How to be a cycling champ
(First of two series)

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


I WAS bombarded with queries when I bumped into some of our young local professional and amateur cyclists weeks ago in San Fabian town. Of course, as expected, I was not surprised at all that after exchanging niceties, topic quickly shifted to politics then the conversation finally tuned to sports, obviously about cycling. And about my past competitions.

I was asked by this group (around fifteen of them) how I managed to win series of national single day races and multi-stage competitions (Tour). I was baffled and tongue-tied. I didn’t expect the young bunch to be interested in me. I could only heave a sigh because I also had promised myself, I would not share my winning secrets to non-Pangasinenses, particularly about my intensive and scientific training – the one that I believe makes one to be a good or great cyclist of the land especially in multi-stage racings.

So, I gave them a snapshot of trials and my triumphs, having been the fifth of the 21 Pangasinan winners in different national Tours in the country. First there was Rufino Gabot of Manaoag in 1957, then Mamerto Eden of Mapandan in 1958, Edmundo de Guzman of Lingayen in 1962 and Gonzalo Recodos of Manaoag in 1963. I admitted that I was taught and trained by some of our local riders before how to become a good cyclist, among them demised Bienvenido Bongato and Eden of Mapandan, Felipe Alvarez of Basista, Conversion Tolentino of Urdaneta, Victor Decano of Binmaley, Virgilo Delin of Manaoag, and the living Edmundo de Guzman of Lingayen, to name some. I took all their advice seriously as I trained, and applied them during my races inside or outside Pangasinan province with or without them. Of course, I added my own methods based on my own racing experiences that paid off.

I owe these fellows a lot of gratitude because without them who painstakingly taught me, my biking to the top would not have been as fast as I did. But of course, first and foremost, I thank our Almighty God for giving me luck and saved me from serious mishaps during my 32 years of cycling days. (I only had one in1968 during the Antipolo Cycling Grand Prix.  It was a race that I knew I could I have earned a place among podium finishers. I was in the lead pack of eight after the first climb in Antipolo via some towns of Laguna. Unfortunately, fate was unkind to me that time. That’s a long story.

Anyway, I’m conceptualizing a plan today to ask the hard-working and sports-minded Gov. Amado I. Espino, III, to allow me to conduct a cycling seminar (racer and mountain bike) for our cyclists this summer for the young ones, veterans, potentials, amateurs, novices. Hopefully, the good father of our province will support this idea. I aim to help our local riders win and bring home more laurels for the province, to add to what our 21 riders had already accomplished. Like the governor, this writer, and most Pangasinenses, cycling is our sport that gives our riders a chance to gain national prominence.

See you in our next issue for the details on how to become a cycling champ, based on my experience.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: ‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord. LEVITICUS 19: 28

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