Biked to: Daranak Falls

Sunday
August 9, 2015

Alternate post titles:

  • Uphill morghulis, downhill dohaeris
  • The “I can’t feel my genitals” Ride
  • Why do I do this to myself

After a couple of weekends of riding the roadie around the metro, I decided that it was time for a long ride. And the first place that came to mind was Daranak Falls. I’ve already attempted to reach it before with my bike group, but we didn’t even reach halfway before giving up. Now that I’ve got a roadbike and the hunger for a long ride, I decided to once again attempt this journey.

I invited some of my friends but since none of them gave the go-signal, it turned into a solo ride. So there I was, 5am on a cold Sunday morning,  heading out by myself and with only my Strava and GPS to guide the way. Good thing that according to the directions, I just had to go straight along Marcos Highway for most of the journey.

A beautiful morning
A beautiful morning
Now with bike
Now with bike

After a few hours of uphill climbing, I passed by the point where we turned around on the last attempt. I still felt like I had some gas in my tank so I pushed on. Marcos Highway goes on for a really, really long time.

I lost count of the times I mentally told myself to stop and turn around. The struggle was mental as much as physical, and with no one to talk to, the ride was draining my willpower hard. But I focused on the beautiful views and kept on pedaling.

By this point I was already on the verge of giving up
By this point I was already on the verge of giving up

A few kilometers away from the Sierra Madre hotel, I found a couple of bikers on their way to the windmills in Bugarin. I kept in pace with them and even had some conversations. I took their pictures for them and went on my way.

After a few more hours of pedaling, it started to rain. I waited for it to stop or weaken, and went on despite being warned of the slippery roads.

Finally…

Victory
Victory

I made it. You’re not allowed to take your bike inside the falls, so it’s a good thing manang tindera outside has a bike chain. I went in and took some quick pictures of the place. I wasn’t really in the mood for swimming because my legs felt like jelly and I had nowhere to leave my belongings. There’s also Batlag Falls further up the resort but I didn’t go there because I didn’t want to leave my bike alone for a long time.

Bridge to the falls
Bridge to the falls
The river that the bridge crosses
The river that the bridge crosses
The falls itself
The falls itself

After a quick rest and eating some sustenance. I made my way back because I had to be home before mass time or my mom won’t let me ride my bike ever again.

I took a different way back home, and because of the rush, I wasn’t able to take any more pictures. But of course my long ride wouldn’t be complete without these colorful events:

  • Getting a flat front tire a few minutes after leaving Daranak falls. I misjudged a transition from the rough road to the concrete and got a pinch flat. Fortunately, I have honed my flat-repairing skills through lots and lots of experience. An interior tube change and I was back on my way.
  • Intense rain. Lots of intense rain. I had to stop no less than 5 times and seek shelter because of the moody weather. Through that I was able to make new friends while waiting for the downpour to abate.
  • Fell over my bike because of the rain. This marks my first crash on my roadie and it’s a good thing it wasn’t too damaging. Because of the slippery roads, I misjudged a lane change and wiped the asphalt with my body. The chain got removed from the cranks and I was panicking but then I handled the situation. My knee and shin got torn up, but better me than my bike.

Despite these… challenges, I was still able to arrive home safe and in time for mass. I was even able to clean the bike and take a short nap. So, all in all, I can say that it was a successful ride.

My first century ride.
My first century ride.

Daranak Falls (and Batlag Falls)
Tanay, Rizal
Entrance Fee: P50 per head
Bike Lock Rental: P20

I really, really despise uphill climbs but this entire adventure was really a test of my limits. They say that the hardest struggle gives the sweetest victory and this has been the hardest ride I’ve been on so far. Before the ride I had doubts, but afterwards, I had memories. So what’s next for me? The Bugarin Windmills maybe. Come bike with me!

As always, ride safe!

-jgzn

p.s. One of the things that made this long ride bearable was buko juice. Fortunately I was able to catch some vendors along the way and had a nice cold cup for P10 each. They really revive your tired legs and counter the heat. Plus they’re a natural source of electrolytes. Yum.

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