WHO says cycling is no longer popular in the Philippines?
In a show of force by Filipino riders, close to 10,000 riders grabbed the rare opportunity to ride along busy Edsa and C-5 road during the latest offering of the Go for Gold Larga Pilipinas race.
Close to 3,000 competitors fought for titles in 11 categories, while another 6,000 joined the succeeding Fun Ride.
This is the first time that a major cycling race took place in the country’s two busiest highways, which of course would not have been possible had it not been on a Sunday.
“This is not your ordinary race. This is classic. One for the book and one event that might not happen again,” said Larga Pilipinas technical consultant Atty Froi Dayco of Larga Pilipinas’ 24.8-kilometer that traversed EDSA and C-5 via White Plains Drive in Quezon City and JP Rizal Street in Makati.
Youngster Aidan James Mendoza took advantage of his fresh legs to dominate the Professional/Elite category, taking a lead role in the early breakaway with multi-champion John Mark Galedo and Jerry Aqunio, Jr.
It only took Mendoza 23:18 minutes to finish the course which became very nerve-wracking for some livestream viewers who witnessed the race that was set in an unusual concrete jungle setting.
“Yan po kasing ganyan kaikli na karera, talagang buhos na agad yan. Di ka na dapat magpahinga riyan kasi kaunting pagkakamali mo sa ganyan kaikli na race, maiiwan ka,” said Mendoza.
“Saka nung nakita ko na beterano at mga laspag sa iba’t ibang karera yung kalaban ko, siniguro ko nang hindi ako mawawala sa harap,” he added.
Another youthful rider, Jeck River, finished second and veteran campaigner George Oconer third in the event supported by PCSO Scratch It, Koten Enterprises, Nickel Asia Corporation, Excellent Noodles, Standard Insurance, Emperador Brandy, Juicy Lemon, Mother’s Best, Black Mamba, Boy Kanin, Aerox Quezon City Club, Versa.ph, Uratex Foam, MMDA and PhilCycling.
Call Center guru Fred Chua ruled the Corporate Executives, followed by Randall Hortaleza and Lance Asprec as comebacking former Tour Champion Albert Primero re-kindled his deadly form to take the Masters plum.
Second-generation rider Manuel Reynante topped the Managers trailed by Alfie Tangzo and Alonzo Castro while Athena Marana showed brilliance in the Women’s race besting Marianne Dacumos and Kate Yasmin Velasco.
Jarwyn Banatao completed a back-to-back championship by once again taking the Triathletes/Duathletes title over John Vyrom Lucero and Miguel Mapalo.
Other winners include Lorenzo Rellosa (Amateurs), John Carlo Garol (Under-21) and John Carl Reynante (Fixed Gear).
The race was a fitting sequel to the equally well-attended Larga Pilipinas First Salvo in Marikina last month.