Monday, April 7, 2008

My Annual Physical-Psychological Exam As a One Mile Bike Run

Once a year, when I can manage it, I like cycling up Kennon Road from Sison town in Pangasinan to Baguio City in Benguet province. It's a kind of combined physical and psychological exam which amazingly enough I seem to have passed with flying colors yesterday along with a much younger and stronger nephew. It's thirty klics as motor cars go, but about a mile up as elevators go. The first twenty kilometers almost anybody can do since the elevation change is only roughly a quarter of a mile. But the last ten kilometer stretch is what Filipino lowlanders call "the Zig Zag Road" and where most of the altitude (and attitude!) change actually occurs. We did it in four hours on a diet of water, seedless black grapes, feta cheese, lakatan bananas and a good deal of "lakas ng loob." Being a 3 day holiday weekend, there were an unusual number of cars on the road and several of them were being driven by the usual homicidal maniacs still high from inhaling Manila's miasmic fumes with predictable malevolence-inducing effects. But though I love all of the Cordillera's roads and highways, like the Mountain Trail (Halsema Highway), Kennon Road is special as a kind of roadway to the Philippine mountains. It was built over a century ago, representing the first multimillion dollar appropriation of the Philippine Commission under William Howard Taft and his zoologist colleage Dean Conant Worcester, the American discoverer of Baguio (then a grazing land of the Carino family). Anyway, the only downside of this exercise for me is that now I am sure to gain weight from rewarding and congratulating myself. As I type this out, lunch on the verandah of the Baguio Country Club (another centuried institution) is beckoning. Hmmm, should I have the buffet or ride on up the mountain trail to Sagada...? (Take one guess!)

12 comments:

cvj said...

Lunch on the verandah vs. Sagada? for me that's a no-brainer. I especially liked their steak with Lea & Perrins although i'm not sure if they still have it.

Bike carefully!

DJB Rizalist said...

hehe, thanks cvj, actually had lunch at cafe by the ruins. strawberry smoothies and longanisang hubad. yummy...maybe sagada later in the week.

right now listening to GANGEH MONTANYOSA (Mountain music gongs, nose flute, bamboo)

The Nashman said...

I'm so jealous! I have never done this!

I've taken that road many times on car/bus/jeep and I know how crazy the drivers are so I was a bit scared back then...

I will definitely do the Halsema Ride soon!

blackshama said...

My annual physical-psychiatric exam for 2008 was doing a 15 K hike on a 20-25 degree grade from 9-3 pm over rolling terrain in Iloilo.

Well I did outpace the 18-20 yr old students with me!

DJB Rizalist said...

blackshama,
hehe, as they say, them young whippersnappers got nuthin' on us clever ole bums...youth is wasted on the young...

Jego said...

Come on, no contest. The 18 - 20 year olds grew up with Nintendo, Atari, and Playstation. We grew up with habulan base, patintero, luksong tinik, and tumbang preso.

And where are the pictures, DJB?

DJB Rizalist said...

No pictures, even left the camel back behind and shaved the little black rubber hairs off my tires. Left my legs unshaven though. hehe. Got nothing to prove to anybody by myself.

Equalizer said...

"one starts to get young at the age of 60 and then it's too late"Pablo Picasso

Amadeo said...

Your Spartan bike regimen beats my mindless biking around our park in Tracy for 45 minutes.

But I can emphatize with the rigors and stress needed to continue pedalling without let-up for minutes on end.

Let me say that it is as rigorious as jogging even on level field.

More power - to you and those damn legs!

mschumey07 said...

The last time I rode up to Baguio on a bike was after the earthquake. Went up with a bunch of volunteers.

Tongue's Wrath said...

The last time I ate (breakfast) at the BCC verandah just outside one of the conference rooms, a Titleist Pro landed a few inches away from my sunny-side-up.

Biking on Kennon? I can do that, though southbound lang heheh.

Sagada probably sells the cheapest quality greens - including what they call Baguio Gold. Sweet paper thrown-in free.

MBW said...

We did Mt Kinabalu on foot last August -- that was tough. I think I'd die if I try the trek on a bike even if only halfway.