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mountain biking

La Trinidad Ridge May 13, 2006 Saturday

La Trinidad Ridge

While picking some strawberries at the Swamp View in La Trinidad, I bumped into my riding buddy, Lester. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I asked him to put me in the loop for any ride that's on the horizon. Later, I got a text: "Saturday 6:30 am at Swamp View. Short or long ride?" Hmmm....that was fast. I opted for a short ride. I thought it best to play it safe and not find myself over my head.

La Trinidad riders

Ride day came, with Lester and his friend, Yano. We rode into the interior of the village to pick up another rider, Bogs. The ride through the meandering footpaths of the village was reminiscent of Demang, another village in Sagada. The streets that connected the houses were cemented foot paths on top of a swampy area. Now I know how it got the name.

Salad Bowl
La Trinidad is a valley shaped like a salad bowl. Our 'short' ride circumnavigated the ridge surrounding the valley. That meant riding on the mountain tops until we come full circle. It was interesting to note that many villages and cities are practically side-by-side, only divided by that ridge. At one point, we could see the La Trinidad valley to the left and Baguio to the right.

Horsing Around
The way to the trailhead meant riding almost a vertical road that started at valley-level and shot straight up to the 'clouds', very much like the Hong Kong tram. It didn't even bother to wind to make the uphill more forgiving. These guys didn't seem to notice the climb. They horsed around, passing from behind and 'clicking' the other rider's shifter or they squeeze the other's brake levers! At times, side by side, they would give each other that knowing look and without any verbal exchange, explode into a sprint all the way to the top. This was all happening as I struggled and panted and heaved my way up. I wasn't sure if it was the thin air or my long absence from the racing scene, but I strongly suspect I was simply riding with ultra-fit riders. It was a heads-up on how the pecking order was. These guys eat climbs for breakfast.

Trail System
They knew the trails and every little cranny little fork that lay ahead. We took such scenic routes it was understood to stop, pause and visually treat ourselves to the grand picture that lay before us. Our ride along the winding crest of the Trinidad ridge took us to villages, landfills, single-tracks, downhill runs and more hillclimbs. We even blazed our own trail to get back to the village.

At many given points, we were reminded that what we had for trails were not meant to be there for long. It wasn't surprising to see a mountain carved up for development. Given the rate of migrant influx, it was only a matter of time before the trails give way to houses.

Chill Weather
The weather held up despite the looming threat of a signal no. 1 storm. It drizzled for a bit but let up. The wind however, was a different story. In some areas, the wind's velocity toppled my camera and the tripod it was on. A pleasant thing about riding here is the climate. It's cool but not cold. Even when the sun is out, it doesn't scorch the skin, unlike Mt. Maarat riding where the sun toasts you to a crisp.

Baby Sitting
I knew we hit the 25 km mark when my quads gave me a stern cramp warning. They were kind, stopping on all points to allow me to stretch and pause, before the cramp locks my quads into a painful vise. On a ride, I usually do some baby-sitting. But on this one, they baby-sat on me with a gentle reassurance that no one was in a rush...a class act if you ask me.

Hospitality - La Trinidad Style
Upon making full circle and landing where we essentially took off, we stopped by a bakery for some much-earned calories - Royal Tru Orange, muffins and cake! Before I could shell out some cash, it was all settled at the counter. I was again accorded their warm hospitality...a recurring thing up here in the north. Next one's on me, guys!

Ending Thoughts
This ride was a blast. We were 4 kids lost in a huge toy store. I couldn't help being reminded of a Cat Steven's song, "Child for a Day". The La Trinidad riders know how to ride a bike and they know how to have fun on the trails. I'm only grateful they shared their coveted playground with me and took me as one of their own. Thanks guys!

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

(Jan 9, 2009) i just happen to come across your blog entry..nakita ko title, related sa la trinidad, syempre binuksan ko...and then, nakita ko pics nila kuya lester at bogs, cool, nakasama mo na pala sila sa bike-out. kapitbahay lang namin si kuya lester, si bogs naman schoolmate ko nung highschool, one year ahead saken. small world talaga. i bet you really had a good time with them.. :)

(May 19, 2006) "We eat climbing for breakfast"...he-he-he. Baka mabasa ng mga taga Baguio...nakakahiya. Anyway, we were overjoyed on how you described the ride with us.

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