He was promised that he’ll be home before lunch. Well… it did not happen.
JM Alberto doesn’t really consider himself as the adventurous type of cyclist, he bikes for exercise and is satisfied whenever he completes 5 to 15 kilometers of riding in the city. So he felt excited when his uncles invited him for a relatively easy long ride from Quezon City to Nuvali.
“Ang usual routes talaga nila ay Boso-Boso, Marilaque at Sierra Madre. So hindi ako sumasama kasi ahon at sobrang nakakapagod,” JM said. “As much as possible exercise lang talaga ang gusto ko at hindi adventure.”
During our bike ride and conversation, we felt that JM values his family so much. In fact, he said that he’s extra careful on the road and avoids going out for too long because he needs to attend to his 6-year-old son who has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Since it was also his uncles who were with him during this century ride, he felt assured that he’ll be safe and everything will be manageable if ever a problem occurred.
“Ayaw ko sana umabot na tirik ang araw so sabi nila sa akin, ‘kaya natin at by 11 ay nasa bahay na tayo.’ So sabi ko, ‘sige, sama talaga ako diyan,’” he recalled.
Going to Nuvali was smooth and easy, with JM remembering that he did not feel any stress and body pain. They were able to complete half of their trip in 2 hours and 45 minutes, which includes two quick snacks along the way.
Then things got pretty different.
This biker can never forget that day. It was in Novemeber when the Skyway steel girder collapsed and fell on vehicles traversing East Service Road in Muntinlupa. The incident totally blocked traffic that made it hard for everyone to pass through.
“Puro motorcycles tapos hindi gumagalaw ‘yung kotse. Even bikers ‘di na makasingit. Siyempre there’s anxiety because of Covid and wala na ang social distancing,” he said. “Iba ‘yung fatigue that time. It’s my first time to be tired na malala. That time is so memorable.”
Even though they got rerouted in Alabang, the traffic was still terrible. JM told us that he realized that he can conquer the physical challenge of the 100-kilometer ride but it was the mental stress that made it hard for him. With the exhaustion brought by the heat and the uncertainty of moving, his patience was definitely tested.
“4:30 am to 11 am,” he said, followed by a pause. “Ang nangyari, 4:30 am to 3:30 pm. 11 hours.”
He added, “Gutom talaga ako. Iba talaga. Kumakain ako noon pero hindi meal kasi pagdating naming sa Nuvali, nothing special. Siyempre iniisip ko na for my first 100 km, I need to eat na something na masarap. Pagdating ko doon, fast food sandwich.”
Despite the unexpected and stressful delay of going home, JM noted that the terrible traffic was the worst and at the same time the best part of the whole experience.
This draining trip did not discourage the biker from cycling longer distances. In fact, he still managed to finish two more century rides this year.
These are three things that he learned from his first 100-km bike ride: be mentally prepared, mitigate stress and learn to know your body’s capabilities. Don’t be afraid to rest and to recognize your limits, he emphasized.
“Pag-uwi ko, gutom ako. Pero thankful ako na nakauwi akong safe. Hindi ako napagod physically sa 100 kilometers, na-stress ako. What I learned is discipline talaga. Napagod ako kakaisip.”
So what did he eat when he got home?
“Yung wife ko nag-prepare ng burger steak that time tsaka chop suey. Sobrang dami kong nakain noon,” he said.