The La Mesa Watershed is single track country with lots of shade and plenty of fun. The place is an ecopark/watershed/reserve that is in the heart of Quezon City. One wouldn’t expect to have a nature park in the middle of the city where the air is fresh and the scenery is lush. (Think Central Park, New York in a third world setting)
The entrance of the bike trail is somewhere in Novaliches. Take Commonwealth Avenue (60kph max speed), right at Mindanao Avenue, then follow the road towards Quirino Highway. On your right, you would see the wall of the La Mesa Ecopark and watch out for the small gate entrance of the watershed. There is a parking and briefing area up front so that the people there can orient the bikers on the rules and regulations of the park. Payment of 200Php per head goes to the preservation of the park plus talent fee for the excellent bike guide. After a short talk about the park and its map, we rode out for some single track mayhem.
The first hour of riding is pure ecstasy. Single track, shaded, rolling. Fast up and down roll, with very nice turns and technical obstacles. You cannot help but grin and feel the thrill of the ride, just don’t smile too wide for you might swallow some insects casually flying about. Great opening salvo, makes you wanna stop and savor the moment.
The La Mesa Watershed is a level three ride. The terrain rolls fast enough that you need not pedal up on some ascents if you saved enough velocity from the downhill drops. You just need confidence and quick reaction for some of the technical turns. You have to look ahead and think fast; commanding your bike where to go and turning your handle bar at the right moment. There are a number of gut wrenching sloping drops which would cross a wooden planked area then directly go uphill (these parts are fun, it is like going on a loop on a roller coaster ride).
There are no local establishments or sari-sari stores inside the park. So you must pack well. Bring munchies and water to last you until half of the day. On weekends, the local park rangers bring a cooler to some of the pit stops and they sell power drinks and saba for the tired and weary bikers.
One thing about the park, quit while you are happy. Leave the place with a contented grin rather than pedal yourself tired. If you are not a cross-country superstar, just be happy to reach a certain point and tell your guide, you’re done for the day. Our bike guide Julie (boy), took our jokes seriously and thought we were MTB experts. His pace was fast, as if we were playing tag-you’re-it. He doesn’t want you tailing his rear wheel, he would pedal down descents and leave you grunting uphill.
It would be cool if at the end of the long cross-country ride, there would be a spot for a nice dip. Maybe the park rangers can make a man made spring or pool wherein bikers can relax and have a great time. Reward system after a grueling ride, it would be neat if one could take it easy, but accessible only if you went biking or trail running. Attention: La Mesa Reserve!!!