What if your home has a backyard and it is part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range?
Valleybikes sits on the lowlands of the famed mountain range which protects the Luzon island from the harsh elements of the Pacific Ocean. Imagine how majestically well built the archipelago of the Philippines is: since we face the vast water kingdom of the Pacific, our natural land defense are two mountain ranges: the Cordillera Range up northwest and the Sierra Madre range for the east. I guess the great Architect planned out the archipelago with natural protection from the Kraken or Kaiju.
Our favorite playground is Mt. Maarat in Tanay for developers and trail riders have been constantly shaping and landscaping the trails to be mountain bike friendly. Still part of the Sierra Madre range, Mt. Maarat boasts of trails which have been rated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). Land developers, cycling enthusiasts and local bikers all worked together to make what the Timberland trails is right now.
In the beginning, the paved roads only lead up to the Timberland gates. The subdivisions and the surrounding areas slowly morphed into concrete roads and big houses started to pop up left and right. The famed school Waldorf of Manila set up camp near the Timberland Nature club, so the traffic of learners and settlers started to trickle in.
Old school mountain bikers had to endure the grueling back roads in order to reach the mountain peaks. It was shady back then, with the trees lining up the dusty roads. Rapidly, the bulldozers and concrete trucks leveled the land and the once slow ascent became steep climbs that would make you yelp for your granny. It used to be just one wall— in the hairpin of the most dangerous curve going to Timberland, then the Wall 2 appeared until the Wall 3 followed suit.
The Blue zone now (March 26, 2018) is a good one hour of intense trail action. There are wonderful drops, low jumps, switchbacks, berms, climbs, downhills, and the best scenery one could wish for. It is one of the best mountain bike tracks I’ve ridden so far due to its whole package. There are so many trails in the world but the fact that this is our home trail makes it different. The soil, the trees, the view are all very dear. They hold a mystic force which makes the whole mountain “special”.
For the cross country biker, the green zone is the fun zone. Lots of climbs, shady and happy. The trees provide a natural canopy for the bikers, so it is cool riding the green zone.
Double Black Diamond
Fast, Freaky and Wild. That is the double black diamond. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t go for seconds. Not unless you’re a masochist or training for the race, the double black diamond is a track which is only for the hardcore.
After Trail Recovery Food
The mountains are lined up with small stores and turo-turos wherein you can eat and relax your tired legs. One can order food or have some canned items cooked. There are also buko (coconut) stops where the seller chops the top part of the buko so you can drink the buko juice inside. If you’re lucky, there’s halo-halo with shaved ice and milk.
Oldies but N00bies
It was a blessed Sunday of firsts as my very good former workmate rode the Blue Zone of Timberland for the first time in years. He was an old time biker and he used to own an urban hucksta created by yours truly. After that hucksta jump bike, he evolved and got himself a fixie. Office workmates influenced him to build a metro bike so Raven hooked him up for some funky fixed gear parts. Recently, he got back into the habit of riding MTB. He invested in a KTM mountain bike and has been pimping it from day one.
We rode the Blue Zone trail and he couldn’t believe how wonderful the trail is. My friend really enjoyed the Mt. Maarat tracks that he kept thanking me for being the trail master. I simply said that it wasn’t mine and it is here for everyone to enjoy. It is God’s gift to us. Let us thank the Great Almighty One for giving us such a wonderful backyard. The Filipinos are so blessed to have a great country.