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TDS Christmas Get-together 2017

If there's one thing I truly consider a blessing in my life... it's the fact that I have been with the best multisport team in the country. I've been with Team David's Salon since 2007 and it has been one of the best things that has ever happened in my sports life. Truly, David has been the most generous sponsor out there that never pressured us to win or perform in the events that we join. All he wants is for us to promote women's active lifestyle and enjoy ourselves in the process.

grateful for this bunch!

The team has gone through a lot the past few years and I'm happy to see that we are at a happy place right now. The dynamics, the respect and the overall performance within the team is something I can be very proud of. I consider my team mates as sisters and very close friends. I am grateful beyond words. Merry Christmas from Team David's Salon! :)


Yesterday, we held the last audax rides for 2016. What a great turnout to kick-off the 2017 Audax season! We had the biggest ride to date with 446 registered participants. 274 participants out of 314 finished the 200km audax ride while we had 123 finishers out of the 132 Audax 300km pool. I didn't expect a huge turnout as I know a lot of people are now in "off-season" mode and getting into the groove of all the Christmas festivities. Kudos to everyone who showed up and supported! :)

scenes at the start

I am humbled as I saw a lot of like-minded individuals who just find joy in this very sport. Most of us had to overcome a lot of mental, physical and even mechanical challenges last weekend. Someone once said that, "Good things come to those who Believe; Better things come to those who are Patient and the Best things come to those WHO DON'T GIVE UP."

audax riders in action!

To everyone who joined us last Saturday, thank you for the good vibes and being inspirations to others. An audax ride is never easy and I would like to commend everyone who showed up at the starting line at 4am. Thank you to Ms. Jola Gonzales for her leadership over the Audax crew and allowing me to organise and ride these events at the same time. Thank you to Mr. David Charlton of David's Salon for the unconditional and untiring support since 2010. Up to now, I can't believe Audax Randonneurs Philippines is already 6 years old! I am very lucky to have one of the best endurance sports sponsor in the country. :) Thank you to our dutiful marshals and crew who worked for more than 24 hours last weekend.

audax riders in action!

Last but not the least, I would like to thank the supportive partners, wives, children, friends and family of our audax riders. I've met some of you last Saturday and I appreciate the crucial role you all played for the success of your loved ones. If there's one thing I've noticed the past few years, the audax is truly a family affair. Such support system is extremely commendable and I am grateful to have witnessed this.

ladies who audax! :)

Rest well, randonneurs! And I hope to see some of you on January 28 in Audax Rizal... the toughest 200km Audax ride in the country!

different groups united to finish the audax!

P.S. Photos from the cameras of Alfred Callanta, Alice Bautista, Allan Dale, Benhard Prado, Beverly Sta. Maria, Bless Aquino, Brandy Quiocho, Bryan Arevalo, Cecile Lalisan, Chris Cometa, Christopher Kier Legaspi, Colin Pearson, Consigliere Barler, Dindo Directo, Eric Masa, Faye Sta. Ana, Ferdinand Bautista, Francis Mark Mas, Glenn Labung, Hatta Dimaporo, Jas Baril, Jason Samoy, Javier Gonzalez, Joel Quilala, John Alvin San Diego, John Macapagal, John Zantua, Jonas Bernales, Jonnel Cruz, Joseph Alviz, Joshua Patio, Jun Minagawa, Karlito Jimeno, Kaven Ceniza, Kevin Canaynay, King Pandi, Kristine Enriquez, Laurence Magsanoc, Lilia Monina Jose, Mark Lucido, Melvin Barrameda, Michael Mabanta, Michael Torres Myk Hernando, Noli Novelero, Paul Puertollano, Peter Carey Orbe, Quaymark Remandaban, Raffy Maceda, Rhoy Cruz, Rico Ian Elpedes, Ronaldo Mariano, Rons Morada, Sunny Boy Lontoco, Team Marquez Multisport, Tere Barrido, Jay Baltazar, Davon Ray and Zoren Legaspi.

happy people at the finish!

catching up with 2 great coaches :)

Being a non-swimmer, I try to heed my swim coach's advice. I'm one of those unlucky ones who wasn't introduced to swimming at an early age. Swimming is such a technical sport that learning it at a young age is an advantage. But what I look forward to after a tiring swim session is catching up with friends and learning more about the sport.

(photo credit: Jenny Guerrero)

In today's case, I had a nice catch up with Mat and Jenny. Lots of tips, information and chismis shared! Hehehe! On a more serious note, I truly appreciate feedback and stories shared by Jenny and Mat. I know they are the very few coaches in this sport who genuinely know their craft and have produced amazing athletes. Not bad for a mid-week non-working holiday, for a non-swimmer like me! :)

2016 Soirée Beaujolais

We missed last year's Soirée Beaujolais due to previous commitments. According to friends, the Soirée is what defines the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines. And since Vany is now at the helm of the French Chamber, we were more than happy to support and be there for the biggest French event in the country. :)

great excuse to dress up :)

There were overflowing food, wine and cheese. But what I enjoyed the most was the company of good friends. It was nice to be in a non-athletic environment and just ready to party and wine it up like it's the 1780s in France. Colin and I rarely dress up for evening social affairs so this was a good excuse to do it "once" this year. Hehehe...

friends at the Soirée

Anyway, Congratulations to Vany and the rest of the French Chamber of Commerce for a smashing event. This year's Soirée definitely set the bar high for future soirees! :)


Audax Gensan Reconnaisance :)

I flew to Gensan last Thursday to join some friends in checking out possible Audax cycling routes in the region. I've always been a fan of cycling in Mindanao. I think it's underrated and the place has so much to offer.

exploring mindanao, one pedal at a time :)

For the first day of my reconnaissance, I joined the WapatDC triathletes of Davao City (Reggie Reyes, Victor Magno and Mikey Aportadera) and Sunny Benzonan of Tri Generals and cycled from Gensan to Baliton. WapatDC has an advocacy of Exploring Mindanao, One Pedal At A Time, which is something I personally support. With challenging terrain (just the way I like it!), I was quite surprised that the roads were wide, nicely paved and not busy at all. The route was undulating but no long climbs or mountains. The rollers can be quite taxing to the body though which makes it a good choice for an audax ride. ;)

great riding with these gentlemen!

I truly enjoyed every bit of this ride. From the nice ride, stories shared (it was really interesting to know the history behind WapatDC), coffee and market stops and the lunch stop at Baliton. It was really nice of Sunny to host our lunch in his shrimp farm. It was a perfect ending for such a wonderful ride! :)

a nice nightcap to end a good day on the saddle... thank you WapatDC! :)

For the second day of my reconnaissance, I wanted to check out the dreaded road to Lake Sebu. The locals were saying that there are a lot of long steep climbs especially going into the lake. This sparked my interest. Cycling on Gensan's highway towards South Cotabato was pretty pleasant. The wide roads (6 lanes) made me feel safe from the motorists, who by the way were very accommodating to cyclists. As soon as we hit Koronadal city, it felt like I was cycling in Malaysia. The quality of the roads were great and it was still pretty green in the mountains. Surprisingly, there were a lot of nice food and coffee stops along the way. We stopped at a chicken place on the 35th kilometre and at 2 more coffee stops along the way before reaching Lake Sebu.

day 2 of riding with these gentlemen... salamat!

The ride to Lake Sebu was definitely tough. It was draining and quite hot with a lot of portions without tree cover. But the company and the cycling itself more than made up for that. We were laughing a lot as Sir Alex Regaspi was at it again with his usual antics. I got to learn more about the region and I was relieved to see how peaceful and quiet it is there. I would have wanted to bring Colin with me but I was a bit skeptic about the peace and order. Now I know I can bring him next time. Anyway, we ended the ride at Punta Isla, one of the restaurants surrounding the lake. I loved the crispy pata and the crispy tilapia! :)

Ang ganda mo, Mindanao! I will be back!

This was my first time to ride around South Cotabato and the Sarangani Province and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Thank you to Mr. Albert Banaag of Microtel Gensan for hosting me once again. Thank you to the wonderful gentlemen who joined me this weekend (Reggie Reyes, Mikey Aportadera and Victor Magno of WapatDC, Sunny Benzonan and Misael Hamak of Tri Generals, Alex Regaspi of Centurion Cycling Club Mindanao)! Audax Gensan is definitely a go and I have a pretty good idea of the route we will be taking already. The next time I'll visit, I'll be with Ms. Jola to start plotting the official route. Ang ganda talaga ng Mindanao and I am very excited to share this to the rest of the Audax community! :)

when in-laws are like family...

My sister, Clarissa, married a good man. She married into Miko's good family who prides itself for being God-fearing and just. I still can't believe how disciplined and respectful Miko and his 3 other brothers are. I commend Tito Boying and Tita Delen for raising such fine men. I know it wasn't easy but they got it done on top of having very busy careers as doctors and being professors in UP PGH.

lovely lunch with Clarissa's In-laws :)

Anyway, thank you for having us to partake in Tito Boying's birthday party today! My little one had a ball playing with Alessi. It's always nice when the cousins get together and bond. :)


dinner with multisport friends :)

One of my good friends in endurance sports, Cyril, hosted dinner tonight at his lovely home. This is starting to be a tradition as Cyril also hosted one last year around this time of the year. It's a great time to catch-up with athlete-friends and discuss plans for the next year. All exciting times for all of us as we try to accomplish more athletic milestones! :)

Multi-nationals who like multi-sports, having multi-talks! (photo credit: Mathieu O'Halloran)

Anyway, I am very excited for all of us. We may have different backgrounds and goals but our common love for endurance sports is there. It truly is a passion we try to keep alive outside the daily grind of family and work. :)


Meet the Team: Colin Anthony Pearson

As some of you might know, we have already announced the entry of the first ever mixed relay team from the Philippines to join Race Across America, known as the toughest bicycle race in the world. Vany was nice enough to start the team blog that will hopefully document our journey towards our goal of finishing this epic race. The blog can be found HERE. Below is a brief introduction of my better half, Colin Anthony Pearson. :)

Prior to meeting me, he was a serious road racer (and multiple podium finisher at that!) based in Singapore who has never even done one audax ride in his life. I knew he was for keeps when he started riding the audax rides with me and when we both finished the 1,200 Paris Brest Paris in 2011. I am definitely one lucky duck!

Colin is a 46-year old British national, married to Carmela with a 3-year old daughter, and has lived in Asia for 17 years.

Colin is orginally from Derbyshire, England. After graduating in Information Systems, he started work for Credit Suisse, London. Moving to Singapore with Credit Suisse in 1999, then Manila Phillippines in 2014, with Deutsche Bank where he’s the Country IT Manager for Global Markets.

He has been cycling since he was 11 years old, where he first joined the Bolsover Wheelers, which exposed him to tour riding in the Peak District and then later racing across the country… everything from 5, 10 and 25 Mile Time Trials, to city centre Criterium racing. Ever since then, cycling has been very much a big part of his lifestyle.

Colin’s Athletic Background

2016: Finisher Gran Fondo Marmotte, France
2015: Super Randonneur, Philippines
- Finisher Tour of Matabungkay
- Finisher Vuelta Dagupan
2011: Finisher Paris-Brest-Paris (1,230km cycling race in France)
- Finished 8 5-day cycling Tours, Tour EGAT, Tour of Thailand, Andermans Tour with multiple podium finishes
- 5th Singapore Nationals Road Racing series
- 1st mixed 40km Timetrail
- 1st all mens relay 50.1 Triathlon
- 1st all mens 40km team time trail
1987: Finisher Bolsover to London Towerbridge(180miles)
1985: 3rd BWCC Road Race – Bolsover to Cleethorpes (69miles)

Meet the Team: Guillaume d'Aboville

As some of you might know, we have already announced the entry of the first ever mixed relay team from the Philippines to join Race Across America, known as the toughest bicycle race in the world. Vany was nice enough to start the team blog that will hopefully document our journey towards our goal of finishing this epic race. The blog can be found HERE. Below is a brief introduction of Guillaume d'Aboville. :)

It is quite rare to find somebody who you can truly call a "riding partner", someone you can depend on through the ups and downs of a challenging cycling adventure. I have been very fortunate to have ridden with Guillaume D'Aboville through a lot of Audax rides, the Everesting Challenge and last year's epic 1,200km Paris Brest Paris. I am definitely looking forward to do Race Across America with him next year!

Guillaume is a 58-year old Frenchman. He is family man to wife, Emma, and father to 3 daughters. He has been living in the Philippines for the past 33 years.

He is currently the Managing Director of GDA Power Resources Inc., a company involved in the field of Energy.

He has been competitively engaged in various sports such as football, rowing, rugby, karting, swimming and cycling. For him, sports is the best school of life teaching the values of discipline, determination, perseverance and respect for others.

Guillaume’s Athletic Background

Finisher Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 (1,230km cycling race in France)
- Finished 15 Audax rides (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km distance rides)
- First Philippine finisher of Hells 500 Everesting Challenge (8,487m vert. on one climb in one ride)
- Finisher Vuelta Dagupan 2015 (3-day race)
2010: Record holder of the 4-hour solo non-stop go-kart race (Philippines)
- Open water swim across the Verde Passage from Mindoro Island to Verde Island, Philippines (7km)
- First open water swimmer to cross from Mindoro Island to Luzon Island, Philippines (17km)
1996: Participated in the National Karting Championships in the Philippines
1980: Finisher of the “Paris-Dakar”, a 12,000km race in Africa on a dirt motorbike and won the “Team Fighting Spirit” award with 4 of his brothers

Meet the Team: Vanessa Bandoy Hans

As some of you might know, we have already announced the entry of the first ever mixed relay team from the Philippines to join Race Across America, known as the toughest bicycle race in the world. Vany was nice enough to start the team blog that will hopefully document our journey towards our goal of finishing this epic race. The blog can be found HERE. Below is a brief introduction of the other woman in the team, Vany. :)

I was so ecstatic when Vany, my good friend and Team David's Salon teammate, agreed to be part of the first RAAM team from the Philippines. We have done so many epic and crazy rides together and I can't wait to add RAAM to that list! Merci Beaucoup, Vanessa!

Vanessa is a 27 years old French-Filipina.

Vany, as her family and friends call her, graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Canada, and a Master of Science in Corporate Social Responsibility in the United Kingdom.

She is the Managing Director of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines. She also is a certified mountain bike instructor.

Cycling has been a family tradition and a lifestyle since her early childhood. Riding her bike with family and friends is her favorite thing to do.

Vany’s Athletic Background

– 13th age group, XTERRA World Championships
– 1st overall age grouper, XTERRA Philippines
– 1st age group, Regent Foods 5150 triathlon Subic
– 1st age group, Safeguard 5150 triathlon Bohol
– 1st relay, Century Tuna Ironman 70.3
– 2nd mixed relay, Cordillera Epic 3 day MTB race
– 1st age group, Philippine Duathlon Series
– Finisher of first Philippine Hells 500 Everesting Challenge (8,487m vert. on one climb in one ride)
– Completed 7 Audax rides (200km and 300km)
– Several podium finishes in MTB, cycling and run events

– 4 times French National FSGT MTB Champion
– French National FSGT Road Cycling Champion
– French National MTB High School Champion
– Top 5: Swiss MTB Power Cup
– Regional Champion: MTB, Road Cycling, Time Trial, Cyclocross
– Part of Regional Elite Training Center, Colmar, France

Meet the Team: Carmela Patricia S. Pearson

As some of you might know, we have already announced the entry of the first ever mixed relay team from the Philippines to join Race Across America, known as the toughest bicycle race in the world. Vany was nice enough to start the team blog that will hopefully document our journey towards our goal of finishing this epic race. The blog can be found HERE. Below is a brief introduction of me. :)

Carmela is a 35-year old Filipina, married to husband Colin and mother of Bella, 3 years old. Witcarmela-pearsonh a degree in Industrial Engineering, she worked for 7.5 years as a technology consultant for Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific Ltd. Her career shifted finance in 2011. She is currently Head of Treasury and Head of Corporate Banking for a boutique financial institution with more than 35 years of industry experience in the Philippines.

Outside her day job, she cycles A LOT. Her advocacy includes promoting women’s active lifestyle and long-distance cycling.

Carmela’s Athletic Background

Founder and Organizer of Audax Randonneurs Philippines
Completed and led the 2011 and 2015 Paris-Brest-Paris Philippine contingent (1,230km cycling race)
Record holder as the fastest Filipina:
– in Paris-Brest-Paris (1,230km cycling race in France)
– 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km for Audax Philippines

Finisher of first Philippine Hells 500 Everesting Challenge (8,487m vert. on one climb in one bike ride)
Completed 25 Audax rides in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and France
Finisher Gran Fondo Marmotte 2016, France
Champion 18-34 female age group: Grand Fondo New York qualifying race 2016, Indonesia
2008-2012: cycling, duathlons and triathlons podium finishes in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.
Climbed: Mt. Kilimanjaro (highest mountain in Africa), Mt. Kosciuszko (highest mountain in Australia) and Mt. Kinabalu (Malaysia)

dinner with dear friends :)

Colin and I hosted dinner for some of our friends tonight. Colin has been wanting to experiment with roasting chicken as he wants to have a nice Christmas roast for dinner. I was so happy he nailed it tonight. He also cooked mushroom and cheese risotto as well as a pizza from scratch. Yes, he made the dough himself. *wink*

dinner with friends... always a nice way to end a weekend :)

Anyway, I love spending time with athlete-friends outside the usual training and racing atmosphere. It's a great chance to just be and share stories that are non-sports. That can be quite refreshing. Add some dose of juicy chismis, and the evening just gets better! :D Even my little one had a ball tonight playing with Joaquin. We were all amazed on how quiet they both played. They were quite busy but they are relatively quiet kids without any screaming and shouting... just the way I like it! :)


sierra madre on a Sunday

I love Sierra Madre Sunday rides! I love them even more when we get to ride with visiting friends. For today's ride, Mat, who has been based in South Korea for the past few months leading triathlon camps for trisutto, is around and is in great shape coming from his Kona-qualifier triathlon in China. :)

beautiful day to ride in Sierra Madre (photos credit: Mathieu O'Halloran)

Anyway, it was nice catching up with Mat and knowing that he's doing really well. In my opinion, the Philippines has lost one of its best triathlon coaches when he left the country last January. But I'm glad that he will still be in the region and that he still has a lot to come back for in Asia. :)
What an amazing weekend for Team David's Salon! 8 girls (Jenny Guerrero, Amale Jopson, Kriska Sto Domingo, Vany Bandoy Hans, Nina Dacanay, Popo Remigio, Jacq Tan and I) raced the 5150 triathlon in Bohol and Andrea Calleja raced the New York marathon as prep for the Singapore Standard Chartered marathon in December. :)

Team David's Salon represent in Bohol!

I spent the weekend in Bohol and raced my first olympic-distance in 7 years. It was painful as I barely had any run training and just crammed my way through the swim. I only managed to finish 4th in my age group but it really didn't matter. I came to this race without any expectations and I came back with so much more. Spending quality time with my team mates was just amazing. Ending the race with 5 podium-finishes with Jenny defending her title as the fastest Filipina was icing on the cake! Andrea also finished her marathon in great spirits and looks ready than ever for the Singapore marathon in December.

5 podium-finishes :)

I am humbled and inspired by my teammates and all those who finished strong! I might give this "triathlon thing" a try again next year. ;)

Thank you to Ms. Jola Gonzales for taking care of us and for spoiling us as always! Thank you to the race organizers and to our sponsors: David's Salon Inc., Jeunesse Anion, SM Surplus Shop, High5 Sports Nutrition, ABSCBN Sports Action, Beach Hut, Funkita, Tritech Bikefit Lab and Catlike Philippines. :)
I haven't been diligent in my triathlon training lately. I've signed up for the 5150 Olympic distance triathlon in Bohol next weekend and I'm screwed. Since we decided to just stay in the city for the long weekend, I crammed for some swim sessions. Thankfully, Jenny was available to whip my ass. Hehehe

It was also a nice excuse to hit the pool in style with our Funkita swimsuits. Even Bella, Lucas and Popo joined in the funkita craze. Kidding aside, it was just nice to hit the pool. I'm considered a non-swimmer as I learned how to swim quite late and my technique is still very inefficient. Still, the past 3 days have been somehow enjoyable... tiring but enjoyable. Hope it's enough to help me survive next weekend's swim leg! :D

halloween at The Grove :)

It was great timing that my sister, Clarissa, and my niece are both in town this weekend from Singapore. There's a nice Halloween celebration in my condominium block and it would be great to have them over. Thanks to Helen, my husband's dear sister, Bella had a nice fairy costume to wear. It was a good thing that Alessi also had a fairy costume so the cousins had a unified theme. *wink*

all dolled up and ready to hit the Halloween festivities!

We had a fun-filled afternoon. The kiddos had a ball going through the activity booths, getting sweet treats from the baskets scattered on the great lawn, colouring on the drawing wall, watching the games, running around and playing in the newly-opened playgrounds.

cousin love!

It was so tiring chasing around and watching over the 2 younglings. Clarissa, Bea and I had to take shifts babysitting as it was really tiring. Up to now, I can't understand where their energy comes from! Hahaha! However, seeing them so excited and so active was worth all the effort. We're not really complaining here. :)

my happy little fairy :)

Anyway, Happy Halloween! :)


El Nido, Palawan with the family

We just got back from 4 amazing days in El Nido. I wanted to treat the husband and the little one to a vacation that they won't forget and this trip definitely nailed it. I wanted to thank my husband for tolerating my cycling madness. It's not easy being married to someone like me who tells her husband after a stressful day at work, "honey, you better shape up as i have just signed us up for Race Across America." *wink*

beautiful El Nido!

On a more serious note, I have been wanting to show my husband how beautiful Palawan is ever since he decided to move to the Philippines from Singapore. It's been pretty hectic the past few months but I made it a point to schedule this vacation this month. I wanted to reward the husband for a job well done in delivering one of the biggest global projects of Deutsche Bank this year. He has been working very long hours and I've seen how dedicated he is to his work. On days when he's not working, he makes sure to spend it with me and Bella.

the little one and me in Funkita!

It was perfect timing when I received an email from Vany regarding a big promotion extended to the French Chamber of Commerce regarding packages and discounts for the El Nido Resorts in Palawan. Last time I was in Palawan was 10 years ago and I stayed at El Rio Y Mar in Busuanga for 4 amazing days. Anyway, I immediately booked a 4-day package at Pangulasian Island, the eco-luxury island resort in Bacuit Bay, El Nido.

melts my heart... daddy and bella bonding :)

Pangulasian Island didn't disappoint. We love all the activities, the service and the details in the resort. We were upgraded from the Canopy Villa to a Beach Villa (Thanks to the French Chamber!) with our very own beachfront. There were a lot of things we did... the Lagoon tours, the sunset hike, walking around El Nido Town, island hopping, feeding the Jack Fish in Miniloc Island, snorkelling and many more. The 4 days was just perfect as we got to do all these activities with so many time spent just bumming around, sleeping in, napping, lounging by the pool and just killing time by the beach. What's great about staying at Pangulasian is that the food is amazing and it felt so exclusive that we barely saw other guests during our stay there. Peace and Quiet.

family time!

We bonded a lot as a family which was the main objective of this trip. Bella was so excited to play on the beach and in the pool. The resort provided her with so many toys that kept her so busy. She enjoyed walking around and bumping into the big monitor lizards. I was quite impressed that she wasn't scared of them at all. She loved playing with the sand and chasing the small crabs running around. She had her fair share of "daddy time" and "mommy time". Colin had a ball snorkelling and was so impressed with the diversity and the abundance of sea creatures he saw. :)

family time take 2!

Now that we're back in Manila, I can't help but look forward to our next beach trip. It's been truly amazing just to be away from the chaos in the city and the daily grind. I am truly grateful for the gift of family and I am definitely looking forward to our next family adventure. :)
We have just concluded the last Audax ride for the 2016 season (October 31, 2015-November 1, 2016). We had a total number of 274 registered participants. 133 out of the 159 participants finished the 200km audax while 107 out of 115 finished the 300km audax well within the corresponding cut-off times.

scenes from the start of the ride

We had the worst weather from start to finish in the 6-year history of Audax Randonneurs Philippines. It was raining very hard at the start of the ride and we all had to endure the ankle-deep flooding at the start. It was pretty sketchy starting a bike ride in the dark, with flooding on the roads and not knowing where the potholes are. The rain was relentless as it practically rained all throughout the ride. I've never seen this happen before. I heard a lot of people who had mechanical issues during the ride (from being forced to use a single-speed, front derailleur problems, multiple tire punctures, and many more!). My husband had to abandon the ride as he was feeling sick when we arrived at the first checkpoint and I was forced to abandon my 300km audax buddies. (Sorry, guys! My mantra has always been, "Marriage over cycling!") We had a couple of accidents and even one of the biggest to date. Mr. Nelson Negrite was already in Castillejos as he was hit by a 6-wheeler truck from behind and was even dragged for a few meters. :( (Update: He has already undergone 2 surgeries for titanium implants and is now recovering. He said he can't wait to be biking again!)

happy people in the audax :)

But the spirit of audax riding was alive last weekend. At the beginning of the ride, I was already warning everyone that if they are not confident riding through the rain, they can back out and I would be happy to return their money. No one was budging. I was very impressed. In fact, I even heard shouts of glee as people cycled through the rain. The many photos and videos shared showed that a lot of randonneurs found joy in the challenges that came their way during the ride. The people I saw at the checkpoint in Cabangan were just full of positive energy ready to tackle the rest of the distance. I heard so many stories of people helping their fellow riders.

audax riders in action!

I saw a lot of old and new faces who are all inspiring in my book. Kenneth Romero rode with his 60-year old father, Gaspar Romero, and tackled their first 200km distance together on their Fat Bikes! Randonneurs are getting better and better as I saw the 300km Audax record broken by 17-year old Joshua Mari Bonifacio with a time of 9 hours and 34 minutes (inclusive of all 4 control point stops and with pedal problems!). We have some new additions in the Couples Who Audax section that are just truly inspiring for those who want to try the audax with their better halves. Everyone, and even those who didn't finish within cut-off, braved the elements last Saturday and showed a lot of mental and physical toughness. I couldn't be any prouder.

epic ride finishers!

As we close the 2016 Audax season, I would like to commend the 56 Super Randonneurs from the Philippines duly recognised by Audax Club Parisien. These men and women have officially completed the Audax series (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km rides) well-within the 2016 season. There are only a few Super Randonneurs in the country and I am very proud to have known each one of you. To date, we also have 506 Audax Addicts, individuals who have 2 or more official audax rides under their belt. Congratulations! :)

epic ride finishers!

Before I end this post, I would like to thank each and everyone who joined me on that fateful Saturday morning where we had the harshest weather conditions at the start of the ride. Thank you to the David's Salon crew who worked tirelessly and have been up for more than 24 hours to ensure everything is all ready and all control points are covered. Thank you to our very own Delfin Garciano who watched over Mr. Negrite in the hospital until his teammates arrived. Thank you to David Charlton for his unconditional support for Audax Philippines. Thank you to Ms. Jola Gonzales, who is enjoying her well-deserved vacation in Eruope, for helping in the preparation. We felt the love even if you are not with us physically. Last but not the least, thank you to my girls (Vany Bandoy Hans, Rachel van Klaveren, Annie Fallorin Abdon, Shai Dionela and Pebrero Dos) who helped in the registration and in welcoming all the finishers. :)

audax finishers!

Rest and recover well, randonneurs! And see you in December! :)

P.S. More photos can be found HERE.

P.P.S. Photos from the cameras of Alvin Quilingan, Clarisse Marte, Cyrk Ryan Lim, Don Fernando, Ed Ambida, Eleazar Samalca, Ferdinand Bautista, Hatta Dimaporo, Jason Delos Reyes, Jay-R Zapco, Jeremy Deanon, Jonas Bernales, Jonathan Miranda, Jonnel Cruz, Jose Trini Evangelista, Julius Buen, Jward Cruz, Kenneth Romero, Lito Anchores, Maynard Choi Degollacion, Carmela Pearson, Michael Lafuente, Onez Suena, Patrick Duruin, Patty Bellido, Rebecca Reyes, Rainier Paywan, Rey Baldwin Hernandez, Rick Tamayo, Russel Perez, Ryan Macalong, Sean Ilaguison and Shindee Franco

impromptu dinner at a new Italian find

Thanks to Vany, we discovered a new Italian restaurant today in the BGC area. After a longer-than-expected meeting in Makati and braving the 1-hour traffic from Makati to BGC, I was famished. I was just supposed to have a "light" dinner but when I saw the menu of Salvatore Cuomo, I started salivating and just went for a really big meal. :D

lovely dinner with the husband and athlete-friends :)

We managed to enjoy their house bread, the caprese salad, a pasta dish, a pizza to share, their big Bistecca Florentina and some dessert. It's been awhile since I had a nice Italian meal in the city and this definitely nailed it! What a nice ending to a busy hectic weekday! :)


Back in April of this year, I signed up for the Gran Fondo New York (GFNY) Indonesia with my Team Cycledelic teammates. I've missed riding with my Singapore cycling team and saw this as a great excuse to have a nice race-cation with them. As far as I'm concerned, I wasn't race-fit (quite rusty actually!) but was pretty much excited to visit a new location and do what I love most... cycle! :)

180km route of the race

So why do the Gran Fondo New York (GFNY) Indonesia? I haven't done a proper cycling road race in 4 years and this seems like a nice comeback race. I've never been to Lombok, known as Bali's pristine sister island, but have heard of the amazing cycling culture in this part of the country. The governor of the island himself is an avid cyclist. Given that I'm into long-distance cycling, the 180km distance with some really hilly sections works in my favour! And last but not the least, I love Gran Fondos! I really enjoyed the Gran Fondo Marmotte in the French Alps last July that I got really excited to do another one that is internationally recognised. Good thing is that GFNY Indonesia is also a qualifying race for the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York in 2017. If I qualify, this should be a good excuse to go to New York next year. *wink*

elevation of the race course

We wanted this to be a nice race-cation so we opted to stay away from the racing crowd and decided to stay somewhere nicer than the race hotel. Good thing Marlene, probably the OC-est and most organised in my team, booked us at Qunsi Villas. It was such a nice place as we felt so relaxed. It didn't feel like we were there to race at all. Morning views of the beautiful pools with the sea as a backdrop were spectacular. I enjoyed a lazy easy breakfast watching surfers in the lineup and some riding their waves. We managed to squeeze in a spa session as well!

my morning breakfast view :)

We had a nice villa for the 4 of us. The food was incredible. We practically ate all our meals there and skipped the meals provided by the organisers. Dinners were great with an Indonesian buffet spread on the first night and an Italian buffet spread on the 2nd night. The antipasti spread was to die for as they served fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes and fresh ricotta cheese! Oh! And the burgers were superb! I had 2 burgers during our stay at Qunsi!

beachfront of Qunsi Villas in Lombok

On our first morning in Lombok, we decided to do an easy spin of just 20km to check the bikes and ride a portion of the course. Our short recon gave us an idea of the climbs (with more than 15%) and the quality of the roads, that hopefully won't shock our system during the race itself. It was nice to know that the coastal roads were nicely paved and that the views were fantastic. We bumped into a lot of locals and a local lady cyclist who was so friendly and even requested to take a photo with us. So sweet! :)

cycling chicks building their own bikes :)

The girls and I woke up early on race day. It was still pitch dark as we cycled from our hotel to the start of the race. Being an inaugural race, the start of the race was a bit chaotic. We registered as VIPs to be put in the first coral as we wanted to be in the peloton in front. There wasn't any security and checks done whether one does really belong to the VIP coral or not. The start was also a bit late than promised which irked me a bit. Our flight back to Singapore was in the afternoon after the race so I am a bit sensitive with any delays.

the dinner buffet spread at Qunsi Villas: Indonesian for Day 1 and Italian for Day 2

When the race finally started, I got excited. It's been a long while since I've done a proper road race. I have forgotten how much exhilarating it is to attack, close the gaps, chase and just pushing oneself in a road race! We were initially thinking of finishing in 10 hours but boy did we race it! I managed to stay with the lead pack in the first 60km of the race. It was lung busting and legs were screaming. On the 60th kilometre, I realised that there are only 3 of us girls in the peloton and we have dropped the 30 or so women who have registered for the race. It was intense but was glad to hang on to the group until the climbs. By the time we hit the long climbs, my legs were spent and felt powerless. I must have pushed too hard trying to keep up and suffered the consequences. My roommate and friend, Colleen Ang, caught up with me and we managed to work together until we hit the steepest climbs of the race.

scenes before the gunstart

It was pretty humbling as I had to tell Colleen to go ahead and leave me behind as I had to walk these 33% sections. I've never walked and pushed my bike in the Gran Fondo Marmotte last July and that had 4 big mountains in the alps! Come to think of it, I've never really had to walk and push my bike in any of the road races I've done in the past. I thought I was screwed as some women started overtaking me on these sections (walking as well!). I thought I was done for. But I focused on recovery. There's still a long way ahead of us and I know I still have a shot if I can recover. I took it easy, started to be more aware of my nutrition and regulated my breathing. There was a 25km flat section where I managed to draft and recover well before we hit the final climbs. I started overtaking people in the climbs and started to feel good. I caught up with Colleen, who was running 4th female, and we worked together for awhile. By the time we hit the climbs, she let me go and I just went for it.

sweet victory!

The girls and I agree that GFNY Indonesia is one of our toughest road races to date with 180km of hilly and rolling terrain. My strava data only registered the first 142km of the ride before it ran out of battery. It would have been nice to analyse my data for the entire course. Anyway, the team did very well today with our Team Cycledelic Team Captain, Christina Liew, finishing 3rd fastest woman overall. Colleen Ang topped her age category. And I managed to top the 18-39 age category with a time of 6 hours and 45 minutes and be the 4th fastest woman in the field.

always a great time with my Team Cycledelic girls :)

It has been a crazy-amazing weekend. I had a great time with my teammates (Chris, Colleen and Marlene Chan). There were just so many laughter and stories shared. We had a great adventure even up to the last minute we left Lombok! Traffic was so bad and we arrived at the airport with just 25 minutes before our international flight back to Singapore! I still can't believe we were able to pull that off!

Anyway, I'm now back in Singapore and about to sleep. I can't wait to get back to my dear husband and my little one. Hopefully, I'll recover well enough for the 300km Audax next weekend! :)


wala lang

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