Friday, November 22, 2013

Cycling: Bandits join Ride4Bai

Rain pelted down on my face like arrows on target seeming to come from everywhere-- chilly drops sleek as ice slapping you from the left, right, front and back. Pedaling at a little over 30 kph on a slippery cycleway with a band of veteran riders and the creeping, agonizing acidic pain down my quads, I had the notion of stopping. But the thought of way worse conditions back home made me change my mind as I decided to dig deep and ride on.

With the Bandits Cycling Team on a borrowed jersey from JO. Photo credits: Woody.
L-R: The author, Boboy, JO, Woody, Ronald, Art, Rainier and doc Allan.
ROOTY HILL, NSW. The first ever Filipino group ride in Sydney's West was a tremendous success. Ride4Bai, a fundraising drive created to help victims of the Philippines' recent calamities in the Visayas region, gathered over a hundred riders from different cycling teams even as far as the Central Coast, raised over $4,000. 

The fundraising ride started at Rooty Hill Train Station and proceeded along the M7's Cycleway to Norwest and back. It was a huge 30-km celebratory effort for these guys, who not only raised awareness on the country's plight but also it was a first (hopefully of many) in terms of team fun rides for riders who regularly ply the Cycleway. Photo opportunities were aplenty with friendships ignited and acquaintances rekindled. Back at the station, the riders were treated to a sumptuous breakfast, which included among many, a steaming pan-de-sal! A raffle draw concluded the event which saw gift items and prizes donated from the different cycling stores around the area. 

I was lucky to ride with a group of veteran century riders, the Bandits Cycling Team. These guys have embraced this newbie rider like an old brother. Being a runner all these years, I have just learned my way into road cycling having been coaxed into by my mentor and good friend, doc Allan (I did push him, as well, to go for his first half marathon). The Bandits ride as a team regularly every Wednesday nights at 6.15 and Saturday mornings at 7 on the M7 so the camaraderie is as strong as carbon fiber. Everybody is welcome to ride in.

The 8-km ride back home was a challenge. Rain began to fall and pelted us like rocks from the sky. The rest of the guys literally flew even on wet pavement. I started to complain to high heavens but thought better of it. In current conditions, I was already lucky more so because Woody, one of the veteran riders, rode with me out back. Drenched and shivering we were when we got home but nonetheless we did something right that day and the heavens opened up to say thanks. 

The Philippines still need our help.

Ride on, Bandits!

Veteran Bandits: Boboy, doc Allan, Woody, JO and Art.
The Bandits in a light moment. Who's got whiter legs?

Registering as one.
Ride4Bai riders. Photo from the event's FB page.
JO queues up for his breakfast of champions.
One more photo before the deluge that followed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


57 minutes at the 10k mark
In runner's lingo, a PB refers to "Personal Best" whether in a speedy 5k or in the grueling distance of the marathon. It is widely used in Commonwealth countries like the UK and Australia. In the US and elsewhere, it is referred to as a PR or "Personal Record".

The Iron-couple
And so on a clear Sunday morning a few weeks back with erstwhile running partner Erwin, we ran Race 4 of the monthly Sydney Marathon Clinic Half Marathon distance-- and scored a 2:06 PB. 

Mind you, it is not even the average time for our age group but nevertheless a PB is a PB when just a few months back we scored our best in Race 2 with a 2:14. I say, not bad at all!

For average Juan's like me, a sub-2 is an ambitious target. With a 5:42 pace it is most doable in the 10k, but double the distance and the tank gets dry faster than you can say PB. It is already an overwhelming achievement when just over 2 years ago, my first half marathon was an almost turtlish 3 hours!

Official time: 2:06
Still, I think we are on track. We ended the year with a bang and started one with a whoop!