Yesterday was such a special treat because not only did I get the chance to meet and ride with Australian former cycling pro & three-time Tour de France winner Robbie McEwen, but i also had the privilege of doing that 40km course with my dad by my side.
Early that morning, I made sure to get to the starting line way before gunstart, waited for my dad, and made sure I had brought with me his bike nutrition (an energy bar), his race belt, and bike emergency tools (co2 and pitstop). It was the first time my dad and I were riding together so this was an extraordinary bike ride for both of us.
As the gun was shot, off we went. We were surrounded by the full force of the Polo Tri Team and those guys were fast! It was a test of willpower and tons of EQ for me as I wanted to push, go fast and try to chase them (keyword: try) but I knew I had to stay by my dad’s side.
Having suffered from a bad crash caused by his heart stopping a few months ago, the doctors told my dad to ease up on the bike. Meaning, he can’t quite raise his heart rate anymore. Only slow, steady rides for him. He knew I liked going for speed..told me I could race it and just leave him, and just wait for him at the u-turn. But I couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t. What if something happened to him in that few minutes that I’d leave him? I was not going to risk that. Besides, the only reason I joined this was so that I could ride side by side with him anyway!
The course was easy and beautiful. Having the roads of BGC, buendia and roxas all to ourselves, my dad told me stories about his old biking adventures the whole way.
Other bikers would pass us, as we would also pass some bikers… we didn’t care about speed, just biked merrily. My dad admitted to me as we climbed the last flyover that he purposely didn’t wear his heart rate monitor just so that he won’t panic if his HR goes up by just a bit (which would cause him to stop); But he looked like he was having fun so I was the least bit worried.
On the last 10km we found my good friend & Tri trainingmate Jonah so he caught up with us and stayed by our side. Upon reaching the last 5 km, Robbie showed up beside me and paced with us too! How awesome right? He said we looked like a group he would cross the finish line with. An hour and half on the course and we crossed the finish line, all four of us, me, my dad, jonah & Robbie, with big smiles on our faces. Yes, it was probably one of my slowest rides to date but I wasn’t doing this to PR anyway. This was perhaps one of the best (if not THE BEST) dad & daughter bonding experience I’ve had with my dad. Such a priceless experience that I wish to get to do over and over again. Yup, the medal that we got in the end may just be a piece of metal, but what it represents is something I will forever cherish.
Big thanks to Princess Galura & Sunrise Events for organizing this well-executed event!