Candon Mtb, Festival Race. Candon, Ilocos Sur.

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This event had a 1 PM start. 40 km for Beginner/Ladies. 48 km for Pro/Open. No Seniors or Vets, and another category called Sports, which was for those wanting the longer distance. I was put in beginner with a few other difference, I came down for the experience.
A magnificent amazing day, words cannot describe.
We got a ride down, but had a 22 km ride to the event. I rode down with ex pro John Burgos, he set a moderate pace in the middle chain ring, I kept up going into ther big gears a few times. Good warm up, we got down there at 10 AM for a 1 PM start.
Free entry. And a warm welcome from ex Vice Mayor Nestor Itchon. Current City Counselor and big sports enthusiast on the organizational side.
Staggered start Pro's, Open and Sports off first. The the Ladies, then 3-4 mins later the Beginners.  Misnomer because the Beginners has everyone else who was doing the shorter course. About 100, plus 7-8 in the ladies. Estimated 170-180 entrants, maybe more than that
I sat at the back, but the organizer called me forward, on the front for a picture. I didn't belong there, but have been practicing fast start, so now iis the time. But immediately swamped after the off and dropped off but not way behind as before. More or less at the back of a large pack, about 3rd pack. But holding and gradually coming back up.....encouraging start.
First few km is a Time Trial so I tried to hold my place, which I did. And then going to the off road, I passed a few, and I felt good. I thought of moving up all race and not to get passed. Then we hit sand, everyone was off for a 200 metre slog...I ran a little and held my place. Then it's off road and back to tarmac for the first 30 minutes. Nice course with turns and switchback turns, hills would come soon.
I continued passing a few including all the girls. I got ladies champ Gezelle Butala and her co-rider, but they also passed me back. Gezelle is small and strong, very good on downhill and corners, with a lot of skills. But ref the previous event, I'm faster on the road. I passed her a few times, but again she got well away on the downhill. Nice technique, she stood out of the saddle and she went well ahead on 2 big descents. But I rode back and eventually paseed her. Told her to take my wheel, but  by then she couldn't.
About 40 mins I felt a let down, what?? My fitness is surely better, I have been flying last 10 days in training. I went straight to the icy coke and it picked me up immediately. And I could grab the plastic bags of water, good organization, used thye water to drink and pour over me. Two more Halls candies in the mouth and felt ok.
Trusted my fitness, I knew it was there.
Now we have a whole sequence of hills, shorts, sharp and a few longer ones. I hit my lower chain ring or powered over in the big ring...I did not miss any gear changes and was not losing ground on the climbs. Lost some on the fast descents. After thye hills, back on the road and passed and repassed a few teammate Romel comes by going very easy, he's one I didn't catch. But raced the others and improved my position a bit more.
We raced 58 mins and not much time to check the distance, but the ave was 25 I about 2/3 of the race done. Now I start racing 2 guys. One my age, one much younger and one bigger looks like Hank Vogels from behind, and he's sprinting intermittently, but losing time on even a small hill. We team up and start alternating the pace....then more off road.  trying to take all Hotdiggity's, advice on cornering but things happening really quickly now...we crossed an almost dry creek and have to climb up other side...too sandy and now the Pro's start coming over the top so we have to move over to the R. Now another switchback and sand to the outside, I can't change the line and about to crash into the embankment...quick reaction, I take the fall to avoid the crash...2 guys look at me, but I'm up immediately, no harm at all. But sand is heavy and we have to walk that section. So I run to make up what I lost. Remount and back on the flat faster road. And same group, but the older rider now drops.....we must be about 6km from the finish, again not much time for checking.
Romel got out of sight. Gezelle somwhere behind me, and as far as I can see all the guys I raced are behind. Except this big guy Vogels who keeps coming back on me, sprinting, but I can see he's tiring. Now suddenly off road and more sand, same patch as earlier, so I run again and get ahead once more. But he sprints back on me, so I hold his wheel, and Im comfortable. Now I check my gears and make sure I have 2 gears for the pass. And we are about 3km out from the finish.
I felt great and all my fitness and training has now kicked in. But I'm happy sticking on him, just looking for the finish. And suddenly, I saw the banner, but I think he didn't see it.  200m out, I make my move (maybe too early), add my last 2 gears and get a half bike ahead...DAM....he responds and beats me by a wheel. But ok, I now see he's a young guy in his 20's so I'm happy.
I signed the sign in sheet and I'm Number 100, but I'm not sure if everyone else signed in. There's around 170-180 riders by my estimation.
Awesome event 10/10. Race marshalls, support team, on course officials...perfect. Water on the course on a very hot day. Nice.
In particular Sir Nestor Itchon, but the whole team, I can't name.
MY LAPOG CYCLE TEAM....John Burgos 6th Open, Jun Jun, had stomach trouble...and for Ian and the team, nice job you all finished, but take a look at the Narvacan team....more training, especially mid week if we are to move up.
CITY OF CANDON....nice place, all ammenities available within 200 m of City Hall. Of cities in this region, Vigan, Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Candon...probably 3rd after those 2 fine cities. But lovely place with a bit of history smattered about.
May EDIT and add more.
Free entry, free food, everything free.




Hope it could be opened.

Edited by Jollygoodfellow
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