Thousands took part in the inaugural Sun Life CyclePH yesterday with biking newbies relishing the chance to ride side-by-side with three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen and a slew of celebrities at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Saturday.
Around 1,200 showed up in the novel event which featured seven categories – the tricycle ride (100-m distance for two- to three-year-olds), kids’ ride (500-m for 4-5), family ride (30-minute ride for 6-15 with adult companion), solo ride (30-minute ride for 6-15), short distance ride (20-km for 10 and above), long distance ride (40-km for 10 and above) and Bid-2-Bike where they pedaled alongside McEwen and Star Magic artists, led by Piolo Pascual.
Edmond Reyes, who enjoyed sharing the road with actors and recent Sunrise Sprint Bohol age group podium finishers Jake Cuenca and Gerald Anderson and many-time Ironman 70.3 Philippines finisher Matteo Guidicelli in the 40K division, said that the event proved to be a big boost for beginners like him.
“I was encouraged. Even if I was a beginner, I could keep pace with them,” said Reyes, who has joined a couple of triathlon and duathlon events in a year, after crossing the finish line together with Cuenca in the 40km ride.
Former Ateneo volley star and cycling newbie Gretchen Ho liked the non-competitive format of the event dubbed as a “ride” and not a race, with no podium finishers and every participant receiving a medal.
“I was happy when I learned that it was non-competitive because it’s my first time to do a 40-km course. When I first tried biking, I fell and I got a scar so I developed a little fear. I don’t bike aggressively. But through this event, I realized that I could join races because I finished strong,” said Ho.
She plied the two-loop course from BGC to Kalayaan Flyover toward Buendia and Roxas Boulevard then back with brother Justin, a pediatrician, as Sun Life Cycle PH stayed true to its goal of making it a family event.
Father-and-son pair Elgene, 39, and Terrence Calixtro, 11, were among those who took part in the 20-km route.
“It’s fun, exciting and cool (to ride with my dad),” said the younger Calixtro, who dreams of becoming a professional cyclist.
Australian cycling legend McEwen cited the big improvement on the local cycling scene as he rode alongside former junior national cycling team member Rex Luis Krog of Go for Gold and celebrities in the 40k side of the event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and backed by the BGC, DOT, Powerade, Rudy Project, F2P, 2GO, Ford, Trek, Cetaphil, Sanicare, Alaska, Alcoplus, Cignal and the Philippine Star.
“Looking at them at times riding along at 40-km an hour and they look completely comfortable, it’s obvious to me that the level of Filipino riders over the last four years has really improved. I can see them more at ease with the bike and riding faster, looking stronger,” said McEwen, who is in his fifth time in the Philippines.
SunPiology founder Pascual was happy with the turnout, as his favorite sport, cycling, was added for the first time to his annual fun run event with an aim of futher promoting awareness on keeping a healthy lifestyle, diabetes prevention and helping less-privileged kids sustain their education.
Sun Life Cycle PH served as a fundraiser for the scholars of Hebreo 12:1 Foundation, also founded by Pascual.
“It’s important for us in the entertainment field to be able to put it out there for people to realize that living a sedentary life is boring. For us to be able to enjoy life, get out, go enjoy the outdoors and live your life but exercise and live a balanced life,” said Pascual.
Meanwhile, the Sun Life Resolution Run, featuring five categories – the 500-m dash for kids, 500-m walk for adults, 3K, 5K and 10K – will be held on Jan. 20, 2018 at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.