By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:44 PM October 11, 2021
For the first time after the pandemic struck, cyclists from outside Bohol joined a locally organized mountain bike and road bike challenge, and brought home trophies and cash prizes including winners freebies as Bohol steps into the new normal.
Jessie “Dongkey” Sanchez and his son Khalil, including some Cebuano cyclists risked shelling off for their coronavirus disease (Covid-19) test by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction test and went the trouble of registering in the spass.ph to cross to Bohol and join in the grueling road bike challenge billed as Getafe: Padyak Kontra Pandemya, October 10, 2021.
The Sanchezes, both father and son came home with the bacon; the elder Sanchez, in fact took two championship trophies and prize money, one that is a good payback for the money they used in paying for their bikes on the boats plus their fares.
The elder Sanchez pocketed the 36 and above mountain bike category championship, and the 36 and above road bike category, while the son Kahlil picked the championship trophy for the mountain bike challenge for the 17 and below category.
But, the Boholanos were also not as hospitable that time when they posed a still contention, making the Cebuano’s wins not just a walk in the park.
ROAD BIKE CHALLENGE
Unlike other road bike races that allow the cyclists the luxury of the starting miles to get used to the easy spinning rhythm before slowly getting initiated into the hard climbs, Getafe’s Road Bike Challenge did not give that chance.
Let off in a mass start, 50 cyclists belonging to the 24 and below age brackets immediately picked a 32 kilometer per hour starting run, before breaking the group into three: the lead of about 6, the chase group of about 12 and the trailing pack, about two kilometers from the starting line.
In less that a kilometer of flat track, the course starts its low angle ascent with very few planes to recover, until at several sections, the climbs twist and turn into tight zigzags, forcing those with less energy to endure to shift to the low-speed cassettes.
The race course is a national highway with light traffic, the cyclists picking on the rightmost lanes to sit of stand off the saddles and on drops every now and then if only to sustain their speed.
At kilometer 6, a group of 9 cyclists from the 24 to 35 years old has caught up with the trailing pack, the chasing peloton a couple of minutes ahead.
The route is a 56 kilometer of highway with about 80 % climbs and about 10% downhills with dangerous curves posing a risk of overshooting to an over-speeding cyclist.
By kilometer 7, the 11 bikers of the 36 and above categories have caught up with the main group and had started challenging the head of the break away pack.
At the turn-about in Danao town, while most think the remaining 20 plus kilometers to the finish line will have the bikers’ chances to recover, here, the supposed to be easy downhill ride is interspaced with sudden twisting steep climbs including the over a kilometer ascent to the finish line from Canlinte creek.
After a grueling 56 kilometers of endless pedals, Eric Neil Amba (Talibon) first crossed the finish line to claim the championship for the 24 below category. After him were Loius Caberte (Tagbilaran) and Richie Enad (Sagbayan) for the bronze.
In the 25 to 35 age category, Paseo de Loon’s top card Nicho Biol Lumay (Batuan) claimed the top spot, followed by team mate Jonathan Pagaura (Maribojoc) and Lance Clarete (Tagbilaran) for the bronze.
In the 36 and above, Jessie Dongkey Sanchez (Cebu) picked gold, Julius Gonzaga (Tagbilaran) and Roget Torreon (Talibon) picked the bronze.
After the successful race, organizers told participants that they are again planning for another race in January next year. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)