Bike to Baguio

Four cyclists attempt to bike from Quezon City to Baguio City to warm up for an upcoming trail run event.

By Bruno Yonzon
January 12, 2011

The North Face 100 2010 in Baguio-Benguet, Philippines was an ultra marathon event with 11 kilometer, 22 kilometer, 50 kilometer, and 100 kilometer solo races intended to test a runner's endurance. Freelance architect and mountaineer Bruno Yonzon, along with three of his friends intending to participate in the 22k category, decide to up the ante by biking to Baguio forty eight hours before the event. His video below chronicles the epic ride from Quezon City to Kennon Road.

What started out as a joke over dinner became a grueling journey for me and three of my Non-Pro Athletes (an informal recreational group composed of friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends, all with a common interest in pursuing outdoor activities for enjoyment and good health) friends when we decided to make real our idea of biking 300+ km all the way to Baguio from Metro Manila for a trail run event.

A few weeks before The North Face 100 (a trail running race in which some of us Non-Pros had signed up for the 22-km category side event), we were having dinner at our usual haunt and discussing people we knew who had biked all the way from Manila to Baguio. Thinking that no one would take it seriously, someone suggested that we should do it as a warm-up for the trail run. But as the day of the trip neared, the idea became more enticing and we were gradually convinced that it could actually be done. Thus, preparations began and it was decided that four of us would actually go ahead and bike up to Baguio, where we would meet up with family and friends who would be participating in the trail run as well.


Warm UP

On the eve of April 23, we took off on our mountain bikes from the UP-Ayala Technohub heading towards Valenzuela via Mindanao Avenue. Close to two in the morning, we were already at the old National Highway and making our way through several Bulacan towns.

All was going well until the sun came up. Slowly, the heat of the day took its toll on our sleep-deprived bodies and we had a very difficult time making our way through Tarlac. We were re-energized in the late afternoon after we had a late lunch in Rosales, Pangasinan (where we met up with my wife Len and Paul's wife Elaine, who were participating in the event in Baguio). Despite the boost in confidence and energy, and the setting sun, the remaining distance still posed a challenge since we were running short on time. We had inadvertently set a deadline for our bike-to-Baguio ride when we offered our support to an acquaintance who was participating in the main 100km race event, which will start at 3:00AM the next day.

By the time we reached the exit from the province of Pangasinan, it was really late in the evening. At 11:00PM--just 1 hour before the gun start of the TNF 100 trail run in Baguio--we were forced to call it a day. (In mountain climbing, one must stick to a prescribed itinerary where you must reach a specific point at a given time. If you are past the cut off time and you have not reached the goal, you must abort the attempt. To do otherwise can put you in a life or death situation. We maintained this discipline in our trip.)


Our epic ride ended a few kilometers into Kennon Road at the Flying V Station after biking for 23 hours and 247 kilometers-- 24 kilometers short of Baguio City. We were picked up by our friends and rode the rest of the way up just in time to make it to the start of the 100k trail race.

Technically, we did not bike all the way to Baguio, which is usually marked by the famous lion's head, but it was a great experience altogether. We'll definitely be back to conquer Baguio sometime in the future.

The Northface 100 Baguio-Benguet 22k trail race started on April 25,2010 at 4:00AM. Bruno Yonzon ended up placing 16th overall for the 22k category.