Year 2020 was tough for Trasienne Estrada. It was the time when this lady felt that she was at loss with everything — her swimwear business was down, crossfit gyms where she used to spend her time got closed and her family was practically on its lowest.
But among all of these let-downs, the hardest and the most painful that she had to endure was the death of her father.
“Feeling ko noong 2020, nawala talaga lahat sa akin. Everyday, gigising ako tapos may feeling na kailangan may something talaga akong gawin to escape,” she told First Bike Ride. “As in zero talaga ‘yung feeling ko noon. Bagsak na bagsak.”
It was thanks to her neighbors, a couple who rides a bike, that she got introduced to cycling. This became an outlet of Enne, as what her bike friends call her, to forget all the trouble that the pandemic has been giving her.
“Breather talaga ‘yung cycling from what happened. So for me, noong nilabas na ako, I said na ‘masaya ito. Makakalimutan ko muna ‘yung nangyari.’”
And indeed, after two years and many miles of bike rides, Enne said that she can now talk about the unfortunate events that had happened.
Enne recalled that her dad was one of the first people who succumbed to Covid-19 here in the Philippines. It happened when everyone was still clueless about the virus and the circumstances were very complicated.
When her father exhibited the symptoms, Enne’s family had a hard time getting a place that could accommodate him. They live in Marikina and after a long search, they finally found a hospital bed in Laguna.
“Kailangan siyang dalhin doon with an ambulance. Everyday, naghihintay lang kami ng news sa Viber tapos dito lang kami sa bahay, hindi kami pwedeng lumabas,” she remembered. “Every time, magbibigay lang ng update about sa lungs niya. And then we got a message. He didn’t make it.”
It was devastating and grieving was made extra difficult because of the Covid-19 situation. In her family, Enne was the only person who was able to arrange the cremation of her father.
Seeing her father’s body for the last time, alone with no one to share the emotions with, was definitely heavy. Everything happened quickly. Enne returned home to her family, carrying the urn that holds the ashes of her dad.
“Nandito kami sa bahay for months tapos naaalala lang namin ‘yung dad ko kasi dito mo siya huling nakita. Naalala talaga namin siya dito kasi siya gumawa nitong bahay, ‘yung meeting table niya, ‘yung cars and all,” she said. “Parang ayaw ko talaga na nandito ako. Kaya ni-renovate namin ito.”
“Nakita ko ‘yung neighbors ko na mag-asawa na nagba-bike, tinanong ko kung pwede ba ako mag-third wheel. Tapos finally, tinuruan nila ako with gears and nag-first bike ride ako dito sa Marikina. Hindi ko pa ma-magawa noon ‘yung General Ordonez loop kasi hindi pa talaga ako marunong.”
Her first bicycle was a road bike that she promptly bought online so that she can have something to use. From quick bike rides in Marikina, she was able to conquer longer trips: climbing the hilly routes of Rizal, scenic roads of La Union and chill city rides in Metro Manila.
Enne was able to finish the 200-kilometer Laguna loop too. According to her, it’s a demanding challenge that’s packed with many lessons and discoveries.
She also now has a personalized bike, a Knobby that was built by Marlowe Apeles aka Budol Buddy. The frame was custom painted, depicting the significant things in Enne’s life. The word “float” is the most noticeable, which is also the name of her beloved clothing line.
“The birds mean freedom kasi that’s what I feel talaga when I’m riding a bike. Tapos there’s a cross because of my faith. Tapos ‘yung ‘Enne’ kasi mga biker friends ko, ‘yun ang tawag sa akin. My twin sister An is there too,” she said.
“And then ‘yung word na ‘dad’ ‘yung nasa head badge,” she added. And when we asked her what’s her favorite part of the bicycle, she replied, “Definitely ‘yung dad. It’s always about dad.”
The emblem that is attributed to her father is located in front of the bicycle, the area where the movement of control happens. Perhaps it can be interpreted as his dad being with her in spirit, guiding Enne in her bike rides.
“Nilagay ko siya kasi even though I wanted to forget ‘yung nangyari, gusto ko rin siya maalala kasi ‘yung dad ko, siya ‘yung ultimate athlete. Naglaro kasi siya ng basketball sa UAAP before, athlete goals ko talaga siya ever since,” she said. “Laging ganoon ‘yung mindset namin, na kapag sports-related, we want to make him proud lagi kasi ‘yun ‘yung kasiyahan niya.”
And we’re sure that her dad is definitely proud of Enne. Aside from the progress she made in cycling, this father is probably happy seeing his daughter achieving success in her other endeavors.
Enne is really thankful for cycling. In one of her Instagram posts, she said that she found cycling in a time of grief and that it made her feel alive again. During our interview, she also mentioned that biking is very personal and that it is something that restored many things in her life that were lost in 2020.
“’Yung cycling talaga for me, ‘yun ‘yung promise ni God na ‘restoration is tenfold.’ And then ‘yung cycling ‘yung way na when I got into it, bumalik talaga lahat. Friends, workout, community, work and pati mental health ko rin nabalik, lahat.”