Revisiting The La Mesa Flow
Our merry little group recently visited La Mesa Nature Reserve. There was no reason actually, we just haven’t ridden the nice single track of La Mesa for quite a while now so we decided to set a ride there.
There are no establishments inside the Nature Reserve so one must be prepared with “baon” because you tend to become really hungry inside the trail. There is a jeep that sells drinks, crackers and bananas but that’s about it. Knowing this, before arriving at La Mesa, I passed by the local fast food joint and ordered two cheeseburgers and a large soda. I ate one then reserved the other burger for later.
One cannot simply ride the trails of La Mesa without a certified La Mesa guide. You have to pay P1000 per guide. One guide can accommodate a maximum of 5 riders. The entrance fee is for the preservation of the trails plus maintenance of the whole ecopark. The payment adds premium to the place and it keeps the trails from being too crowded. The view is awesome once you reach the observation decks.
The trail masters/ bike guides are friendly and hospitable. They have stories to tell and they are knowledgeable on facts about the ecopark. They help you out and give you tips on how to handle sections of the trail. Eg: “Iwasan niyo po ang mga putik, malalim” (Watch out for the muddy areas, they are deep.) or “Dahan-dahan po sa biglang kaliwa, maraming sumesemplang doon” (Be careful on the sudden left, there have been a lot of accidents there.)
Ask your guide and communicate with them. They lag behind when needed, and they stop at crossroads for that much needed break. They are your bikemate so be friendly to them as well. It doesn’t hurt to give them a tip after the ride. Share the love, bro!
La Mesa Mud
The mud in La Mesa is notorious to clog up your fork and wheel clearance because the dried leaves stick to the mud and you get major issues there. You have to learn how to ride the right line and not roll into the sticky mud so as not to get all the grime into your bike and jersey. (Tip: Whenever the guide stops, clean your bike. Pick up a small stick and remove the dirt from the FD, wheel clearance, RD, etc. It’s better to have a mud free bike than to roll a mudfull bike.)
There is a track, yet there is a line which the experts ride so that they don’t get TOO muddy. You have to choose your line carefully so as not to get into accidents and your bike won’t endo in really deep mud. There are fast downhill sections in La Mesa where you might enjoy too much and forget about your brakes, but I remind you now: please hit the brakes. Always be a responsible rider. Know your limits!
The Mountain Goats always enjoy La Mesa. Maybe its the flow, or the rest stop at the lake, or the shade the trees provide during the ride… there is a certain magic whenever we ride La Mesa. Of course it would be way better if there was food in La Mesa, but I guess the fact that there is no food and you have to bring baon makes it unique because you would really feel as if it was a bike picnic. Whatever that magic La Mesa brings, we have concluded one thing: a ride at La Mesa is ALWAYS a good ride.
Photo credits: JM Bueno and Mike Nera