Audax 400 Experience

 

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Audax 400
Subic to Alaminos and Back
April 18, 2015


400 kilometers is a long, long ride. But to put it in perspective, two things: 1. This is not a race, 2. I have a personal SAG. If it weren't for these I wouldn't have done this ride and miss the joys of long distance cycling.

David's Salon Van In Front of Mango Valley Hotel


Coming into the event, I prepared for three weeks. First I called my friend Byron of bisikletaadventures.com to discuss our entry, I thought it was a done deal but still he needed some convincing because as I learned he wasn't riding much at that point and already posted in FB about his non participation due to lack of training. But it was an easy sell as he is an addict of cycling and a tiny amount of reason would easily convince him ;) Second, since I wasn't running since March 8, I have a well rested body and could concentrate on riding and not worry how sore it could get when it's time to run.

United Folding Bikers during Registration

We registered at Mango Valley Hotel lobby at exactly 5:00 P.M. the day before the big day. Shy told us there were only 20 medals available so we availed of it outright. It appeared that there were 75 participants/hardcore/addicts who will go on to enjoy the ride and only 20 finishers could get the finisher's medal which was brought in from France.

From Paris With Love

The ride started at exactly 3:00 A.M. It was dark but it wasn't cold. I was wearing my usual running shirt, the reason: I don't have a cycling jersey... EVER. We all had our fancy lights and blinkers, all 75 strong of us I guess.

The Bridges Of Zambales

The first 50 kilometers were pretty much easy. I arrived at the 51.7 kilometer checkpoint at 4:57 A.M., got my card stamped and took off. On my way to the second checkpoint I heard Carmela's voice yelling my name to join their peloton, I am not good with pelotons but it was a chance to save energy and make the most mileage before the sun would torch us up. I joined and stayed at the back up to 150K mark. As I was at the back of the paceline I couldn't help but ask the guys near me if it's ok that we weren't taking our turn to pull. The ride was actually too easy at the back that I felt guilty and I couldn't enjoy the view as I was locked in on the tires in front of me.

Paris-Brest-Paris Contingent

We arrived at the 150K point at 8:46 A.M., and guess what, my legs were still miraculously fresh. Since I am the weakest biker in the triathlon world :) this is clearly a miracle work of Carmela's Awesome Double Paceline locomotive. 


The Awesome Double Paceline of Carmela's Group

The checkpoint was at Banana Beach Resort in Dasol, Pangasinan where I took a shower before heading to Alaminos City for the turnaround point. The sun was already at its peak and the road was unusually harder than the flats of Zambales. When the peloton passed me I was on the side of the road taking a break and by the time I could mount the bike they were gone. I went inside the city of Alaminos which was a mistake after ignoring the by pass road going to Sual.


Checkpoint at Kilometer 150

At the turnaround point I was kind of hoping to have a good long rest and use the toilet, turned out there were none. I had the card stamped and rested for approximately 45 minutes hoping the clouds to come and cover the sun. The clouds never came, I decided to start rolling back to Subic.

Banana Beach Resort

It took me a lot of time to go back to Banana Beach Resort, the next checkpoint. There I hit the shower again and changed clothes before I ride once again. The ride back to Subic was full of stops, I mean I rested a lot on the side of the road, on sari sari stores, on top of a hill, everywhere. When the sun was about to set I prayed to reach the top of the Masinloc climb before the sun go down. 


Toothbrush at 240K

Then darkness fell... the one thing I dread the most. My legs and body were holding up well but the blackness of the night was the one thing I couldn't stand. I called the Masinloc climb the Silent Hill as in the horror video game I used to play. 


Team UFB

Before the ride I left my daughter alone in Subic, turned out she enjoyed her day being alone and actually had parasailing into the sunset but she got stuck at Yellowcab Pizza House and couldn't go back to the hotel by herself so I had to hurry up and be there before midnight. I pushed hard with only 20 kilometers left and finished at exactly 11:41 P.M. I was 24th at the 350K checkpoint and finished 20th, I overtook 4 guys along the last 50K but only saw 2 of them. 


F I N I S H (photo by Shy)

The cyclocomputer had logged 409 kilometers, I got my Audax medal, I was in one piece and my daughter enjoyed her day, so you'd guess I'm booked for Audax 600? Well, you're wrong, although the physical endurance came as a surprisingly positive experience it also revealed that I won't stand the night time ride. My mind was playing tricks on me, even the flat roads looked realistically uphill for the longest time. The darkness of the night made me doubt myself and made sure I wouldn't have the courage to join the 600K ride. I'll miss out on the fun of the Audax 600 but I had lots of memories to cherish from this one single ride called Audax 400. Congratulations to all the finishers/participants and organizers. Mabuhay!

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