And without further ado. The finale…
When we got to the bridge, Jake stopped and grabbed the opportunity to take some pictures. The bridge was being repaired and there was a lot of people around. After taking some souvenir shots, we were getting more worried about the condition of Herc’s scooter. Although he had Tito with him, we wanted to be all together at this point. We then pushed further when Jake realized that he had Herc’s tire on his back and I had the hand pump that they may need to load up a little air to get them to the next vulcanizing shop. We then decided to stop and talk about what to do. We decided to send Stampedeblue back with the tire and the hand pump while me and Jake pushed towards our goal. After splitting up, we got to Bangui and a Flying V station welcomed us. I filled up my tank and left a message for the rest of the group with the gasoline girl. We had to push. We were getting behind schedule.
After leaving the station, We came upon one of the most unforgettable sights of the trip. The windmills of Bangui were magnificent. Although we didn’t have enough time to go to the beach and see it in close proximity, the view on the national highway was equally rewarding and jaw dropping. A few pictures here and there and we decided to go on our way. At this point, I removed the camera from my neck and packed it up inside mu U-box since more picture taking will only delay us further. Before leaving, I told Jake that I was in so much pain already and that we need to find a pharmacy to buy something to relieve ourselves from the strain. While on the road, we came up a small group of local bikers. One of them was on a TMX Honda wearing nothing but shorts, slippers and not even a helmet. After we passed them, the TMX guy decided to give chase. Since I was a mere 115cc bike on the twisties, he didn’t waste time in passing me. The moment he reached Jake, the race was on! He was trying all sorts of ways in trying to get passed Jake. With Jake’s experience and his knowledge in riding, the guy couldn’t do anything but trail Jake. It was a sight to see. However, they disappeared even before I got to see more of the action. When the twisties began to point downhill, I attacked the turns and tried my best to reach them. When I caught up, I was disappointed to see the guy take a turn from our direction. I was hoping to get a little bit of the action since the roads were going downhill and I had some advantage since my tires were a lot better than theirs.
Anyway, we continued on and as we were speeding through, we were suddenly caught by surprise that what we have entered was a closed portion of the road. Jake was about 50 meters ahead of me when all of a sudden, I hear and see both his tires lock up. The road had a cut that had a 12 inch drop. Falling into that cut at our speed would have been disaster. Jake was able to stop in time that his front tire was at the very edge of the road. We looked at each other and laughed at the certain mishap we could have gotten ourselves into. Anyway, we found a way to get down and over the road cut and continued on in spite the road repairs going on in that section.
While racing towards Laoag City, I was already experiencing tunnel vision. Paying no attention to what was beside or behind me which Jake had noticed. While on the road, Jake had to go beside me just to make me stop. He had seen a small pharmacy on the way so we turned back to get some pain medz. We decided to grab a few sandwiches before taking the advil pills just in case. While eating, we got a text message from the guys asking us to wait for them since Herc’s scooter was running again. We had to decline since precious time was ticking away. Somebody has to get to Clark as soon and as fast as possible. After taking the pain pills, we saddled up and continued to push.
After about an hour, I thought I was dreaming. It felt like I was back in Manila when I realized that we have just hit Laoag City. Jake decided to look for a place to fill his tires up with air since he still felt the wobbly feeling from his rear. After stopping in the second gas station for air, I decided to take a closer look at Jake’s bike. Then I realized why it felt wobbly. The spokes on his rear wheel was loose beyond comprehension!!! Jake was so lucky that it didn’t break that would caused him to loose control and crash. I immediately looked for a place to get the bike repaired and asked a few locals where a shop was located. After getting directions, I told Jake to get it fixed while I go and get gassed up. After filling my tank, I went to look for him. To my frustration, I couldn’t see him anywhere so I decided to go back for another look. When I got to the gas station again, Herc, Tito and Stampede just caught up. We took a quick break and the guys had a few bites before leaving. As we were resting, Jake called and told me that it would take a while for them to get his wheel fix as they needed to take it apart for balancing reasons. Jake instructed us to push on and since he had the fastest bike, He would just try to catch up with us. We then decided to push on since it was already past 4PM and we still had more than 400KMS to go.
Before leaving Laoag, I told the guys to push and to not worry in case I get left behind again. I already knew the area and was sure I wouldn’t run out of gas stations. True enough, It only took about ten minutes for them to disappear again. I was on a solo run and It started to rain. The dropping sun didn’t help either. So I pushed as hard as I could. It was already dark when I got to the areas where multiple road repairs were being done so I was extra careful of where I was going since I didn’t want to get into an accident all by myself. After treading through the dark and several close encounters with the ground, I stumbled upon a gas station is Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. It was already 7 PM and I was already feeling sleepy. We have been on the road for 19 hours straight. And we still had a long way to go. I asked the gasoline boy if three riders wearing similar reflectorized vests came by. He did see them pass by a few minutes ahead of me so I knew I wasn’t far behind. I checked my cellphone and saw a message from Jake saying that he left Laoag at about 5:20. So he was not so far behind. I got on my bike and continued on. When I reached the town proper, Tito, Herc and Stampede were resting by Chowking in San Jose. I was surprised I caught up. They had just filled up with gas and was taking a breather. Then all of a sudden, as we were getting ready to saddle up, Jake zipped through like a man possessed. We all gave chase soon after. Again, I find myself trailing since the pace was too much for the 115CC scooter. I swear, these guys are probably running over 120KPH while I tried to keep my speed at about 100-105KPH.
It has been almost a couple of hours when I reached San Fernando, La Union. I decided to stop by a shell station to fill up when I gave Jake a call. They have stopped over at Petron in the same city and was waiting for me. I soon followed over and got there at about 9:55 pm. We had about two hours to go till midnight and we still needed to get 200KMS on our odometer before reaching Clark. At this point, we had to decide who had to go up Baguio and who had to go straight to Clark for the finish. I declined the Baguio route since my bike was too underpowered to keep up. Jake had no choice but to complete the Baguio route since it was in preparation for a surprise event next year. Herc also declined because any more deflation in his tire will mean more delays and Stampedeblue was the one carrying Herc’s tire and was awfully tired. So it was left to Tito to decide. I shouldn’t have doubted the guy since he was a known endurance guy. He had been around the northern loop so many times, he could probably do it in his sleep. So he decides to run with Jake up Baguio. After calling the decision, We then raced on for what was the final and deciding leg of our journey.
When we got to Tabo, Jake and Tito made a U-turn into Marcos Hi-way for their run towards Baguio city and me, Stampede and Herc went straight towards the national road into Pangasinan. At this time, I was already experiencing fatigue and my eyes were dropping. It’s been almost 23 hours and sleepiness had stepped in. We got to our final stop in Moncada Tarlac where we decided to make a run for the money towards Clark. It was already 11:15 and time was running out. Anything beyond 25 hours before reaching the goal was to be considered a failure in making the run. We hoped Jake and Tito got in Baguio at about the same time of our stop to complete their run. Herc was already talking me out of falling asleep at this point. I already had a blank face and wasn’t talking too much. Stampede was already leaning on the wall of the gas station while sitting down because of fatigue. It was getting too close for us to stop now. So Herc called up on a race towards Clark. That way we could stay up and reach our destination.
We saddled up one last time and made the final push towards Pampanga. And like what Herc said, he turned this last run into a race. Pulling back and forth from us and honking his horn every time he passed. Then rain started to fall. We made a quick stop so that Herc and Stampede could hide their electronics in their compartments to keep them dry. We then pushed in spite the falling rain. We kept the pace, running at about 100-110KPH through the towns of Pampanga till we were welcomed by the sign that we were nearing Angeles City. I was only thinking of one thing at this point. SISIG! I want hot sizzling SISIG when I get there!
Upon reaching Angeles, the rain had already stopped and this time, we were upon trucks and dust clouds of left over lahar on the side of the roads. It made me look back and realize that we have endured every situation possible in this road trip. Darkness, wet and slippery roads, bumps and cracks on the roads for kilometre after kilometre of nonstop beating and torture, mud, road works, gravel, sand, off road excursions, rain, dust, heat, cold, fog, more rain and more mud, pain, hunger, sleepiness, fatigue, hallucinations, tunnel vision, racing the locals, running put of roads, flat tires, loose spokes, traffic, make shift bridges, jumps on bridges and bumps on the roads, animals, birds, insects, more mud, more dust and even more rain. There was no stopping us now. PUSH PUSH PUSH!!! In Angeles, we got caught up in some traffic and a certain area even had a power outage. We weaved through the traffic, the jeeps, the tricycles and trucks. As the roadside became brighter and the lights of Angeles shined on our visors, we realized that we have made it. As Herc made a turn towards the entrance of Clark airbase, we raised our fists as we have reached the end of our journey. We made a stop in front of the ark of Clarks entrance and saluted and congratulated each other for making it in spite all that we have gone through. We also wished Jake and Tito the same success in making it all the way up Baguio. Although we knew that they had a long way to go to reach us in Clark, we knew that we were already successful in this journey. Even though we went over by 34 minutes, we were still within the acceptable time in runs like these. If we were 26 minutes late and had crossed the 25 hour mark, then we would have failed. There was nothing like the feeling I had at that point. We have proven something that a lot of people were so sceptical about and said was not even humanly possible on small displacement bikes and scooters.
Me, Herc and Stampedeblue had made a total of 1197KMS in 24 hours and 34 minutes. Making this the fastest northern loop run in the history of MCP and riding community. Next up, the run to Matnog and back!!!
The author is Mr. Jobert Christian G. Bolanos
known by many as click_me at the Motorcyclephilippines.com forum
Chairman – Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO) Philippines
Visit his online abode at www.bikerpinoy.blogspot.com and www.mrophilippines.com
Good thing motorcycles has no steering rack for Im sure it will yield while traversing the concrete cracks in Tuguegarao as sir click_me told us. Nevertheless, My heartful congratulations to all participantes (ala Pinoy Fear Factor) for making such an inspirational ride. If only you invited a crew from the National Geographic or Discovery Channel to capture the moments hehe.
If America has IBA (Iron Butt Association). I think its time we ought to have one here too in the Philippines. I would suggest this name for such – AssTIG or TIGAss (the “butt thing” is still there lol)
AssTIG – Association of Tremendous Individual Gallopers
TIGAss – Tremendous Individual Gallopers Association