30 January 2023

Mt. Ugo Race & Boss Ironman

MT. UGO RACE


Alright, the FIRE in me is back!!! 👍 

After the CMU race of 21k, I felt good although my quads were shot 2 days after. I was not surprised they were. I did not do any trail run prior to the race! I laughed at myself every time I descended a stair mumbling something like, "Shit, my quads hurt! Idiot, what do you expect?! You have not done any trail run prior to the race, you dumbass!" Then after a week, I was looking for another race to feel the pain again. LOL 😁

So, I have decided to join this year's Mt. Ugo Marathon by my good friend and race director, Jonel Mendoza. This is the first trail race (I think) in a series of races culminating to Hardcore Hundred miles or H1 for short. Yes, 160kms! Arguably, the hardest 100-mile race on this side of the planet. 

I have done H1 in 3 consecutive rows. In 2013, I finished 2nd and after my 3rd finish, I was inducted in the Hall of Fame and never went back. Why? It is a sufferfest! :) Believe me. I found my race report here during my first finish. It was nice to relive the memories. 

Let us see what happens next. For sure, I'll be back in May for H1 but not as a runner. As pacer for a good friend. In a way, it is my own unique way of paying it forward. I do remember that a few years ago, another good friend of mine took on the challenge to run H1. I was supposed to pace but he quit mid-race. I was pissed off because I was planning to use that pacing duties as training run. Oh well, no use bitching about it, is it? So, we drank instead to drown his sorrow and to forget about the whole damn thing! Also, he never went back. Just like my 1st run, his race was also made difficult with rain at the start of the race. Nasty 💥


BOSS IRONMAN

Now as a rider, I will be joining the Boss Ironman on February 24-26, 2023. 1,200 plus kilometers to cover several major provinces in Luzon and it should be done within 24 hours. Date is almost upon us.

Am I ready? Oh yes! And I am saying that with all humility. James has covered almost 27,000kms and counting. Lots of riding experience there but I am sure, there are others who have covered more distance than me.

For added confidence, we will be doing a practice night ride on February 4 starting at 10PM. Sort of a simulation for the actual BOSS ride covering as shorter distance of around 700kms from Clark, Baguio, Ambuklao, Kayapa, Baler, Bongabon, and back in Clark. Something like that.

As an added practice also, I regularly ride James from home-work-home (more or less 14 kms total in a day. Day start and finishing at night during rush hours) just to maintain or hone my street riding skills. During the actual BOSS ride, riders will pass through several towns and cities, and I think this skill is very critical. You know that skill to weave in and out of traffic and have that tip-top mental alertness to avoid accident. Riding on highways is pretty much straightforward but not on busy streets especially here in Philippines. Bloody chaotic! 😬👿

'Til next time!

Cheers

Jon (missing playing golf)




29 November 2022

TRAILRUNNING CONCERNS (part 2), NORTH LOOP (almost) & Tatay MAENG SORIANO

TRAILRUNNING CONCERNS (part 2)

Hmm. Where do I start?

Things are going well for the next race Cordillera Mountain Ultra 2022 this weekend, December 3 to 4, 2022. I will be merely running the 21K as part of slowly easing into longer distances starting next year. 

We will be seeing old familiar and new faces for sure during the event. It'll be fun to relish the rapport and camaraderie amongst trail runners once again. This feeling is hardly present when joining road races. Once thing I love about trail running is the kindred spirit you have with other trail runners. I always look forward to the Finish line where most of us linger around while waiting for other runners to cross. Then there is the chat, and if you are game, beers too!

Given many runners will be attending this race event, I would like to invite, speak with and "interview" (for lack of better term) runners on the current state of trail running in the Philippines in general and some of the issues affecting it. So please feel to approach me anytime when I get there on Saturday morning or you can message me privately in FB on how to go about it. The anonymity of these runners is certainly guaranteed. 

Regardless of their opinions, beliefs and affiliation, I want to talk to as many runners as possible on these issues because I feel objectivity and impartiality are important considerations before releasing the next blog post here on this topic. So thank you very much in advance.   


NORTH LOOP (unofficial)

Moving on. Alright, so we did this "unofficial" North loop (minus the Aurora province) last weekend covering, more or less, a distance of 1,143 kilometres. James has proven itself to be very reliable for this long arduous trip.


The actual route plus a detour to Villa Verde Trail 

We decided to cover the North loop after joining the 7th Ilocos Sur Invitational Ride in Vigan City as part of our "training" for the 2023 Boss Ironman. There were more than 2,000 riders so they say. We purposely skipped Aparri and Baler in Aurora since it'll be nice to see something "new" during the actual Boss Ironman. Just like in ultrarunning, you don't cover the entire distance, say, 100 miles in a training. You have to leave some area or distance, so it'll be exciting, as earlier said, to see something new. I love the long stretches in Cagayan!

At any rate, the highlight of this trip was a visit to the parents of my law school classmate, Atty. Louie Soriano of Honda Philippines in Roxas, Isabela. I remember distinctly on how hospitable his father was when we saw him for the first time during the baptism of my classmate's child in Laguna. I was one of the ninongs.  His father was then 53 or so and now at 73. We loved the papaitan he prepared for us especially after getting drunk with Fundador :) So that was around 20 years ago. 

He is still chatty, friendly and cool even at his age. Not the grumpy old man. Of course, the experience was complete with heap serving of their local dish, papaitan over Jack Daniel and red wine. I can't explain it but you have this instant rapport with some old gents. He is one of them.  

Thank you so much for the accommodation and hospitality!!!


Tatay Maeng Soriano

Here are some pictures of the trip. 



Welcome lunch venue. Look closer at those bikes on the bridge.

Riders at the Welcome lunch.






Fellowship night

Some riders at the Rosario La Union before heading out to Vigan.



Try the Bigote IPA


The famous Vigan Longganisa








Now this is the best "mineral" water in the world! Truly free and natural.

Cheers,
Jon (tired as hell after the trip. It felt like the next day after running an ultra race except your legs are still fresh :)


23 November 2022

MALICO RIDE, CCM & TRAILRUNNING CONCERN

MALICO RIDE

Friends had been telling me about riding going to Malico or Villa Verde trail which is the site of the infamous Battle of Villa Verde Trail between US and Japanese forces during World War II. To date, this place has become a scenic site due to the presence of an old Sherman Tank and beautiful pine-clad surrounding.

So Nick, Kyle and I set out to visit the place last 12 November 2022. Around 214kms, we initially took the TPLEX and exited via Rosales. We could have taken a shorter route but that would require us to pass through towns which is equivalent to traffic, crowd and all. Meaning, it'll be slower. On the way back, we took the Pangasinan route via Tayug. Faster. We were glad that this road is finally open to the public. Fairly new. 

We had fun as the weather was cool and relaxing and the view, wonderful!





2022 CCM


I had to pester him, my long-time friend, Don who works for Filinvest since Mimosa was the venue sponsor for the 2022 Clark City Marathon for a free race kit. In previous years, I would have opted for the full marathon but not this time. Only 21kms since I am slowly easing into racing. I could have run the full mary but I don't think it would have been fun. At any rate, this was my training race for the upcoming Cordillera Moutain Ultra on December 3-4, 2022.

Thank you Don and the organizer of CCM for allowing us to run.  Yes, Don ran the 21kms too. It was nice to see him again after more than 2 years due to the pandemic. At least, he looks fitter now unlike before when he was so much into DJing :)

Hopefully next year, I can have a list of races (mostly trail) to do. I miss going outside the country to race as well. Let's see. 







TRAILRUNNING CONCERN

Soon, I will post a blog article here to discuss what is happening with the trail running community in the Philippines, issues, rifts and other matters in the wake of the recently concluded World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Thailand. I feel I cannot ignore what is happening now and thus, am obliged to chime in given how I love our sport, seniority (both in age and experience), and how I care the direction trail running is heading to. Soon.   

Cheers,
Jon (happy to come under 2 hours and recovering well for the next race)



03 November 2022

On James, Running and The Red Pill

Hey, hey, hey! (As my daughter Sophia is wont to say)

Geez, it's been more than 2 years since I posted my last article here and how time flies! So many things have happened since that last article, notable of which is the Covid or the pandemic. In hindsight, I think the Philippine government might have overreacted its response to it but that is something I refuse to delve into here. There were also the dissolution of the former law firm (not yet over), deaths of my father and my trusted trail henchman, friend and bro, Darwin Bulatao, my best friend, Ricky having a near death experience (Jesus Christ on the three!), cessation of running activities (but I kept running just the same in some backyards), 3 years of no CM50, and obviously, pandemic affected most businesses. 

I was, however, delighted to visit my children in Berlin last Holiday season after 2 years!

With Sophia, Nathan, and Patricia at our favorite Viet resto

Marcus going to school

With Sophia en route to my flight back

Too cold while running

With Ricky

Darwin (RIP)

With erpat (RIP) out fishing

Things are, however, picking up now which is to be expected and good. This reminds me of my ancestors who, while they were alive, kept saying some mumbo jumbo crap when I was a kid - "Ang buhay ay parang gulong lang. Minsan nasa taas ka at minsan nasa ibaba ka." In English, life is like a tire or wheel. Sometimes, you are up there and sometimes, you are below. It simply means that life will give you a chunk size of happiness or beautiful moments but expect the equivalent downturns (e.g. Covid) as well. At my age now, I completely understand where my old folks were coming from after having had my own fair share of ups and downs. We all do.

Anyhow, I am reviving this blog and hopefully, I could get to post a fresh article at least twice a month. Well, the operative word is hopefully. Do I get to earn too? :)

ON JAMES 

This is basically a gist of my adventures with naked bike James (2021 CB1000R). I have spent more than 22,000 kilometers on this beautiful piece of machine since August of 2021 and it was, to say the least, an exhilarating experience! Talk about the adrenaline rush! Wind hitting your body while at a speed of more than 200kms/hr (for a few seconds only) is indescribable and unnerving. I have done racing circuits too! In fact, I get bored easily riding a car now unless it is necessary to do so. Anyway, you have to ride yourself to understand what I am saying. 

I, some friends and our group Honda Elite/Team Bomba have been to different places notably, Bicol region, Sorsogon, Sagada via Tagudin Cervantes route, Baguio, Tagaytay, La Union, Mindoro, Baler, etc. The list of places will keep expanding obviously. All these places offer some of their own unique and beautiful landscape which Philippines has plenty to offer. Visayas and Mindano too! Next big ride will be the Boss Ironman in 2023, which reminds me to stay tuned for date when the registration opens. The slots do get sold fast!

Say hello to James!

I can say for sure though that for the last 3 years or so, we have seen a phenomenal rise in the number of big bikes (400cc and up) on the road. Scooters and other small bikes have been there for a while though. It looks like we will see more bikes both on the road and trail (something on my radar too).

Not only do I use James for adventures or road trips, but he tags along as well (or is it the other way around?) going to work like attending court hearings and commuting to office. There was one time when we (James and I) were on SCTEX coming from a court appearance in Justice Hall in Angeles City when a small sedan was tailing me. Not only it was dangerous but annoying as well. I was not sure what the driver was doing but I was pretty sure he could have easily overtaken me or at least occupied the other lane. 

Coming into a curve, I decided to slow down purposely and waved at the car to speed up forward so I could enjoy my ride alone. Well, you could say I could have pulled away easily but was in no mood. Just chilling. Instead, he moved parallel to me, open his side window (right front window to be exact), smiled (the smile that seems to convey both apology and permission) and waved his camera or it could have been a phone. Perhaps, he had not seen a rider in suit on a motorbike much like the GDR




A male client of mine warns me of the dangers of riding to which I pondered silently - Happiness is not free. On the contrary, it comes with a cost or risks in this case. Our oft repeated saying in ultrarunning, "If it is easy, anyone can do it" seems applicable here as well. I mean if it's your time, then it's your time. If, however, that fear will hold you back to experience something remarkable to you, then I'd say, just do it. Fear, amongst men, should be tamed. Take some risks. The worse that can happen to you is forever wonder what might have been. And I am telling you now, there is no answer to that only the feeling of regret. 

I read this in the book below, which to my mind, is apt -

"Our great risk in life is not that we aim too high and fail, but we aim to low and succeed."     

I could not possibly afford to write all the details of each ride, which is always unique on its own. Too taxing and possibly boring for too long. So, here are some pictures of those rides instead to make you salivate :) There are more but you know this is not some Instagram or a photo book of sort. In fact, it takes me hours to post just one blog article.   































Yes, you could say I have been damn around.

ON RUNNING

There is one road race this last week of November called Clark City Marathon something (No, I have not checked the website yet. Shame.) and a trail race on the first week of December called Cordillera Mountain Ultra or CMU that I have both registered for. Nope, I am not running the 50km for this trail run. Not yet ready. Just the 21K ... for the time being and the road race is also 21K, which is what we call a training race leading to the main race, CMU. 

I am slowly easing into trail running and eventually, ultra races most likely next year. While I have not stopped running, races are different especially ultras. It is just the appetite or fire is not quite there yet. Hopefully by next year, I could join the Lavaredo. Unfortunately, the registration is already closed. Dang. Anyway, let us see what we can replace that with. I was registered for Lavaredo before the pandemic and paid the registration fee. Unfortunately, I and other Pinoy runners could not go because of strict quarantine procedures. It sucks.

ON RED PILL

This one book that most men should read. Controversial yet eye opening. I wish I knew the content of the book when I was, ahem, single. At any rate, I hope you guys get to hold of this. One day, I will introduce this to my sons ... soon. I have read several books on this topic (myriad actually) but this one below is on another level. If there was one book, I'd recommend this one for sure. Perhaps, us gents can start a group or whatever here locally. Well, let's see. If you have read this book or related books, chime in the comment section or message me directly. 


Alright, that is just about it for now. I have a few more topics in mind but perhaps on the next blog post. Time to rest!

Cheers,
Jon
(Growing a beard and wishing for a fruitful yet challenging 2023. I know it's not yet New Year for wishes but what the heck)