It was 5am in the morning at McDonalds Bacoor and everyone is getting ready for the 4th annual Lagarista race. I saw a lot of familiar faces, most of them are friends whom I have known in the fixed gear scene for quite a while. As the preparation is underway, a lot of new faces are starting to arrive at the starting point. I can see the eagerness on their faces, while some are nervous as if it was their first time to join this event. Lagarista now has a new individual category this year, a first in the series. I was thrilled and decided to join that category just to experience the feeling of going solo on this year’s route.
The race was very intense; traffic was all over us just right after we were released from the starting point. Ace riders from different groups are leading the pack which resulted to a fast pace race. I was trying to stay with the peloton as long as I could, held my breath back and drafted. Past the halfway point I felt my legs starting to shake. At this point I thought to myself I will not make it to the finish line and decided to let go, catch my breath for a while and decided to ride at my own pace.
After suffering from continuous climbs and almost 2 kilometers left, my legs were starting to give up, and slowing down was the only option that I thought. After the last climb I saw the crew waving, pointing towards their direction and cheering me on as I was approaching the finish line. Adrenaline began rushing, as if it was just the start of the race, and found myself sprinting to the finish line which put me in a favorable 19th place out of all the 42 who joined under the individual category.
As I was observing the riders after the race, the overflow of fulfillment and satisfaction overran the few faces of upset on some, as finishing the tough 40-kilometer race is already such an accomplishment. Win or lose, the spirit of competition and sportsmanship still thrives in everyone.