200KM Audax Rizal
January 28, 2017 | Boso-Boso Highlands Convention Center, Antipolo, Rizal
Photos courtesy of Carmela Pearson, Jonnel Cruz, Rolen Facundo
On January 28, 2017, Audax Randonneurs Philippines started the year with the toughest 200-km Audax ride in the country, Audax Rizal. There were 319 registered participants who signed up to finish the 210-km cycling challenge on very hilly terrain with almost 3,800 meters of climbing all within 13.5 hours. The Did-Not-Finish (DNF) rate was at 41%, the highest in the almost seven-year history of Audax Randonneurs Philippines.
“The route was not created to please but rather to challenge one’s self. I wanted my fellow Audax riders to experience what I go through when I do a Gran Fondo in Europe,” said Carmela Pearson, founder and route master of Audax Randonneurs Philippines.
There ride attracted cyclists from Australia, Qatar, and Singapore. Local cyclists from Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Sorsogon, Batangas, Benguet and many more were present. Cyclists from Tuguegarao (Cagayan Valley) drove for 12 hours just to join the toughest Audax ride in the country.
While Audax is not considered a race, finishing such a tough ride within the allotted time is demanding. Cyclists contended with the elevation, time cutoff at each control point, and the worst weather in Audax Philippine history. Headwinds and crosswinds were strong enough to blow some people off their bikes. Videos were posted showing bicycles being blown away at the top of Jariel’s Peak. The rain was relentless on the way up Jariel’s Peak and extra caution had to be taken, especially going down the mountains.
Cyclists had to beg for newspapers, garbage bin bags, and old magazines to stuff into their jerseys to keep their core warm. Upon reaching Tanay and going up the hills of Sampaloc Road, the heat from the sun was quite excruciating.
Despite the challenges, there were things to celebrate about the ride. Many cyclists, whether they had finished or not, were smiling on the ride back. People laughed themselves silly as they shivered in the cold. Audax riders have a tendency to find joy in the worst of cycling scenarios. Even if a lot of people DNF’d, the overall atmosphere was positive.
The new course record for Audax Rizal was set by 17-year old Myrson Paul Basto of iFIT Pro Unlimited with a blazing time of 7 hours and 32 minutes. Equally inspiring were the cyclists who finished the challenge on their fat bikes, folding bikes, mini velos and mountain bikes! A lot of stories were shared of strangers helping strangers, strangers sharing their food, stories, and encouragement with other fellow cyclists. Friendships have been forged in Audax Rizal and that what makes this cycling challenge extra special.
Audax Rizal was made possible with the help of Antipolo City’s City Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office, the ladies of Team David’s Salon, and Team David’s Salon Club, the secret marshals from Centurion Cycling Club, iFIT Pro Unlimited and Juan Pedal, Jola Gonzales, our Audax crew and David Charlton of David’s Salon Inc.