Golden mountain bike events concept of Mayor Bataoil

By April 19, 2021Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


I WAS surprised and touched by the FB footage posted by Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil last week when he announced the construction of a mountain bike trail in the grassy, spacious area located in Barangay Pangapisan Norte beside the Limahong channel of the scenic Lingayen Gulf.

Having been a former national cycling champ in road bike, I could not but visit the office of hizzoner Bataoil last Monday (April 12) together with my first child and my only cycling son, the two-time Olympian (1992 Barcelona and 2000 Sydney) Jazy. We had to discussed the layout and the planned structures of the 1.8-kilometer course as well as the planned opening salvo event.

The bikefest will be dubbed as “First Countryside Mountain Bike Challenge” tentatively scheduled on May 1, in conjunction with the annual celebration of Pista’y Dayat but he clarified much would still depend on the state of the pandemic in the province. Bataoil averred that if the province remains under MGCQ level of quarantine, he will have to seek the approval of the province czar, the hardworking Gov. Amado I. “Pogi’ Espino, III. Of course, health and safety protocols will be followed including social distancing among the spectators. The industrious father of the capital town, Bataoil, added that if the event pushes through sans hindrances, the bikefest will be open exclusively for Pangasinenses with two categories at stake: pro and beginners! And the Lingayen bikers will be on top of the list, being the host.  Indeed, it’s a great plan.

Me and Jazy did an ocular inspection of the course on the suggestion of the town’s municipal tourism officer Madam Michelle Z. Lioanag and assisted by DJ John Estrada of the tourism office. We were pleasantly impressed. It’s ala-world class structures and only needs little upgrading for international grade competitions. But it definitely already passed the national standard. What it may only lack is a little mountain stretch (even just artificially made) to make it a perfect trail. I believe the sports-minded and energetic mayor will do just that.

And if your guess is as good as mine, we might host the national event someday soon. What the trail needs initially are some local competitions first, then an invitational event, then national skirmishes nationwide. And I’m also confident that thru the effort and leadership of Bataoil, the venture will be a big hit and will be the second-best course (beside the Loakan Airport). Unknown to many, the Baguio course was designed by former PH national team standout Marites Bitbit of Barangay Lunec, Malasiqui, Pangasinan. Born in Baguio but raised in Malasiqui, Bitbit won two mountain bike gold medals in SEA Games in 2005 and 2007, respectively, plus silver and bronze medals. She speaks our Pangasinan lingo fluently. Bataoil can use the help of Marites in developing the golden mountain bike concept.
Please bear in mind always that this cycling-crazy province of ours is a producer of already gritty 22 national cycling champions (21 pro and one amateur) in multi-stage national racings.

Remember, if we can do it in road racing events, I don’t see any reason why we can’t do it in mountain bike competitions since both are two-wheeled sports. Bitbit is my best example.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. JEREMIAH 10: 10

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