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Run for Pasig River - Ride 'n Roll

After successive years of ABS-CBN's Run for Pasig River, this year's event dubbed as "The Quezon City Experience" paved for another successful fund-raising activity which involved not just runners, but also the riders in bikes and skateboards as well. Held right at the tip of the New Quezon City Central Business District and aiming to clean-up the Esteros leading to the Pasig River, the Quezon Memorial Circle became the venue for the assembly, starting, and finish line, and the very well-known Commonwealth Avenue as the out-and-back route for all the race categories.

More than 80,000 participants coming from different Schools, Universities, Corporates, and Organizations supported this biggest fund-raising event of the Country which have already garnered a Guinness World Record last October 10, 2010 (where I also joined). The Ride n' Roll category also attracted about a couple hundred riders of non-motorized scooters, skateboards, and bikers to participate.

Supported by our employer (STRADCOM Corp) for the second time (the first was in 2009), the Company was represented by more than 70 employees ranging from first time, seasonal, and coming-back runners while six (6) among us including me participated in the 15K Ride 'n Roll category.

1-day Backtrack
Saturday afternoon - a day before the event, my MTB was begging for some maintenance as the front and rear derailleur would slip incorrectly whenever I switch gears. The tires have also lost almost one-fourths of its air and the drag has already become more noticeable (haven't pumped it yet since July).

I went to a bike-shop near our area in Kamuning but the serviceman is still busy with about two more other bikes waiting in line. Since I still have other things to accomplish for the remainder of the day, I just bought a bike-pump and decided to just finish my other errands and braved to fix the bike myself, hoping that it would still be functional on race day. Fortunately, after more than an hour of manually and experimentally tweaking the adjustments on my derailleurs, I finally got the trick and had the bike's gears smoothly switching once again. That saved me a hundred peso for the labor fee but made me nervous that I might not be able to do it properly and end up pushing the bike on-foot on race day.

Stradcom Riders - Me (shortest), Dennis, Glenn, Jeff, Leo
Debut Race
The tiredness of my body from the early Saturday morning's MetaFit Race Challenge, the day's errands, the cold night, and the pouring rain made me fall into a very deep sleep. My whole system was still recovering that I haven't heard my two time alarms which should have woke me up at 2:45AM. Instead, I just woke up a quarter before the gunstart and lucky me, I was just a kilometer away from the race venue. The 15-minutes remaining time though was just enough for me to suit up, no bathing needed (who else are guilty of this?)!

Arriving at the venue 5-minutes late for the scheduled gunstart, I was still able to catch-up with my colleagues at the starting line after mazing my way through the early 15K and 5K participants who have already assembled at their own clusters. There was still some introductory program when I arrived and the National Anthem is yet to start. The gun-start was finally fired 4:20AM.

Around 1-2 left inner lanes of Commonwealth avenue was closed to vehicular traffic and were manned by Marshals and some Traffic/Police Officers. The road became filled with small lights and blinkers coming the road bikes, mountain bikes, folding bikes, even BMX, and I also saw one skateboarder at the start. I just don't know if he still went for the whole 15K route.

Riding freely at Commonwealth was such a joy for me. The adrenaline was different compared to when I traversed this same road going to La Mesa Forest Reserve. The feeling during that day was full of fear and nervousness that a bus or jeepney, or even a motorcycle would or might bump me and throw me to my death bed. Contradictingly on this race, the air that my face was catching, and the safety from the absence of speeding vehicles on our route got the competitive part of me. I can speed up as much as I can on flats and downhills, and I can go as slow as I would like on the incline portions.

The flyover of Tandang-Sora-Commonwealth and the gradual uphill going to Batasan was where I struggled. I could feel the bike's weight dragging me back so I have to switch to one gear lower. Aiming to finish before 5:00AM, I was pedaling continuously except on some downhills, when turning, and on the U-turn. I enjoyed the speed much when I am going down, then on flat roads when I can't get the bike as fast as when going down, I wished that I should have just brought a road bike. I felt that there was definitely a different kind of adrenaline rush when speeding on a bike, and what more on a faster roadie or tri-bike! But then, I couldn't bring these speed bikes close to where nature, the mud, and the mountains are. How I wish I could afford both the time and money to buy and ride a tri and an MTB!

After around 38-minutes, I arrived at the finish line where the Marshals led us straight to assemble inside Quezon Memorial Circle to prevent the bottle-necking at the finish area.

I was happy to finish my first bike race on a competitive mode. I just don't know if 38-minutes is a good finish time, if not average, for a 15K bike race. Well perhaps not for a Tri-event! In just a few seconds, Juvy arrived and was also happy finishing the race. One-by-one, more bikers arrived including my officemates Leo, Glenn, Jeff and Dennis who also finished their first bike race.

Next target... off-roads!

Check-out some photos below of the 5K morning madness and 15K challenge categories.

Stradmates starting to embrace a healthy lifestyle
15K Challengers
QA group - Mak, Angelo, Opec, Rain, Rachel
The beauties of Tandang-Sora Flyover :)
Walter, John Li, and Knubs - serious mode :)
AppDev and HR - Ryan, Rozy, Fatima, Ms. Nihal, Marisol, Herbert
Operations group
Other participants on their yellow event shirts
*Photos courtesy from STRADCOM HR and Employees.

Finisher's certificate may already be downloaded until 30 November, 2012.

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