The Black Sabbath Ride is an annual adventure to Wawa River every Black Saturday of the Roman Catholic’s Holy Week.
Now, why is the Black Sabbath ride so special? What make it different from other epic rides? It is a complete ride.
Uphill climb on Granny, check.
We take on different routes going up Boso-Boso every year. We used to ascend the road going to Cogeo because that is an open route. We even did Shotgun once, just so we wouldn’t leave an I.D. at the Timberland gate. But since the jaguars (read: Security Guard) in Timberland would let bikers pass now without surrendering an I.D., we can go up the Wall, pass through Timberland, Basic trail en route to Giant and finally Boso-Boso. Grueling uphill mash (or spin for others) start the ride with a great opening number.
The group finally converged at the Giant store and had a hearty brunch.
Long, fast downhill, check.
The biker gang entered Pintong Bukawe, passed the former dumpsite, then the village and finally Casili. The Casili downhill is a long, treacherous downhill made of loose gravel and dust. The view is great, the descent is speedy. One should choose the proper line because if you enjoy it too much and go too fast, you might end up buying land in Casili. The loose gravel makes braking a tad bit difficult because your bike would fishtail and bring you to a different direction. The ABS (anti-lock braking system) style of braking is very useful in Casili, for it would greatly decrease your chances of eating dirt. The sharp turns on loose gravel are the most challenging sections of the DH. Be careful, it is a choice of hitting a rock wall or falling down a cliff.
But I am just scaring you. It is downhill, it is fast and it is awesome!
Picnic by the river, check.
I could not say this is the highlight of the ride, but this is the most soothing segment of the trip. We shed our clothes and dipped into the river. The water was calm, the fishes swam with us and we relaxed! The sun was beating down on us, but the wind cooperated and we parked our tired bodies on an awesome spot. This is the kind of vacation that you’d pay five digits for, but this is priceless.
River Crossings, check.
The single track going home consisted of melon sized rocks, plenty of picturesque hills and a couple of river crossings. The group eased our way towards Wawa Dam so we had to follow the path which crossed the two-foot deep water channel. The trick in crossing a stream is first: choose your line. Imagine yourself crossing the body of water and conquering it. Second: Use a low gear. Make sure the bike is easy to pedal because the current of the river would make it very difficult. You would have to fight the current, navigate through the big rocks and stay balanced. It’s quite enjoyable, once you get the hang of it. And it looks good on video!
Technical Riding, check.
After dipping your bicycle in water, it’s time to tackle the technical and tricky baranggay single track. The path is not easy, for it requires bike handling skills wherein you have to lift, mash, turn, balance, dodge, drop and enjoy! The terrain is uneven, with protruding boulders and roots. The track sometimes narrows to a really small path with a steep drop to the right. Get your balance together in avoiding all the kids who want to high five with you. The 3-foot drops are lots of fun, just have confidence that your bike can gobble up that small obstacle, and you’re good.
I always look forward to this technical part of the Black Sabbath ride. Just when you thought the ride was over, the bike gods bless you with more joy.
The Long Road home, yes we have that too. Check.
After going through Wawa Dam cum Megamall/Divisoria, it was time to hit the road. It’s concrete mashing time, versus the tricycles and jeeps. I suggested that we should all stick together, because there is safety in numbers, plus it’s better to pedal all together. The lead bikers set the pace, middle ring, no rush. Everybody got to talk to each other and joke while pedaling. But someone kidded and blurted, “The pace is too slow!” And then it happened, the inner kid burst out. The boys pedaled as if their lives depended on it. It was road race time! Bikers were mashing, standing on it, and zooming past tricycles and cutting jeepneys. Road rage time, and the drivers got angry with all these bikers swarming around, playfully zigzagging on the straight asphalt. All fun, all good.
In conclusion, the Black Sabbath Ride was truly excellent. The place seems so near, yet we don’t do it that often. Why only once a year? Because too much of a good thing would lose its magic. Excuse my pun, it’s the trip, plus the destination. Every year, new riders, new friends. Now, I am looking forward to the Black Sabbath Ride next year.
Photo credits to Ron, Macky and Marv.