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Nuvali Dirt Weekend Double Race Report! « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Nuvali Dirt Weekend Double Race Report!

Hey readers – last weekend I got adventurous and competed in an off road festival here in Nuvali! I was really looking forward to this event particularly because I had gotten a new MTB, a Scott Spark 940 which I got @ a great deal from The Brick Multisport store!

It was a refreshing event that was quite laid back (a bit to much at times) and had a different, more punk/rock crowd of cycling enthusiast which is a nice change from (insert humorous adjective) triathletes – ahahahahahaha!

Up first was the X-Country event where I would compete in the OPEN category which is in between ELITE and AGE GROUP.

It had been quite dry for the past weeks in the Sta. Rosa area. How-ever, the weather gods decided to give us some rain come race morning – followed by some bright sun immediately following the race start. As you can imagine, it was very muddy, sticky and humid!

Just like in a triathlon start EVERYBODY wants to be in good position because its easier to get passed than have to pass while on the trail.


I entered the trail in about 20th position and was happy to have not crashed – unlike others. The pace was stiff and I was breathing hard already. I gradually started to cut through the mess in front of me around the slippery up-hills where we had to dis-mount. My ‘high-hoe-silver’ abilities and run fitness allowed me to wiz by small clusters.

This was one of the most entertaining sections - going down a wooden ramp - Joyette told me it was more common to see somebody fall down than make it all the way down on 2 wheels!

@ around the half way point I found myself in no-mans-land and covered in mud. I diligently negotiated the most technical area called ‘the graveyard’ and once in the open field I caught a glimpse of a 5 man group just up ahead!

This is when the first dis-organisation problem arose – there was a section with a few trail options but NO sign, NO tape or NO volunteer to guide us! I followed the group off the trail onto the main road and here came the “putang ina” and “saan yung race course” ?

After a few minutes an official  aboard a motor cycle rolled up out of no-where and directed us back on track.

As we got back into race mode, I got aggressive and ATTACKED  where only 2 of the riders would match my pace over the ondulating terrain that overlooked the beauty of Laguna Bay home of the largest lake in The Philippines!

Now I could see for minutes ahead of me in the open field – I was now convinced I was in control of this race (my first MTB race) but it turned the eventually champion was waaaay ahead!

Not to long after, we where pointed off the MTB trails and into a perimeter road used by Jeepney’s and Tricycles. This made no sense, why not do the MTB race on the MTB trail?

This is where the 2nd disorganization problem would arise – there was large clusters of volunteers @ obvious and self explanatory sections of the course! All of a sudden we got to a 4 way dirt road intersection again with NO sign, NO volunteer and NO tape.

I slowed down and my break way buddies went to the front and I followed. I knew we had to be heading towards the Republ1c Wakepark and ride their perimeter trail but now we where heading in a different direction – I second guessed myself and followed them…

After a few minutes we ended up on a previous section of the perimeter road – now I was pissed. I turned around and ripped it towards the right direction where I rode through a few athletes like they where standing still as i got back-on-track.


Now the finish line was close as we rolled onto the main road – suddenly there was a small group of guys I never seen before right on my wheel as I entered the final trail about 2KM from the finish.

Out of a tunnel and into a shallow river with my game face on!

A few guys right behind me looking to challenge in the final stages of the race!

Out of the river and up the steep hill we jockyed for position and in the final strait I locked out my suspension, but her in the BIG RING and bounced out of the saddle!

Fueled by anger and emotion I won the sprint – once across the line I asked several of the volunteers what was my position they all said the same thing “sorry sir I did not count” to me that meant there was quite a few guys ahead of me.

Dirty, pissed-off and tired.

As riders trickled into the finish chute you could hear all sorts of angry things in Tagalog…Turns out I got 4th OVERALL and was 2nd in the OPEN category (18 seconds behind 1st).

I spent the rest of the day loosening out my body, cleaning my gear for the next day and finishing off training programs for my athletes!

Here I am getting ready on the 2nd day - the race start is only about 15 min from my home so it was a fairly relaxed morning.

The Off Road Duathlon was organized by Thumbie ‘mister T’ Remingo of the Adrenaline Multisport Group so I knew I could expect a good event 8) and when we actually started on time, I knew I could simply go out and hammer!

I recognized a few familiar faces and noticed a few MTBer's where also racing back-to-back - ASTIG!!!

Take your marks!

Chasing while being chased!

I would be challenged by ‘bad boy’ and Robeno, arguably the 2 most talented local duathletes that went through the Philippines Duathlon National team.

I felt heavy from the start, not just because I raced the day before or the wedding I attended on Thursday by also by the fact that I had not trained all that much in the past few weeks since I was busy coaching my scholars during ‘sem-break’.

My goal was to limit the damage on the first run, stay relaxed and make a move on the bike!

I quickly caught and passed Robeno and now had ‘bad boy’ in my scope. I gradually ‘tighten-the-screws’  as we entered the most technical section of the bike. How-ever, suddenly around the half way point of the bike my lower back locked up…

I am no stranger to back pain so I focused to manage it and maintain my 2nd position. Once on the run, I focused on a short/compact stride on the UPS of the undulating terrain and a longer stride on the DOWNS. My body opened up in the final quarter of the run and it turned out to be the best I felt out of both runs!

Re-leaved to finish 2nd!

Top 3 OVERALL - I always wonder how quick I could run if I had a body like them?

Giving a short interview - I always get asked "Is this your first time in the Philippines?" questions during these. But this time I figured she assumed ALASKA refereed to where I was from - not who I represent ;)

The awards actually took a while to start and I still had lots of computer work to do so Joyette got my award on my behalf!

This was one of the highlights for me!


I was surprised they had a Four Cross event instead of the BMX Cross of which is now an Olympic Sport and in my opinion, an event that suites the Filipino body and mind which could possibly be a sport where a local could bring back an Olympic Medal!

The Dirt weekend also finished off with a big concert that I did not have time to attend…All-in-all it was a great weekend, I meet new people, got new experiences and won a total of 10 000 pesos (~250 US) for both my 2nd places!

If only the OVERALL organizers of this event would manage to ‘cross-the-T’s’ and ‘dot-the-I’s’ this event could have some serious potential for growth as its a beautiful venue with very generous sponsors!

My next event is this Sunday @ The Putik Pare off-road-team-duathlon in Clark Freeport Zone in The Province of Pampanga where ‘Apl.de.ap‘ of The Black Eyed Peas hails from!

For those wondering, putik means mud and pare means friend in Tagalog! So its a ‘muddy-buddy’ event – ahahahaha!

Here are some pics from last year where I teamed up with Joyette – this year I will team up with kuya Noy!

Me carrying Joyette in the mud-pit!

This one needs a funny caption!

This is not a race per say but rather an event that solicitates lots of smiles!

Hope to see ya there!

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