DAY 5 of 7: Making a Christmas Memory Tour 2022
Day 5 of Mitch's "Making a Christmas Memory" Bicycle Tour.
[12km] from Timoc, Ifugao to Buguias, Benguet 54KMS ------------------ LEAVING A GIFT
I left three Bibles, some tracts, and 500 pesos with the family that hosted me last night. It is 12kms from Tinoc. I rode out at 0500 before anyone woke up.
One part of the day I hate most is putting on the same wet, smelly clothes from the day before, with only few changes. Until I get to do laundry, there is no choice. I cannot wash because there is no sun to dry during the day. Cold, wet clothes on a cold morning is not fun. Once I get moving, everything warms up.
I found an eatery in Tinoc at the 12km mark. This was a real oasis. I needed a refuge from the rain, and cold. She even had a BIG coffee cup like mine at home!
Departing Tinoc, the switchbacks started. I was walking (pushing) my bike around nearly every corner. I can go about 50 steps before needing a break.
Maybe I said this before, but although my elevations in the USA EXCEEDED these elevations ie. 5000 - 11,000, I never had to push my bike. Never. But here, pushing is the default norm. The grade is ridiculously steep. Nearly ever vehicle I saw today are trucks, 4X4 and Toyota FX, Toyota Delicas.
Because of changing weather, from one moment to the next, I was continually rotating from rain wear to non-rain. Getting hot, getting cold.
The extreme amount if vegetables grown in Ifugao is unmatchable. THANK YOU to all the farmers working these mountain gardens to feed EVERYONE in the lowlands. Like the 16 million people in Metro-Manila. All food is trucked in daily.
I met a driver who said he saw me two days ago. He was offering to give me a ride to the Highest Point. He said the last 500 yards is too intense. I said, "That's cheating." He didn't understand the purpose of my trip to be self powered. Anyhow, I declined. Gave him some stickers.
It's true. The last 8, 5, 3, and 2KMs and especially the last 500 meters to Highest Point were all very un-naturally engineered. Thank God for all the workers and engineers that built this road. Thank you. Thank you. You are amazing, but I can't wait to see FLAT GROUND again.
The moment I arrived at Highest Point, my camera memory card filled up! I was hurrying, and freezing, and the wind was like a rain blizzard. It was tormenting, and I'm trying to dig for and replace a memory card. My goodness. Insanity. I got it, but...
LET'S GET OUT OF HERE
After taking photos at Highest Point in terrible, tormenting rain, wind, and cold, I ate a quick chocolate bar, and scampered around to get out if there. It was a type of rushed, "let's get out of here" moment. There was no view, no nice scene, no breath taking moment at 7,985 feet above sea level. It was closer to "the worst place to be" moment. Run for your lives!!!
Within five minutes of heading downhill on the other side with blazing speed, immediately the temperature dropped. I could feel the warmth instantly. Everything seemed greener, and in my mind, they may of been some birds chirping, but up there, death, like the North Pole, like those blizzard scenes from Mt. Everest documentaries.
Now, going down and down and down required nearly 90% brake squeeze. My poor brakes, having to resist such pressures. At one point, I actually stopped to adjust both brakes since I lost 1/4 of my brake pads. Any bike that goes up to Highest Point should have two essentials: low granny-gear gearing for climbing (which I do), and above average quality brakes (which I do).
YOU'RE THE GUY
Last year, during my Christmas ride in 2021, I ran into a biker near Nueva Ecjia Provincial border. Today, I ran into him again! Going the opposite way as me. I just finished the Highest Point and it's descent, and he was NOW going up there. I Thanked God I was finished already. I did not want to be in his shoes.
EAT AND LODGE?
Near lower Buguias, I had a large beef meal (for recovery purposes) hoping to find housing near by, only to find all the housing options are still a few KMS UP THE HILL again to the highway (Buguias Proper)! Now, I had to exert myself, once again, on a full stomach! One full hour later, I reached the main highway. This is the road I take to Baguio tomorrow.
NO ROOM IN THE INN
I found a place to stay but there's no place to put my bicycle. You would have to carry the bicycle down about 40 steps to the lower floor. I thought no way, and looked for a different place. I finally ended up finding Alpine Hotel which only had 20 steps to walk down, but I could keep my bike in the room.
FINALLY, WHAT A MESS?
After getting into my room, I had gadgets to re-charge, wet clothes to hang up, and much unpacking. It's been five days now. I am ready for laundry and a complete re-packing of my items before returning to Manila.
TOMORROW, SLEEP IN?
I wish I could sleep in, but the last stretch to Baguio City is 54 miles of mountain terrain again. It is a traditional 12 hour ride for other bikers, but I need to get going. I am preaching on the 1st of January in a friends church in Baguio City. I return the 255KMS, two-day trip back to Manila on the 2nd and 3rd.
P.S. I am at 422KMS as of now, in five days. That is nearly the same average I had on my USA Trip in 2019.
End Go to Day 6 of 7