My First PCF Experience
It was a weekend of cycling festivities which lifted up our spirits. There aren't that many booths but we enjoyed them just the same. And the night ride was an adventure to remember.
I was supposed to join the Gravel Race from last year's Philippine Cycling Festival (PCF), but the accident happened, and sadly I was not able to join. This year, after some encouragement from my wife, we decided to join - albeit a little less intense event which is the night ride.
We wanted to be there before the traffic hits the expressways, so we booked our room at Quest Plus Conference Center in Clark and went there on Friday. The traffic buildup of people wanting to get out of the metro was already building, and I am glad that I listened to her when she said we should head north as early as possible.
We arrived around 2 in the afternoon, and decided to wait until the sun sets before we head out and take our bikes for a spin.
I am impressed at how well Clark City was developed - they have developed roads with active transport in mind. The bike lanes are wide enough to support two flows of cyclists and is safely distanced away from cars passing by.
Since it was our anniversary as boyfriend/girlfriend - we decided to have a steak dinner at The Red Crab. It turned out to be our tradition to have steak dinner on our anniversary dates.
We don't ride out until next evening, so during the day we went and visited the expo for possible budol finds in the booths available there. They don't have that many but the memorable ones are the following:
- Bikes and Coffee Manila for some Rapha goodies, and man, that Colnago G3X in puple rain colorway is super lovely! (I didn't get to take a picture of it, but here's what it looks like):
- Traqs Philippines which offers activity (i.e. cycling) recording. It's like Strava but you earn coins as you ride. I hope they can make a way to integrate Traqs with bike computers such as Wahoo or Garmin - because there are some (like me) who uses those instead of their phones (for fear of getting snatched out while climbing, for example).
- RoadTag.PH offered a discount when we bought their tags which records our personal information and other information that might be required in case of emergency during rides. We got those watch tags which we attached at our Garmin watches, and it fits perfectly.
- Neo Zigma for their Shimano goodies and Maxxis tires. That was the first time I experienced shifting DI2 groupset and I must say it takes some time getting used to especially coming from a mechanical groupset where shifting gears really require significant hand motion (as compared to DI2 which only requires a tap). I wanted to get some Maxxis Ramblers tires to replace my current ones, but I figured I should try something else. I am also hoping to go tubeless if I want to join gravel races. We also took our seat bone and in-seam measurements in this booth.
- Bambikes showed bikes fitted with industrial bamboo which is so cool. Given that bamboo is very flexible, I can see how this can be a viable material for bicycle frames.
They don't have enough booths to encourage us to spend money on, but still a fun stroll. I think we took two or more rounds on the booths just to enjoy seeing other people's bikes.
As the night approaches, we geared up and went to the assembly area.
For some reason they didn't follow the route that they uploaded on their site and went the other way. There are still some areas in the original route that was followed, but mostly we're blind on where we will go. We figured we should just keep up with the rest of the group so we don't lose our way. Fortunately, they are generous with the number of marshals they have who ushered us through traffic around the area.
Regardless of whether the original route was followed, I am just glad we get to go to the new Sacobia Bridge which I only see on other YouTube videos, primarily from Cycling Chef.
We rode for around 40 kilometers and it was a fun ride. They have a truck with a DJ playing some music which served as our beacon to know if we are lagging behind. It was just weird that they had to stop in the middle of the road, because the speaker standing tall on the roof of the truck will heat the vertical limit bar on one of the route's segments.
As we go home, we're suprised that the activity included meals which are very tasty by the way. I know it's not meat - but it still tastes good.
We didn't stay for long and went back to our hotel room - we arrived a little bit late to catch the raffle part of the event, so might as well stay away from the crowd.
So yeah, that was my first PCF Experience. It's a bit low-key, but we still got to enjoy it. Plus, my wife let me drive us back home (at least halfway) which is pretty exhilarating for me, but I loved it anyway.