 2nd 510A/B Josenilo Dayday/Daniel Arcipe of Team Malapascua (6:43:25); 3rd 508A/B Simon Hulleza / Renato Fuentes of MTB Negros (6:57:40), 4th 501A/B Nestor Morgado / Nilo Limpahan of BTEX (7:02:22) and 5th 513A/B Alexis Migriño and Roger Libotlibot of Tayud Cycling (7:20:49).
All Women Open
Champion 603 A/B Almira Amoy of Team CFB and Charmaine Tanseco of Sikwatestas at 9:49:57 while 2nd was 601A/B Jwyn Muyco / Olive Salve of Team Tortilla Riders at 10:32:16. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)