Black Sabbath Ride 2017- Laiban
Our merry little group of mountain bikers went on a Black Sabbath ride (Black Saturday annual epic ride) to Laiban Dam. The old man guarding the entrance of the dam told us that if the project didn’t get shelved thirty years ago, the water from the dam could have supplied water for the whole of Metro Manila plus more. He even told us that the dam was supposedly be the biggest in Asia.
Rewind to a week before the Black Sabbath ride—>
The mountain goats can not decide where to ride for the epic. Ohmar suggested to do Quezon but the logistics for everybody was kinda challenging so we decided to postpone that ride for another time. We contacted the OUTSIDE SLACKER and asked for suggestions. He forwarded to us his blog on Laiban-Daraitan http://www.outsideslacker.com/biking-to-laiban-dam/. We read the article and were convinced. The call time and place was determined and the riders got excited.
April 15, 2017 (Black Sabbath)
We all met up at Shell Jollibee (aka Shellibee) Marcos highway at 6am. Everybody arrived on time and pleasantries were exchanged. We transferred some of the bikes in the other vehicles so we can save on gas going up the Sierra Madre. It was a fun and fast climb up the Sierra Madre and we ended our “daya” (cheat) at Paseo Rizal Cafe.
Paseo Rizal Cafe is a cozy restaurant with lots of art works, paintings and sculptures. The tapsilog was average but you have to try the tasty turon. It is a nice place to chill when in the Sierra Madre region. The view was exhilarating. You can bring your date and you would get extra pogi points for bring her close to heaven.
We had a fulfilling breakfast then we got our bikes and gear ready for the ride.
We rode until we found the little road leading to barangay Laiban. The little quaint town is reminiscent of the little barrios found in the Sierra Madre region. Rough roads with small houses and sari-sari stores were our scenery until the glorious backdrop of the Sierra Madre amazed us.
Fire roads going downhill reminiscent of the Casili downhill to Wawa river was our trail for the next hour. Fast downhill action greeted us and smiles were plastered on our faces.
The dilemma in going downhill on exploratory rides like this is that you want to go fast and enjoy the ride, but you also want to pause and enjoy the scenery. So when we saw a weird looking bamboo watch tower, we took a detour and checked it out.
The structure had cemented beams but the walls, stairs and floor were made of bamboo. It had an eerie Orc feel that made you feel it was constructed to be a sniper’s tower. We looked for guards or any life form but it was deserted. We took the opportunity and climbed the spooky tower. The floors squeaked as we stepped on it but the view from the third level was priceless! Photo ops time and this first stop is rated 5 out of 5 stars.
The tower seemed alive because the wind was swaying it and the uneven cement slabs had the illusion that it was bent. The fast moving clouds in the air created the visual that the tower was falling to one side. It was cray cray so we hastily left in fear of the structure crumbling right in front of us.
We continued our ride and went downhill for another thirty minutes or so. It was awesome. We had smiles plastered on our faces. We stopped from time to time to regroup. Our disc rotors and brake pads were best friends now due to the non stop braking. We reminded our newbie mates to use the anti-lock braking method (release the brakes to let the rotor cool down) and to shake their arms to ease the tense finger muscles from braking.
We reached the river bed and it was time to follow the trail by the river. The water was manageable and in the first few crossings, the water level did not reach the bike hub. We pedaled with ease, used the low gear, and guided the bike across the river. Others had to dismount and they walked their bike across.
Like all river adventures, we happen to come upon baby’s head sized rocks which you have to maneuver your bike into. Extra fat tires works well on these conditions but 2.35-2.8 tires can manage. It really is about choosing your line and bike handling when it comes to these kinds of obstacles. (That is what we signed up for, right?)
It was a scorching hot Saturday yet we still managed to arrive at the dam early enough. We had a short picnic beside a swimming hole and ate our lunch there. We brought spicy tuna, crackers, chocolate, longganisa, and different kinds of sweets. A few of the guys dipped and swam in the pool to cool off. After a few relaxing moments, we continued our way on our adventure.
Seeing the massive structure for the first time, it was a sight to behold. As the Outside Slacker put it, it seemed as though it was a base of James Bond’s nemesis. For me, it was like a secret liar of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s new evil experiment. The four big pipes was like an X-games skate park.
It was H-U-G-E.
We paid the guards posted there for “entrance fee” and we were allowed to play, take pictures and fool around. We asked directions and information from the guards while they were playing with their bolos. The setting was quite intimidating because he was swaying his bolo while talking to us. It was like a scene from a movie wherein he was showing us who’s the top dawg here and we should give respect to him.
We got out from that alive and we only have good memories; thanks to these pictures!
We crossed the giant pipe and we got quite concerned 3/4 of the way because the water became quite deep. Some of the guys grew nervous and asked if we were to go back. We struggled on and survived the trip to the other side. Once we reached the light at the end of the tunnel, a quicksand like marsh land greeted us and if this was a scene from a zombie movie, there is where you should push the zombie. The ground was like a marsh land full of algae and moss. You wouldn’t want to fall down that murk.
It was a fire road kinda trail on the way back. We passed by the village going to Daraitan, and the falls and all the wonderful sights in the area. People were in those spots to have fun and cool off. They were having their vacay in the falls, Pinoy style. They packed the tricycles and literally rode off. In some areas, the road was too steep, the passengers of the tricycle had to walk just so the tricycle can climb the 45 degree inclination. It was a slow ride going back for us, yet we still enjoyed it because it was part of THE adventure.
On our way back, we had our usual halo-halo break and buko juice break. These are the moments when we just laugh, talk about the trail and the bond between riders become stronger.
Black Sabbath Ride is always a FUN ride. Whether it is the usual trail or an undiscovered trail, the merry group of mountain bikers end up having a blast and saving the ride in their happy-memories-storage-bank. Sometimes, there are mishaps, but that’s part of the trip. “The sweet ain’t as sweet if you didn’t taste the bitter.”
Just go out and RIDE. Climbing is not enjoyable but once the rewards come crashing down on you…the sight, the wind, the rush of the downhill, I tell you: IT IS TRULY WORTH IT.
*special thanks to Spyder for the shades and helmet. You guys rock!