Based on the 2014 edition of the race, Challenge Philippines has been touted as one of the toughest races over the half distance. For the Challenge Philippines 2015 race, the organizers have decided to make a few changes to the route to make it safer for participants. Last Saturday was the first time a big group of participants were able to ride out on the course.
The few. The proud. The “nagsusunog ng kinain noong Pasko”.
There are two major changes from the 2014 route. The first one is that instead of taking the right fork at a junction and riding up to Anvaya from the Morong Gate, we now take the left fork climbing up to the Bataan Technopark. Many participants suffered flats during the race due to the road surface at Anvaya, and it has not been improved since then. Meanwhile, the roads through the Technopark have been re-paved, and the stretch that was rather dusty and “trail-y” when I saw it last is now a beautiful wide stretch of asphalt with freshly painted lines. (More on this later.)
The other major change is that instead of the route extending all the way to the town of Bagac where the Friendship Tower was the sole U-turn, there is a small loop within the route. Participants take a U-turn at the SAF camp checkpoint (just prior to the climb leading to the Morong-Bagac boundary arch), then ride up past the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant heading back toward the town of Morong, take another U-turn just before the town limits, ride back down past the power plant, U-turn again at the checkpoint, then ride all the way back.
The reason that section from the Morong-Bagac boundary arch was removed is that it was where most of the accidents occurred during previous recons and race (and even during some recons for the Bataan International Triathlon). Those twisty descents have proven too risky time and again, and so I’m relieved they’re no longer part of the new route.
Challenge Philippines 2015 bike route recon
For this recon ride, we didn’t do the small loop, but at least saw the major highlights of the new route. What can I say about it? Ummm… it was easier but harder. Huhuhu. Let me explain so you can strategize how to ride this new course.
Continue reading “Challenge Philippines 2015 Bike Recon”