E-bike: E for enjoyment

My brother Charlie and I have been biking since we were 8 years old. Every weekend, every summer, everyday when we don’t have school in La Salle Bacolod and when our BMX bikes are begging for a joyride, we ride. Wearing slippers or Adidas Pro Models, wearing sleeveless or being shirtless, we’d cycle over 110 rotations per minute. Our playground was Mountain View Subd. in the City of Smiles.

Fast forward to a few decades later and I’ve shifted to the mountainbike and road bike. But there’s been another ride that I’ve tried lately. 

An E-bike. The “e” stands for electric. There are various types but the one my buddies James Co and doctors Ronnie Medalle and Ron Eullaran and I use is termed “pedelec” (pedal electric cycle): it’s a regular bike with a small motor that gives you assistance as you pedal. In our Giant Fathom e-bikes, for example, there are 5 settings and you pedal hard but with the added boost. 

My verdict? I’ve never had more fun. I used to detest it. When friends would mention the word “e-bike,” I’d cringe and my ego would say, “That’s for the oldies. I’m a true-blooded cyclist and I only need my God-given legs.” 

What a mistake! Now that I have an e-bike, I’m smiling, pedaling, smiling, pedaling — even on a 15% climb. 

On an e-bike, you’re much faster. We bike in Maria Luisa and you know this village. It’s littered with mountains. On a regular bike, if I climb towards the Busay gate, I’d switch the gears to the softest one and grind slowly at, what, 7 kph? On an e-bike, I’d attack that ridge. I can go on a Niño Surban-like 18 kph on the steepest hill. It’s amazing. And you won’t understand these words unless you try it yourself. 

You cover a much farther distance. In Maria Luisa, if I bike for 60 minutes, that would normally take me to a just few sections in the subdivision. On an e-bike? I can go down to the Banilad guardhouse, trek all the way to the Busay gate — twice. No kidding. Banilad to Busay to Banilad to Busay in 50 minutes. I feel like I’m Chris Froome.

Your workout is (nearly) the same. Dr. Arnold Tan and I were “e-biking” for over two hours last Sunday (elevation gain: 878 meters) and, being Cebu’s top cardiovascular surgeon, he should know plenty about the workings of the heart. 

“You almost get the same workout on an e-bike,” he said. “You burn the same calories.”

I agree. Since you’re going much faster, your cadence increases and so does your heart rate. Your leg muscles will not be subjected to the hard, painful grind but your heart will pump just as fast. And because you’re less “laspag,” you can ride again the following day. And the day after that.

The Bicycling.com article, “13 Reasons to Get Stoked About E-Bikes,” confirms this: “Getting an e-bike can dramatically increase how often you ride, according to a recent survey of nearly 1,800 e-bike owners in North America. Beforehand, 55 percent of respondents said they rode daily or weekly. After buying an e-bike, that number soared to 91 percent.”

An E-bike is a game changer. Try it.

Categorized as Cycling

Biking boom

One “positive” from the COVID-19 pandemic is this: More people will bike. Instead of taking the bus or NYC subway or private car, more legs will pedal and sweat and cycle. This surge will happen here in Cebu, in Manila, in Los Angeles, in Osaka, in London. 

Why the cycling boom? Biking is free. Well, obviously, you have to buy a two-wheeled vehicle. But after that, you don’t have to pay for Shell gasoline or Grab Taxi or hire an Angkas rider. By pedaling your way to work or school, you save plenty.

Second, in this “new normal,” when everybody is scared of sitting two feet away from another human being who might have germs, biking is done solo. You’re safe. And in this era of long lines while waiting for jeepney rides, you’re much faster riding a bike. You simply strap on your helmet and pedal away. You cut through traffic. I’m sure you’ll arrive at your destination faster by pedaling.

On pedaling, here’s Reason No. 3: Biking is one of the best ways to burn calories. Your heart beats 3X faster. It’s a terrific cardiovascular workout. So while you’re saving on expenses, you become fitter. How good is that?

Yes, biking is that good. It’s also good for the environment. There are zero fumes emitted — unlike, for example, a similar two-wheeled vehicle called the motorcycle. Biking helps Mother Earth.

BIKE-FIRST. Since COVID-19 unsettled our lives two months ago, urban planners around the globe have started planning “bike-first” cities.

In Barcelona, new bikes lanes are being constructed and existing bike paths are being widened so that bikers will be able to keep ample distance from each other. We can term this “bike distancing.”

“What we’re seeing across Europe is a brilliant move in cities like Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Paris, Milan, Vienna – the list is extremely long now – that will remove the old, obsolete car infrastructure and actually make infrastructure for all of us,” said Morten Kabell, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation, in a Euronews article.

Rome, Paris, London and Brussels are building hundreds of kilometres of new bike lanes. And in France, the government is subsidising bike repairs and purchases of e-bikes. 

Isn’t that fantastic? The government providing incentives for people to avoid the “old normal” (cars, buses, etc.).

Here at home, the Philippine Olympic Committee, led by the POC Chairman Bambol Tolentino, is planning to distribute 100 bicycles for free to our national athletes.

“Bicycling is not only a healthy way to get from one point to another,” said Tolentino, also the president of the national sports association of cycling, “it also promotes social distancing, not to mention a means to avoid traffic.”

John Burke, the president of Trek Bicycles, summed it best.

“The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the most complicated problems in the world,” he said, citing traffic problems, obesity and climate change. 

I agree. And I add: “You can’t be sad while riding a bicycle.”

Categorized as Cycling

Tour de France

Of all the games that I play (tennis, running, basketball), the one I enjoy most is biking. Maybe it’s the wind that splashes on your face as you descend at 44 kph. Maybe it’s the sweat that envelops your body as you pedal Maria Luisa. It may be the company of friends, laughing and chatting with Ron, Ronnie, Jourdan and James. It’s like drinking with your buddies minus the alcohol. It’s surely because as a little kid, age 10 and residing in Bacolod, my brother Charlie and I endlessly roamed Mountain View Subd. on BMX wheels.

In Cebu, biking is hugely popular. There are serious cyclists like Jong Sepulveda, Tonyson Lee, Miguel Flores and JV Araneta who would sleep with their roadbikes if their wives would say yes. There are hundreds of recreational bikers who pedal beyond Marco Polo Hotel, past Willy’s and reach the peak called Buak.

Cebu is perfect for biking because of the mountains. Our friends from Manila have to travel two hours to MTB in Tagaytay. In Iloilo, they have to cross to Guimaras Island. In Bacolod, makadto pa sila sa Mambukal or Don Salvador Benedicto. For us Cebuanos, the hills reside in our backyard. Just warm-up towards JY Square and you’re ready to scale Busay.

I write about cycling because “Le Tour” is about to finish. And while many of us pedal almost daily, our regimen is miniscule compared to what these supermen go through. How tough is the 104th edition of TdF, where 198 riders from 22 teams started in Dusseldorf, Germany last July 1 and only 167 riders remain?

Total distance for 21 race days (with two rest days in the middle) is a whopping 3,540 kms. Can you believe that? Pedaling 200K everyday at an average speed of 40 kph. These include climbs like the Col du Galibier at 2,642 meters high. Downhill? They are crazy fast, descending faster than 70 kph.

Some fun facts about Le Tour: This race isn’t limited to France as the riders also pass through Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. There are an estimated 12 million spectators along the route. The winner of the tour? He pockets $583,000 (Php30 million). This is large but paltry compared to the $10M of Senator Pacquiao.

Today is the last day of the Tour de France, ending each July in the same area along Champs-Elysees. The final 104-km. flat stage is ceremonial because whoever wore the yellow jersey yesterday will not be challenged or attacked. After three weeks of climbing the French Alps and the Pyrenees, today’s 21st racing day is a relaxing finish towards the heart of Paris.

Yesterday was one of the most crucial stages. I don’t know what happened (Stage 20 starts past my deadline) but it’s expected that the defending champion will gain time over his rivals. It’s the Individual Time Trial (when they bike alone, unaided by teammates) and this second-to-the-last stage runs only 22.5 kms. But because of the speed and skill involved, precious time can be won or lost.

Speaking of time, would you believe that, after 19 race days, the leader is ahead by only 23 seconds? He carries an overall time of 83 hours 26 minutes and 55 seconds and the second-placer, Bardet Romain, is only 23 seconds behind? That gap is about the length of time it will take you to finish this paragraph. Incredible. That’s why Lance Armstrong’s book was entitled, Every Second Counts. Because it does.

The winner? The man who’ll wear that maillot jaune (yellow jersey)? It will be his fourth after wins in 2013, 2015 and last year. Because his parents are British, he rides for the U.K. but he was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. In yellow, It’s Chris Froome.

Categorized as Cycling

Tour ni Frank and Tour de France

Both rhyme. Both involve utilizing two God-given legs to power a vehicle up a steep mountain. Both are celebrated. Of course, nothing compares to the July 1 three-week-long race in France called “Le Tour.” But here in Cebu, we have one cycling race that’s renowned.

It’s the 15th edition of Ang Tour ni Frank and it’s happening today and tomorrow. It all started when Frank Gatdula — who moved to America after high school in 1976 — visited his hometown of Compostela.

“In 1999, I came home and met Dr. JV Araneta who introduced me to Cebu Recycle members,” Frank said. “Riders who would race at the North Reclamation Area every Saturday morning and put in P20 as entry fee. It was like a ‘bente-bente’ winner-take-all race. Watching the guys racing hard for little money impressed me so I decided to donate a little cash to add to their prize money. From then on, every year I come home, I would sponsor an event during Sinulog. It was originally called ‘Cebu Recycle Race Series’ and somehow someone started calling it Ang Tour ni Frank (TnF), synonymous to the big Tour de France. My little donation snowballed into a big event, from bente-bente criterium race to a 3-day stage race that has been attended by a few foreigners.”

Pictured above, Frank Gatdula’s love affair with cycling began in 1983 after he entered the U.S. Air Force. He hasn’t stopped pedaling since and has raced in the U.S. Cycling Federation (Category 4).

“TnF is Cebu’s longest organized road race,” Frank added. “When we started, it was my intention to help build the grassroots. I sponsored a few local riders, including buying new road bikes for those with potential. Over the years, the vision has developed and we now have more bikers and road events.”

The TnF schedule? “Today (Saturday), we will have two races,” he said. “First stage, to start outside JY Square, traverses through the Busay Road and finishes in TOPS. This is the most challenging stage of the TnF. The 2nd stage is the Twilight Criterium near Lantaw SRP. It’s a 2.2 km. stretch with two hairpin turns for 40 minutes. The second day (tomorrow) will take us from Danao to just north of Lugo with a distance of 90 kms. We also have two ‘King of the Mountain’ awards.”

A total of 150 participants are expected with over 30 arriving from outside Cebu. And since this is the 15th anniversary, Frank has added special awards for Most Aggressive Rider, Oldest Rider and Youngest Rider. To avid cyclists, don’t miss Ang Tour ni Frank.

Read “Appreciating the Tour ni Frank” by my good friend and fellow writer, Dr. JV Araneta.

Categorized as Cycling

A Giant in the world of cycling


Taichung, TAIWAN — The word “giant” means “colossal,” “jumbo,” “mammoth” and “gigantic.” This word aptly describes the City of Taichung when it comes to biking.

GIANT. I mean, the brand. If you’ve entered Bikecology in BTC, chances are you’ve seen the name. It sounds American. The word itself is one of the English language’s most common terms. And when you see the GIANT brand prominently written on a bicycle, you’d think it’s from the U.S. It’s Taiwanese. And, to be more specific, it’s “Made in Taichung.” This city is the third largest in Taiwan (next to Taipei and Kaohsiung) and it’s a highly-progressive marketplace.

Giant, upon my further investigation, is not only “Made in Taiwan” but it happens to be the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer. Yes, no mistaken wording there: Each year, Giant produces over 6.3 million bicycles and grosses US$1.8 billion.

Here in Taichung, dozens of Giant shops are sprinkled everywhere. In bright blue color, the signage outside bike shops is giant-sized. Last Friday, I visited one mega-shop in the Dongshan District and it’s littered with over a hundred bicyclyes — of different colors, shapes and prices — plus hundres of varied bike components and gear. Wanting to bring a souvenir from the land of the Giant, I looked at some cycling jerseys. I thought they’d be heavily discounted but, priced around NT$2,200 (times 1.5, that’s P3,300), I declined. Instead, I opted for a “miniature Giant” — a small bike-replica that cost $560 NT and was given to me for $400 (P600).

As it was a mid-weekday morning, there was only one other customer while I checked the items. I spoke to Justin, the owner, and his shop not only housed the complete line of Giant goods — but also a sizeable room for repairs. Plus, an innovative feature of the store (since it was located along a main road), there was an “Air Pump Self Service” right outside for anyone with deflated tires to use for free. Excellent idea.


185 WAREHOUSE. The giant Giant store wasn’t the only shop I visited. Together with my friend here from Manila, Albert Go-Alcantara, we went to the largest bike shop in Taiwan. It’s called 185 Warehouse Shop in Daken, Taichung and it’s humongous. It’s a five-story building stocked with so many bicycles and gear that you feel like you’re an 11-year-old inside Toys ‘R Us. They have a cozy coffee shop at the ground level (with a hanging road-bike as decor) and several floors of everything-cycling. The interesting thing with this shop is, they don’t have Giant bikes! They have all the other brands but no Giant. (From what I read, to be a Giant distributor, they require that you stock almost all Giant items — and this store is different.)




Another exciting happening: Taichung Bike Week (TBW) is near and it will bring many of the world’s top manufacturers, suppliers and companies in this city. TBW runs from November 5 to 8 and two prominent Cebuanos whom we know very well — Chris Aldeguer and Mike Flores, who operate Vellum (www.vellumcycyles.com), a brand I personally use — are intending to join.

But here’s a bizarre twist on Taichung cycling: While this city houses “the world’s largest bike manufacturer (Giant),” not many of its residents are into biking. At least, that’s what Jasmin and I have observed along the city streets. Motorcycles, yes, they run plenty — but not bicycles.

TAIPEI. In Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei, it’s a different story. There, bicycles are being pedaled everywhere. Bike lanes are a natural extension of the road and, for the best part, there are numerous bike-for-rent shops scattered all over. You just need to register, deposit a bond, and you can rent bicycles at spots around town. For one hour, it’s NT$15 (P23). Taiwan being the world’s bike capital, they have several bike options: multi-speed, folding bikes, mountain bikes and even tandem bikes! You hop on a bike and can drop it off at another spot. It’s easy, inexpensive, convenient — and promotes zero-pollution and exercise. Cebu should have this!

Categorized as Cycling

Lance Armstrong: Still an inspiration

We don’t know the truth. He may have. He may have not. Nobody but Lance Armstrong knows the truth. But, this truth we know: Among the billions of inhabitants our planet has hosted, he is the greatest human being ever to pedal on two wheels.

Pele. Ali. MJ. Federer. Phelps. Bolt. The name “Lance,” without question, belongs in the same sentence as those revered icons.

Remember the LA story? He was scheduled to die. A world cycling champion by the age of 21, he succumbed to testicular cancer that spread throughout his youthful system. Doctors declared him dead. Or, at least, they gave him a 30 percent chance of survival.

Biking? Climbing the Pyrenees? Winning a race… any race? Ha. Ha. Ha. Forgot those. How about breathing? Standing up? Walking? He walked. He climbed the Trek saddle. He pedaled. Then, miraculously, shortly after that near-death moment, he wins the 1999 Tour de France. Not once or thrice–but seven times, the most of any cyclist. And more than that, he won them every July from ’99 to 2005. Seven straight.

We all know the Tour de France. It is the single most excruciating and painful of endeavors, UFC included. You bike everyday for 23 days (with only two days of rest in between). The total distance for those three weeks? About 3,500 kilometers–many of those climbing the steepest of climbs atop the Pyrenees or the French Alps.

But more than his accomplishments on the bike, his life’s more enduring impact was felt in the cancer community.

Livestrong, his foundation, was started in 1997. It will turn 15 years old in October.

Did you know that almost $500 million (that’s over P21 billion!) has been raised by Livestrong? Can you imagine the tens of thousands of lives that money has helped save?

Added a CNN report: “More than 100,000 people have engaged in an awareness-raising activity such as running, walking or riding in the name of Livestrong.”

To me, this is Lance Armstrong. The inspiration. And this is how I choose to remember him. Like my good friend Dr. JV Araneta, who wrote a beautiful piece (“A Champion Forever”) in The Freeman yesterday, I’ve long concluded this statement: Lance is a hero.

That’s why yesterday, while playing tennis, I wore my favorite “US Postal” yellow cap. And, two afternoons ago while mountain biking in Maria Luisa, I wore the black-and-yellow Livestrong jersey and cycling shorts.

Chris Aldeguer, who has followed Lance even before his ’99 TdF victory, has made the same conclusion. When I chanced upon Chris early Sunday night, we biked and talked about Lance. Chris’ words? Though it’s highly unusual for a fighter like Lance not to fight this legal battle, he knows that the USADA has made its “You’re guilty!” verdict from the very start… and so it’s useless to fight.

“I’m focused on the future,” said Armstrong after joining a mountain-biking race in Colorado. “I’ve got five great kids, a great lady in my life, a wonderful foundation that’s completely unaffected by any noise out there, and we’re going to continue to do our job. The people like the people who are standing around here or on the course, they voiced their opinion in the last 48 hours and are going to support us.”

Optimistic. Looking ahead. Pedaling forward. Regardless of the mountain to climb, that’s Lance.

Ormoc City’s TLBF

Last Thursday, I wrote about Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal, who recently retired after a seven-year stint with the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Goyo, as he is known to all, is now focused on another mission: Biking.

In 2002, he launched the Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival (TLBF). In honor of his late father, Terry, the TLBF is a weekend-long party of cyclists and mountain-bikers that has become the biggest yearly gathering for pedal-pushers. “We’ve brought the festival back to where it started and where it belongs,” said Goyo, on the TLBF to be held in Ormoc City. “The 2011 TLBF will be more ‘homegrown.’ I just retired, so we wanted make it more ‘local.’”

While Atty. Larrazabal was the youngest commissioner of the Comelec, he had to be based in Manila. And so, for 2009, the TLBF was held in nearby Subic. Not this year. What makes this the country’s biggest? “Normally, events happen within a day and after, everyone goes home. Having 100 to 200 participants makes the event already big (in Mindanao, you might have 500+ participants for a MTB XC event). For the 2009 TLBF, there were about 1,200 competitors,” said Goyo.

“For a regular event, they might have one to three races. The TLBF in 2009 had about 14 races and 10 side events. The TLBF is one of the very few events where cyclists from all parts of the Philippines come to attend. And in 2009, we had participants from 14 countries (excluding the Philippines). The 2006 festival appeared in about a dozen international magazines (US, South America, Asia and Europe). This year, we have 20 radio stations running our radio ads nationwide. We’re also the first cycling event outside the U.S. included in the Dirt Rag Magazine World Tour.”

The TLBF will be held this Thursday to Sunday (March 31 to April 3). In the official website, www.tlbf.org, you will see the list of activities. For bikers, there are numerous races: Cross-country, single speed cross-country, 29er cross country, Downhill, Time Trial, Criterium and, the most fun, a “Beer Run” where, “after completing a pre-determined cross-country course, participants must finish drinking five bottles of beer, before being declared as winner.”

The TLBF is not all biking. Included are the following diverse sporting competitions: Ultimate Frisbee, softball, boxing, shoot-fest (Level 2 PPSA), and a national Football invitational. Plus, as Ormoc is known world-wide for this most delicious fruit, there’s the Pineapple Trail Run. “It will be the most unique off-road marathon in the Philippines,” explains Goyo. “Imagine running through and across a pineapple plantation, with pineapples on both sides and cowboys on their horses as marshals!”

Categorized as Cycling

Goyo Larrazabal: My Comelec story

Mention the words “Larrazabal” and “Running” in the same sentence and you get a unanimous reply: Y-O-N-G. That’s Dr. Potenciano Larrazabal III, the most prominent marathoner in Cebu.

Mention the words “Larrazabal” and “Biking” in the same line and, this time, you get a different answer but with nearly the same letters interchanged: G-O-Y-O. That’s Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal. Yong and Goyo are cousins. One is an eye doctor; the other, a lawyer with an eye for public service. In sports, no two people are more passionate.

Hans Rey with Goyo L.

Atty. Goyo Larrazabal, of course, we saw on TV. During the 2010 elections, he was the youthful face of the Comelec. He was the “rookie” tasked to spearhead a first in PHL politics.

“I was in COMELEC for seven years,” said Goyo. “I started out as Provincial Election Supervisor, was Regional Election Director, then became the president of the COMELEC Regional Election Directors Organization. It was during my stint as President of CREDO when all the regional directors made a manifesto for me to be appointed as Commissioner.”

After the confirmation, the En Banc designated him as the Steering Committee head. “It was a challenge as I was — literally and figuratively — the youngest Commissioner given the task of overseeing the conduct of the automated elections,” said the 39-year-old Goyo.

“It was an opportunity and challenge that doesn’t come that often (a huge understatement). There were so many challenges that had to be addressed. We worked together with a number of dedicated and qualified individuals who shared a common goal: to change the way people view elections and how elections are conducted in the Phils.”

While the Filipino voting populace was doubtful, even suspicious, of computerization, the Comelec delivered on its promise.

“People, I guess, now fully appreciate the pressure during the weeks leading up to the elections,” he said. “But there was no option other than to make sure we had elections on May 10. And I’m forever grateful to countless individuals who stayed the course and focused on the goal, despite the deluge of disinformation some were spreading.”

Today, his first name “Commissioner” has reverted back to “Attorney.”

“I retired on Feb. 2,” said Goyo. “Now, I’ve been busy with the Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival (TLBF) and Pinoy Bikes/Bike Town Cyclery. I’m also planning for voter education/empowerment which we hope to launch this year with the DepEd and PPCRV.”

A mountain-biker for the past 22 years, Goyo looks like the 5-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain. I asked if his myriad of experiences–including founding the TLBF (which runs next week, from March 31 to April 3)–helped him handle the unimaginable pressure.

“I consider myself blessed because of my unique perspectives,” he said. “I belonged to a political family, thus giving me the view candidates have of elections. I used to practice election law, thus providing me with a unique insight. I used to teach (St. Peter’s College and Cebu Doctor’s Univ.), work in a bank, work in the Office of the President of the Philippines, and had the perspective of an event organizer (the TLBF).

“I always say that elections is an event, which needs to be managed properly AND I was a COMELEC field official who was assigned all over… from Region III, Region V, Region VIII and the ARMM. Add to this the support of my family, which is important for anyone who wants to be successful.

“And when I got appointed, there were some people who wondered why, as I was young (the youngest Commissioner on record) and they didn’t really know me. Some speculated I was there to make sure the elections would not push thru (“Why was this young guy appointed and made to head the automation project?).

“But when we did our work, even on Sundays, we knew that failure was never an option. Knowing that you’re doing it for your country, family, wife and specially my son, that was the driving force behind the effort.”

(Read this story on the TLBF 2008.)

Categorized as Cycling

Rory Jon Sepulveda pedals off the court

Of all his passions—as lawyer for Gov. Gwen Garcia, consultant of the Provincial Capitol, arch-critic of Rep. Tommy Osmeña—the one activity Atty. Jong Sepulveda enjoys the most is non-argumentative: Riding that pedal-driven, two-wheeled, human-powered vehicle.

“I love everything about cycling,” he told me. “Its history; the cutting edge technology of the bikes; the sights and places the bike takes you along; the pain and hardships of training and racing; the rewards of a relatively good health; and, of course, the camaraderie between, and among, your cyclist-friends.

His biking craze started early, in elementary, when Jong used to bike to school. “Quite a long time ago and we called our bikes then ‘semi-racers’,” he said. “As a form of exercise, I started in 2001 with mountain-biking. Tried road in 2005 and then joined races.” Thus far, he’s participated in dozens, including the Terry Larrazabal Bike Festivals in Ormoc and Subic, and the 3-stagings of Kia Ironlegs in Bohol.

How often does Gov. Gwen’s confidante bike Cebu City’s streets? “Everyday… weather, schedule, wife permitting,” he said. “This translates to at least 3x a week.”

For the past five years, “Jong,” as his buddies call him, has been involved with CC. “We call ourselves Cebu Cycling, a non-formal (unincorporated) association of cycling buddies that hang-out at Willy’s in Busay. The name Cebu Cycling was taken from the Yahoo group forum created by Noel Ting.

With over a hundred CC “roadies” (using road bikes) and over 3,700 members in their website (www.cebucyling.com), the core group includes JV Araneta, Miguel Flores, Jose Ontanillas, Jerome Rodriguez, Cesar Salazar, Frank Gatdula, Geoffrey Lariosa, Francis Lim, John Gayatin, Tony Codina, Art and Tyre Lambo, Raldy Vios, Brett Harrington, Noel Ting and Jong Sepulveda. They’re called the CC VIPs.

“The main objective of CC is to promote cycling – as a sport and lifestyle – here in Cebu,” he said. “As of the recent past, it is only CC that is consistently organizing road bike racing here. For lack, however, of institutional sponsors, our races are mostly small budgeted (but well attended).”

CC-organized races? Plenty. Enumerates Atty. Sepulveda: “Tour ni Frank” (a 2-stage race every Jan. sponsored by Frank Gatdula, who flies in from Stockton, California); “Danao-Lugo-Danao” challenge, held at least twice a year; “Naga-Uling-Toledo” road race; and “Greenhouse Race to the Sky.” CC also supports special events like Nob Clarke’s 10-mile Time Trial races, Al Figer’s “Tour ni Figer” and Andot Rubi’s “Copa de Cebu.”

An upcoming big event is next week. “For the first time,” he said, “we’re joining the Tour of Matabungkay this Oct. 22 to 24 at Matabungkay, Lian, Batangas.” The cyclists include… Team A (Cebu Cycling): JV Araneta, Jose Ontanillas, Mike Flores, Raldy Vios, Francis Lim, Brett Harrington, Tony Codina, Ronnie Adlawan, and myself.  Team B (Team Cebu Cycling – HBC; the team out to win) has Ernie Hortaleza, Jerome Rodriguez, John Gayatin, Philip Sainz, Art Lambo, Tyre Lambo, Ramon Espinosa, Ned Revilla, and Mirko Valentin.

As to his sport’s popularity: “Cycling, specially road cycling, remains a marginal sport here. Hate to admit, but Cebu’s rapid development makes cycling in our terribly busy roads a not-so-interesting proposition. Besides, bike lanes suffer extremely low priority in our cash-starved governments. Be that as it may, due to the increased popularity of triathlon  — we have seen more athletes taking up road cycling lately. As to popularity between two sister disciplines – mtbiking and road cycling – the former has way more adherents. Cebu is more conducive to mtbiking with its abundant mountain roads, trails and paths.”

Finally, he added, “The moment I throw my legs over my bike for a ride or race… I am at peace with myself and the world. Only the homicidal behavior of some drivers can sometimes disturb that peace—but, the more I ride, the more I’ve learned to ignore them.”

Categorized as Cycling

Contador wins, Lance exits

Can you believe this? After biking for 21 days ending last Sunday in Paris, after pedaling for 3,642 kilometers, after the winner logged-in a time of 91 hours, 58 minutes and 48 seconds on that Specialized-branded bike, the difference between the champion and runner-up is minuscule: Thirty nine seconds.

Yup. If you read aloud the above paragraph, it will take you 39 seconds. That’s the same length of time that separated the Tour de France champion, Alberto Contador, from the second-placer, Andy Schleck.

Contador finished with a time of 91h 58’ 48”. Schleck ended at 91h 59’ 27”. Imagine a winning-time difference of only 39 seconds! For, in Le Tour, Every Second Counts. (In fact, this winning gap is only the fourth closest in history. The record was the 1989 win by Greg LeMond over Laurent Fignon by eight seconds.)

The Tour de France is considered not only the Wimbledon of Cycling but also one of the toughest events on Earth. What did the 2010 race teach us? Plenty.

First, Alberto Contador is cycling’s Manny Pacquiao. He has won three of the last four TdFs (he was absent in 2008 because his team could not compete) and is only the fifth racer in history to win all three Grand Tours (France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España).

Two, with AC’s win, it reaffirmed the status of Spain as numero uno together with Rafa Nadal, the World Cup-winning football squad, Pau Gasol, and, two nights ago, Fernando Alonso, who won the German Grand Prix. Spain reigns!

Three, we love rivalries. Like Roger vs. Rafa, Lakers vs. Boston (or will be LA vs. Miami next year?), Tiger vs. Phil (we wish!), there’s a new couple: Contador vs. Schleck. The past two years, they finished 1-2. We can’t wait for 2011.

Four, the Tour de Lance is done. Mr. Armstrong punctured a tire on the cobblestones, slipped on the wet roads, and admitted he’s “just not fast enough.” Well, what can you expect from a 38-year-old father of four (baby No. 5 arriving in October). Which brings me back to Lance’s seven TdF wins—and how astonishing that was to accomplish. Imagine, zero mistakes for 21 days… multiplied by seven years… straight!

Finally, with Floyd Landis and Greg LeMond ganging up on their fellow American, let’s hope, at the conclusion of all this, that Lance is telling the truth. For the estimated 28 million cancer patients today, for sports, for the sake of honesty, let’s hope Lance did not inject.