“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are…” Author Ernest Hemingway couldn’t have said it better.
In downhill racing, it’s a whole new ball game. Speed is as important as balance and focus.
Downhill mountain bike tutorials are a great way of improving riding techniques. Coach Parabanne “Bans” Mendoza, with wife Athena, and Coach Arjuna Saulo love what they do. That is go around the country and teach kids to ride properly. The former Philippine team downhillers were in town recently. They trained 10 young riders. I think I heard Coach Bans say there is a way to grip the handlebar. But first he checked if they were wearing their helmets right.
Family support was visible in Lagui-Sail, like Niki Domingo’s dad Nelson was there the entire day. I also saw a mom driving her sons to the trail. I left early, failing to see the kids bring their bikes to the hill and pedal down fast with more confidence.
The tiny boys in the barrio were also listening intently.