You're stories were awesome! It's so much fun reading so many versions of one event, seen from different perspectives. Now, all it needs is a woman's touch :-)
Out of the 8 Team David's Salon cyclists, only four confirmed to join the Powerbar race - Pia, Bing, Marita, and I. Mona wanted to join but it would not be safe for her since she is fasting during Ramadan. We understood how important that was for her and we wouldn't want her running on an empty tank anyway. Tes and Nitzel are busy preparing for the SEAG in Cebu so they were not present as well. Bing almost couldn't make it after suffering from typhoid fever a week before, but fortunately she recovered in time, and not even her dear boyfriend/team manager, Ron, could stop her from racing. Pia just arrived from abroad the week of the race but still decided to join despite not being able to ride her bike for 10 days. Marita is in tip-top condition and we were confident she would bring honor to our team. As for me, well, I'm kinda in the limbo mode, being able to train but not as consistently as I should and doing mostly long rides. I wasn't so confident coming into the ITT because I knew I didn't do enough intensity and power work to prepare for it.
Bing and Marita, along with Coach Gado and Driver Gino, left for Matabungkay Friday afternoon, while I stayed behind and waited for my hunny to finish work. Finally, at around 830pm, Taro picks me up and we head for Matabungkay. After dealing with some traffic and trying to stay awake during the late-night drive, we arrived at MBRH at 1130pm. We waited a while for Mona to hand over the keys to the room since Bing and Marita were already fast asleep. After some small chit-chat with Mona, we went to bed, eager to get at least a few hours of sleep before the race. But thanks to the Figaro cafe mocha I drank to get through the drive from Sta. Rosa, a barely slept a wink that night while Taro was snoring away.
The next morning, I woke up not feeling as sharp as I should on the day of a race. But I just shrugged it off, got dressed, had a light breakfast of banana and Promax bar, registered and got my race packet, got my massage, and went off to warm up with Bing and Marita. We were lucky enough to be sent off around 8am so we still had time for a proper spin, although we could no longer ride on the race route.
First up from our team was Bing, then Pia, I, and lastly, Marita. As I waited to be released from the platform, I saw my heart rate monitor read 160bpm, while on a stand-still! That was definitely not a good sign, but I just blamed it on the adreline rushing through my veins. When they let me go, my HR was constant around 180bpm. My plan was not to go over 35kph on the first 20km and gradually increase my pace on the second half of the course, then go all out on the last climb. Well, things didn't turn out the way I planned. On the first half of the ride, I was feeling good and even passed around 3 female riders, but as I reached the half-way mark, that's when I started getting into trouble. One by one, female riders started to pass me. First it was Mimi, then Marita, then Rizzo. I maintained a legal distance behind Mimi for a while but by the time Marita caught me, I was running out of gas. I could no longer hang on to them on the hills and I got dropped. I was disheartened. And when Rizzo passed me, I knew it wasn't a good day for me. If I had trained for the ITT, then maybe I could have finished stronger. By the time I came to the final hill towards the finish, I had nothing left for a final sprint. My hunny was nice enough to ride beside me and give me the strength to stand up and sprint but instead I snapped at him. Sorry hunny, those were my legs talking. I was so tired and disappointed with my performance that I didn't even have the energy to enjoy a cup of Milo at the finish line. All I could think of was that I hope I still had the legs and the mind to make up for it the next day.
I slept better that night, probably due to exhaustion and maybe too much Yellow Cab pizza (yes, we drove all the way back to Tagaytay just for that damn pizza and pasta). But Taro woke me up so early, he was trying to get me out bed at 4:30am when the race wasn't until 7am! I set my alarm at 5am so I got up then, dressed up and had blueberry pancakes for breakfast ( I just love pancakes!). We headed to the starting line to sign on and I saw my mom and some of my relatives who came to watch me race. We had our pre-race massage as usual, gave my hunny a kiss and wished him good luck and reminded him to make sure he finishes the race, and saw them off. Then it was our turn to wait at the starting line. Pia went ahead and waited for us at the junction because she was worried about riding side by side on a road full of cracks and potholes. Upon our release, the pace was nice and easy amd we were even joking that wouldn't it be nice if we went at this pace the whole time? Ala Bike for Hope. But of course, it was too good to be true because the pace started to pick up on the first hill and even more on the downhill. We were even asked to slow down because we were about to catch the first wave. So we rode the remainder of the 10km neutral zone at a speed of 20kph. Then as soon as we were flagged off, someone launched an attack. I'm not sure if it was Ariel (Autotrend) or Richard (Waterwood) who attacked first, but it wasn't until the puting-kahoy climb that the stronger riders became the lead group, and us mere mortals tried hard to chase them. I was riding behind Edgar on the downhill but I couldn't keep up with his speed. Just when I thought I had lost my chance to bridge the gap to the second group, a rider from San Pedro was about to pass me and Bing shouted for me to hang on to them. Luckily, I was able to hang on and we caught Edgar and some other riders. We were part of the third group but the second group was within striking distance, if we would only organize ourselves and work together. Coach Gado then ordered everyone to take turns pulling, and would even shout at those who were slacking. In his words, "mamaya na kayo manggulang, magtulungan muna kayo. Mahiya kayo sa mga babae. Kung di niyo kayang pumalit, magpaiwan na kayo!"(hey guys you ought to be ashamed of yourself if you dont swap pulls with the ladies...better get off the back of peloton) The guys didn't like him too much after that, especially those who weren't cooperating. Thanks to Coach Gado's nagging, we caught the second group consisting of Richard Uy and Paul Mutuc among others. We were a big group and the paceline really helped us recover but there were times when I wanted to fall behind. But the thought of riding all alone scared me so I just kept pedalling and hoped the pace would slow down soon. Approaching the final climb was nerve-racking! I started psyching myself up, trying to calm myself and to focus on my breathing, and to hang on to dear life if someone pushes the pace or launches a sprint. I knew I didn't have the sprinting power the guys and even Bing had, so all I wanted was to be able to hang on at the back with everything I've got. And as expected, there was a sprint up the finish line, and I managed to finish behind Bing and infront of Caloy (Elixir). It turns out that Marita's group, after Kiko and Ernie (Dupont) broke away from them, only had a few seconds lead from our group. I was happy with my performance that day, I guess I really am a road racer more the a time-trialist. And our team was happy to wrap up the weekend with a sweep in the women's category.
Congratulations to all the winners and finishers, especially Mimi and Rizzo for a superb finish during the ITT, and all the female cyclists who were women enough to race against men. Hope this encourages more and more ladies to try road racing and more and more race organizers to include a women's category for us. More power to Raul Cuevas and the Powerbar race organizing Team. Thank you, Ricky Ledesma, for doing a great job emceeing, as always.
Thanks to our sponsors David's Salon, David's Skin & Face Spa, Wella, In-2-It Make-Up, Rudy Project, Promax, Accelerade, Endurox, Accel Gel, Vittoria, Aloe Up, and GEAX, also to Coach Gado, our team driver Gino, of course my hunny, Shintaro.
Keep on biking,
Team David's Salon