IT IS OVER. IT IS DONE. After five major legs and one lite, the pioneering Enduro Pilipinas Series Season 1 is over. The fifth and final leg of the series was concluded at San Pablo, Laguna – same city that was the venue for the Enduro Lite event last October. Once again, Team TAG-Bundok played host to almost two hundred enduro riders, and for the first time the race was split into two categories – Novice and Elite. Riders that have done enduro or regularly do AM/DH riding fall into the Elite Category.
There were around 40 riders in the Novice category, and nearly 150 in the Elite category. Both Novice and Elite shared the same tracks that made up Novice special stages 1 and 2, and Elite special stages 2 and 3. Elite Special Stage 1 had a much longer route that started at Tayak Hill where riders of that category were transported by jeepneys from the novice starting line. The longer elite stage 1 meant that the chances of riders in that category bumping into those in the novice were slim.
After the mandatory bike inspection, the novice riders were let go at 7:30 a.m. An hour later, the lead riders in the novice track were hitting the first of two special stages. By 10:00 a.m. , all the riders in the novice category had exited Novice Special Stage 1 and were on their up Liaison 2 for the final special stage.
However, due to the myriad of trails in Novice Special Stage 2, some riders lost their way. Later, the same would bedevil other riders from the elite category. By then, the elite category riders were hitting special stage 1 along the slopes of Tayak Hill.
Nilo Estayo blazed his way through Elite Special Stage 1, and before 11:oo a.m. he had flown through Elite Special Stage 2′s exit. As the race went on, several riders in the elite category crashed at Elite Special Stage 2.
Some suffered mechanical issues such as Isolink’s PJ Tolentino who got a flat rear tire. Nearly at the beginning of the race, a rider in the elite category, Moymoy Cunanan, had lost a pedal, forcing him to walk or sprint up the long Elite Liaison Stage 1. This, however, did not deter him, and he continued the race on a single pedal, going down Elite Special Stage 1 and repeating the walk/sprint combo at Elite Liaison 2. He, however, had to bail out of the race after exiting Elite Special Stage 2.
One rider exited Elite Special 2 pedaling on one leg, while the other was outstretched due to a cramp. Another rider had to bail out after exiting Elite Special 2 when he crashed head first at the jumps area, his team mates sticking with him until he was evac’d out of the course before they continued on their way to finish the race.
At Elite Special Stage 3, the same nav errors that plagued a few novice category riders happened to several riders in the elite category, resulting to some close calls with the local public transportation. By 1:00 o’clock, however, most, if not all of the riders in the elite category had crossed the finish line and were back at race HQ for lunch and the awarding ceremonies.
In the end, it wasn’t really the rankings or the prizes that mattered to the riders – novice or elite – but the chance to shred the trails of San Pablo with their friends and teammates, and enjoying all that in the process. Tired they all may be, all the riders were smiling and narrating their experiences to one another back at race HQ, proof that everyone enjoyed the final leg of the series.
Text & Photos:www.attackmtb.com