The default Sunday ride of many bikers from the East

By King Bernas

For the next couple weeks, I’ll be doing a series on familiar cycling routes where you’re likely to see riders every weekend. Routes so ingrained in the minds and legs of regular riders that they can be done by rote.

First up is Bugarin. My first 100 kilometer ride.

At that time, I was an impressionable new cyclist who was quite intimidated at the thought of climbing that notorious hill, especially on a mountain bike without clipless pedals. “How long will it take?” I asked. “The whole day!” was the enthusiastic answer. And sure enough, it seemed like the ride would never end.

Rides typically start from Jollibee on Marcos Highway, riding non-stop (roughly 47 kilometers) until the peak of Bugarin, taking a breather there or at one of the carinderias at the foot of the climb back below

Some easy pedaling down Marcos Highway, a climb up Sumulong Highway to Antipolo, complete with a rest stop at Manggahan; the sweet ride down Teresa to Morong and another stop, the long flat section to the foot of the climb interrupted by a longer-than-it-looked climb to the cemetery in Tanay; and the final eight-kilometer push to Manang’s at the top where we were lucky to be rewarded with some of her sweet pineapples. After a respite and a full lunch, you do everything in reverse.

The great American cyclist Greg Lemond once said that it never gets easier; you just get faster and, over the years, the once intimidating ride to Bugarin ride was reduced from an all-day ride to one where you find yourself home in time for lunch.

Rides typically start from Jollibee on Marcos Highway, riding non-stop (roughly 47 kilometers) until the peak of Bugarin, taking a breather there or at one of the carinderias at the foot of the climb back below. On a good day, with a good group, the pace can pick up rapidly from Morong, Baras, and Pililia, averaging in the mid 30s to low 40s, before hitting the base of the climb, after which everyone tries to survive for as long as they can.

On a good day, with a good group, the pace can pick up rapidly from Morong, Baras, and Pililia, averaging in the mid 30s to low 40s, before hitting the base of the climb, after which everyone tries to survive for as long as they can

On a less than stellar day, I’ve made my U-turns as soon as I see the first riders heading back down to Pisong Kape or sometimes skipping the climb all together for a bowl of lugaw with egg, and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Everyone congregates again in the end so it’s all good. The ride back usually starts slowly with the bunch riding together, the pace picking up again from Morong, and in the final three-kilometer kick back up Teresa to Antipolo before riding back down to their respective homes.

Route: Jollibee to Bugarin

Starting Point: Jollibee Shell, Marcos Highway

Finishing Point: Jollibee Shell, Marcos Highway

Distance: 93 kilometers

Average time: Four to five hours

Total Elevation Gain: +/- 1,500 m

Highest Point: +/- 340 m

Map

ms_biking_bugarin_1

Elevation Profile

ms_biking_bugarin_2