TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol December 1 (PIA)-Call it familiarity of the trails, or perhaps, relentless training and unmatched endurance, Bohol mountain bike kings took two of four championship slots as Cebu and Bacolod extreme mountain bikers each took one championship post in four age group categories in what is touted as the first and very successful Bike ta Bai's (BTB) Epic Challenge 2018.
Boholanos from Team Paseo de Loon took the Elite and 40-49 age group championships while Cebuano bikers from Salt+Fin and Bacolod City's MedTrek Team completed the top four most coveted posts in Bohol's first distance and endurance mountain bike challenge November 25, 2018.
Not really intent on giving up the bragging rights as the kings of epic distance in mountain biking, Boholanos showed world-class extreme bike skills to keep Cebu and Bacolod bikers off from sweeping the categories and reigned supreme in the recently capped Epic Challenge 2018.
EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING. Extreme mountain bikers who have endured over 60 kilometers of punishing trails still manage to flash the smile, as Bohol slowly positions itself as an extreme sports tourism option for mountain biking. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Boholano elite biker pair of Nicho Biol Lumay (Batuan) and Adelino OrtillanoBuligan (Calape) and team mates Jonathan Pagaura (Maribojoc) and Ernesto Garcia from Paseo de Loon Elite Cycling Team worked as a team never really outdistancing each other to motivate as well as guide the spent racer back into recovery pace to grab the top two positions in the race.
Lumay and Buligan, in racing number 09-1 and 09-2, crossed the line in spectacular fashion after taking turns in taking the lead to finish the grueling 85 kilometer route that winds through the killer climbs of five towns, in an aggregate time of 4:11:52.61 seconds averaging a nearly impossible 20.68 kilometers per hour pace even through high grade ascents.
Not far behind were elite teammates Jonathan Pagaura and Ernesto Garcia who also clocked in at 4:12:17.34 seconds, the second pair to cross the line in Punta Cruz Historical Watchtower complex where the race started off at 7:00 in the morning on a Sunday.
Third to cross the line were Cebuanos from Salt+Fin team with Lito Belarma and Roger Niere, who were champions in the 39 and under category, the pair registering a 4:15:25.87 finish.
Fourth to cross the line and coming in second on the 39 and under category are Cebuanos John Paul Juson and Jhep Poy Juson who clocked in at 4:27:20.02.
Coming in fifth over-all and hailed as Champions for the 40-49 age group are Boholanos of the Paseo de Loon Team with Roger Dot Torreon and Roberto Roy M. Saniel, who crossed the line at 4:29:04.93.
Roughly a minute later came Pathfinders Multi-Sports team of Cebu who crossed sixth over-all as Paul Ryan Lucero and Redan Cantilla came in third for the 39 and under category with a combined time of 4:30:24.16.
Over thirty minutes of lull, barged in seventh over-all and grabbed the second place for the 40-49 age group were Zamora Butchie and Glen Flores of TriBohol at an aggregate time of 5:05:15.76.
Eighth in the over-all pair of arrivals after non stop bike pedal cranking third placer for the elite category; Cebuanos of the Team Big Ring Race and Adventure: Metchel Pilapil and Jezam Baldomar, who clocked an aggregate time of 5:05:58.66 seconds.
Ninth over-all zipping along the downhill to finish were Cebuanos Teddy Ponce and Edwin Pesons (Mandaue) of Agwantista Mountain Bikers who came in at 5:06:43.43 which earned them the Third place finish for the 40-49 age group.
Tenth overall and hailed as Champions in the 50 and above ager group were Bacolod bikers Renato Fuentes and Francis Solatorio of team MedTrek who both garnered a combined time of 5:18:17.94.
NOT TECHNICALLY A BIKE RACE. Technical segments of the Bohol Epic Challenge 2018 were so tough several riders chose to walk their bikes than suffer the humiliation of a crash. (PIA Bohol/BTB)
In eleventh place over-all are Boholanos of the Bohol BikeKings Feliciano Perez and Godofredo Albuladora coming in with an aggregate time of 5:50:32.22, which earned for them the 2nd place for the 50 and above age group.
Meanwhile, in the twelfth place over-all were Boholanos of the Bohol Bikers Club tandem of Venancio Amora and Concordio Dods Bernales who had a combined time of 5:58:58.15.
The extreme distance and course race featured a grueling climb that drained most riders who thought it was wise to crank up and gain the high ground in spectacular race to the first kilometer of uphill climb to the highway.
"They should have exercised restraint during the race considering the distance alone," commented BtB Epic technical consultant Jojo Murillo Orcullo, who along with BTB members, plotted the 85++ kilometer race course that would take the riders through barangay roads and trails of Maribojoc, Antequera, San Isidro, Calape and Loon and traverses across the mountains that not only promise to give a biker a painfully slow ascent, but also leave their throats parched as sandpaper as well.
Organized by BTB as the first distance extreme mountain bike race in Bohol, "the Epic Challenge has, as advertised, a race and a test in self-sufficiency where a biker would have to use his prudence to supply himself with enough provisions for him to finish and conquer the race," remarked organizer Gerry Marmito, who always considered the success of the race as a team effort and because of the support of the local government units of the traversed towns, their race volunteers and the great weather that lasted during the most crucial time of the race.
Participated in by bikers from as far as Mindanao, Bacolod and Ilo-ilo as well as joined in by foreign endurance mountain bike enthusiasts, the Epic Challenge had most bikers on the verge of giving up on the killer climb segment from Loon town to Tan-awan and the equally tricky technical sections of Jandig Maribojoc.
Early in the race, Bikers who were released in age group waves found themselves lumped in tricky downhill in Bayacabac, and when some who had the nerves slashed through and rampaged the steep loose gravel descent, others had to walk their bikes for a safer traverse.
The trails were challenging, and the guys were great on the trails, it was a day worth the camaraderie, a biker from Bacolod said.
Charlie Bamford, who went through the trail despite not being able to beat the registration schedule said it was an amazing event.
"Truly Epic. Wonderful route with a killer last climb. Well signposted throughout (loved the orange ribbons). This was one of those very few days when I really felt "alive." Great meeting fellow bikers and their wheels," Bamford who came in with his wife from Tacloban said.
Already keeping the biggest number of participants at nearly three hundred mountain bikers in four age group categories, the Epic Challenge would be a tough feat to beat, Cebu bikers who have gone through the trails admitted.
The epic challenge has been Bohol's newest offer in extreme distance mountain biling next to the gruelling and institutionalized Kinatkatay sa Binabaje, an annual mountainbike race that surmounts the tall mountains of the Alicia Panoramic Park.
Extreme mountain biking is also Bohol's alternative sports tourism offer in recent bid to diversify its tourim activities and spread out the development to underserved communities, especially those strung over mountains that also offer the unique Bohol sights. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)