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Eco Adventure Race 2010, Dumaguete July 3, 2010

Eco Adventure Race 2010, Dumaguete

A Survivor Philippines Windfall
I was approached by the organizers Ian and Luz, to be a Survivor Philippines 'celebrity guest' for their 2010 Eco Adventure Race. If at all, this is the first time I'd ever milk the Survivor mania for anything its worth, but I knew it was gonna be fun. I was in, despite not knowing what I really had to do. As an added plus, they even looked for someone to partner with me.

Know Your Partner
Heeding UPM Nan's advice to 'know your partner', I asked Ian to set up a meeting with my partner...girl? boy? young? old? I had no clue. I was told later my partner is a woman - Aesha (I didn't realize then the team had to be coed). When my partner showed up at Gabby's, our meeting place, I was flabbergasted.

Aesha Eleyna Amigo Villanueva
She looked like she just jumped out of Vogue's July cover - beautiful, statuesque and confident; a mestiza with a disarmingly radiant smile. Apparently, she plays the part in real life being a print and commercial model in the US and here in the Philippines. She's also a local celebrity hosting a tv talk show. We talked and I realized that complementing that exterior look was brains! She was decked with her medical student uniform and talked about spending the next 5 years in med school before she takes on her specialization. Ah...a vocation in the service of others! How truly yogic (at least in my parlance)! And here's where it gets even more interesting - she's out to win and have fun. So...beauty, brains and personality, anyone?

Being on the Same Page
In order to manage expectations and ensure we were on the same page, our talk focused on race goals and dynamics, experience background, fitness level and partner support. I left the meeting supremely confident Luz found the perfect partnership between myself and Aesha. Thanks Luz! I guess it takes a thinking beauty queen to spot another. (Luz was Ms. Dumaguete 2008)

Motorcade
Race day started off with a morning motorcade around the city. A truck of percussionists led the way followed by civic groups who were assisting in the event, sponsors, and us racers on our bikes. We ended up at Robinsons Place for registration, getting our race packet, and getting familiar with the course map.

The Race
There were about 12 control points (CP) representing 12 challenges spanning the municipalities of Dumaguete and Sibulan - a gamut of various disciplines designed to test fitness, resolve and stamina, not to mention strategic and tactical thinking. To wit - finding a person and making her laugh, singing your heart out in a karaoke bar, zip-lining from a bridge down to a river bank, lighting candles in front of the belfry while doing a rain dance, pulling your weight up a tree to grab 3 eggs, raising P1000 for charity, cycling, swimming from a pier jetty to shore, gorging on 6 hamburgers, traversing a climbing wall and riverbank garbage collecting.

Bottlenecks
We experienced bottlenecks on some CPs as 1 equipment had to shared by all racers, one team after the other. Whatever time gain we shaved off dissipated into thin air as we waited helplessly for the team ahead of us to finish. If they were slow, then all teams behind them were effectively penalized for the wait, increasing the time gap from the ones who have already finished the section.

Inching our Way
After the traverse wall climbing segment, Aesha and I were already ahead of everyone. At that point we actually had a clear shot at finishing first. But the next destination proved elusive. We lost valuable time as we tried one destination after another. By the time we finally got there, 4 teams were already ahead of us. We managed to overtake another team but we were at the last few legs of the race. By the time we finished, we ranked #4.

Party Time
After the race, the stage was set for performing live bands - party time and awarding ceremonies. Several bands took turns playing while the shoppers of Robinsons watched as well. Poi performers did a fire show, a kid group did a rap number, and some of us racers participated in a push-up contest. It was all good and great fun for the remainder of the night.

Ending Thoughts

2 Guys Pulling the Strings
Given the magnitude of this event, I'm left astonished how only 2 organizers, Ian and Luz, managed to pull it off - notwithstanding of course they got help from several civic groups. Being a pioneering adventure race, it was expected that there would be a few glitches. The more important thing is to get it off the ground - and it did. The operative mandate now is to know how the next event can be better streamlined by learning from the lessons gleaned here.

Boy Racer
Another insight is being a racer in a race. Almost every time I attend any race, I tell myself I'm only in for the fun - that it's not about a podium finish; that if I lose, as long as I did my best, I won't lose sleep over it. But in reality, when the race is underway and the adrenaline gets flowing, and the instinct kicks in, it's all about fun, giving my best AND WINNING. Who was I kidding? Any racer I'm sure has been drawn to that conclusion at some point. Not trying to sound hardcore or anything...just calling a spade and spade.

Partner Aesha
Two very enthusiastic thumbs up to my partner Aesha for not letting her glammed-up public image get in the way of playing the game right. She ate balut (boiled egg with embryo still intact), dug-up garbage with her bare hands and swam the questionable waters of Sibulan port to get the job done. She'll be in the trenches when it's called for. Make no mistake about it. Beneath that porcelain façade is a battle-hardened sun-baked amazonian who'll take no prisoner.

Golden Moments
It's not everyday I get to enjoy myself at this level - the exhilaration of a race, having Aesha for a partner, bonding with my fellow racers, meeting and drinking with the guys who provided support for the event, and lastly for feeling that connection between me and the community. Again, in my parlance, it's one magical moment. Thank you Ian, thank you Luz and thank you Aesha.

--- TheLoneRider

Special thanks to UPM Nan Enriquez and Dennis Lopez for sharing their adventure-race tips.

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Reader Comments:

Jim Ward
(Jul 11, 2010) Just spent 30 mins updating myself on your adventures....as always nice to see things you are up to. LOVE the mall bike story...ride captain ride.


Dindo Velasquez
(Jul 10, 2010) Hey LoneRider, your partner is HOT!

Dennis Lopez
(Jul 5, 2010) Congratulations on your finish...panalo teammate mo!

Geno Romblon
(Jul 5, 2010) We'll be going to Negros Oriental this August to have a vacation on my mother's hometown Siaton. I suggest that you visit Balanan Lake! Hehehe!

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Eco Adventure Race 2010

Dumaguete

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