This is part of a new series about training venues for running, cycling, and swimming near Metro Manila.
I’ve previously written about where you can do swim, bike, and run training in Metro Manila, but honestly most Manila-based triathletes travel about an hour out of the city to get some quality bike training in.
I first became acquainted with Nuvali during the Men’s Health All-Terrain Race held there a few years ago. Even then, I marveled at the development’s thrust to make motorists aware that they had to share the road with cyclists and runners.
I started weekend rides in Nuvali in 2012 while preparing for the 90-kilometer bike leg of a relay at the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu. The development in Sta. Rosa, Laguna has become a favorite stomping ground not just for me, but for many other athletes longing for smooth pavement, few stoplights, and not so much vehicular traffic. It is also the site for the country’s popular beginner’s Dream Marathon, Pilipinas Duathlon series, and triathlon camps such as The Next Step Camp last year and T1 Multisport Camp just last weekend.
Last year I became very, very acquainted with Nuvali due to my preparation for Challenge Roth’s 180-kilometer bike leg. One big loop of the roads east and west of the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Highway amounted to 50 kilometers, so I steadily hamstered away every weekend even if I ended up the last cyclist on the roads on the day; the security guards at the gates knew me by sight.
I could have gone and done the eastbound ride from Morong, Rizal through Bugarin or Jala-jala towards Pagsanjan, Laguna and back. That would be an easy way to log the long kilometers; however, the last time I was there, I got dropped by my companions and was forced to find my way back to our meet-up point by myself. (I was still using my aluminum roadie at the time.) A local kid rode up beside me and engaged me in conversation about where I was from and who I was riding with. Then he said, “Mabuti malakas ang loob ninyo mag-bike dito mag-isa” — It’s a good thing you’re brave enough to ride here by yourself. He then revealed that the area had seen several bikenapping incidents in the past. Not more than two weeks after that ride, a coach riding in the area was almost mugged. Yikes!
After that, my parents pleaded with me to ride instead in Nuvali for safety, and I could see the logic of that. The area is actually semi-closed to public traffic, with only authorized vehicles with decals allowed through the gates. There are security outposts and patrols all over, so in case of accidents (even minor ones like flat tires), you’ll be able to flag down help quickly. There’s a well-stocked convenience store for food and drink top-ups, and parking is relatively secure.
So even if I ended up feeling like a hamster riding a 50-kilometer loop four times over, at least I could do it even by myself and feel safe.
As for running, I didn’t do any of my long runs in Nuvali. However, I run off my bike for brick training. There’s a nice little 1-kilometer boardwalk around a pond behind the Seda Hotel which I am content to use for however many loops I need. If you’re of the offroad persuasion, there is actually a trail meandering through Nuvali which mostly mountain bikers use.
For longer runs you can head back onto the roadway, but it doesn’t really have a sidewalk yet. Hopefully, as Nuvali continues to be developed for residential and commercial use we’ll see more safe sidewalks to run on. And as the trees planted grow taller and spread their leaves and branches, we’ll have more shade!
The only thing Nuvali is missing is a public lap pool. There are a few in the residential settlements and country clubs in the area, but unless you’re a resident or a member you can’t access these. But apart from this shortcoming, it’s easy to see why Nuvali is an ideal training venue for the weekend warrior. (And the people who live there are so lucky to be able to ride and run straight off their doorstep!)
Do you or would you train in Nuvali? Let me know about other training venues you know of near Metro Manila!
Next in this series: Subic Bay.