True confession

By March 30, 2024Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


AFTER my retirement in cycling, I found myself mingling with some of my old fans and new acquaintances, relatives and diehard cycling enthusiasts of competitive cycling. Of course, in most cases, these were done with alcoholic drinks but most of the time the less-liqueur, the beer. As expected, most were curious about why and how I got involved in the sport, a very strenuous game. Still others asked me, too, why I look more mestizo than a typical Filipino. I told them that perhaps it’s in my blood, being a son of Mexican hombre. Mexicans’ fourth favorite sport is cycling after football, boxing and marathon. I told them I’m a child out-of-wedlock, that I was born during the second World War.  Were it not for the World War 2, I guess I would not have been born.  So, I honestly believe that this is my faith to be born under such circumstances, and my destiny was to win the country’s biggest cycling events three times and ending up first runners-up four times, aside from making our province, Pangasinan, and Cosmos Bottling Company proud by winning the team championship six times as skipper of the squad.

Then came more questions. How did I train during my competitive cycling days, and what kind of diet did I have during my training and actual competitions. I just smiled at them initially, reluctant to give them the details that I thought were already so personal about my passion in life. But I told them how I started, that I eagerly started to ride bicycle in 1961 when I transferred to Olongapo High School from Mangaldan High School to finish my fourth year study. After my graduation, my late mother, Adelaida Morales Aquino bought me a racer bike on November 2, 1962, a surprise that made me so happy.  She was actually reluctant to give me that bike because she feared I could meet an accident on the road since I was only a 15 year-old boy.

I told them that I trained rigorously four times a week, including a week ride to Baguio City via the Kennon Road (seldom took the Naguilian Road and there was still no Marcos Highway that time), and onward to Bolinao or Alaminos, Pangasinan and back. Or, to Bayombong or Solano, Nueva Vizcaya and back to Pangasinan the following day. I biked to Manila if there was race in Metro Manila and back to Pangasinan three days after. Or, to Olongapo, Zambales and back to Pangasinan two days after. These were the regular places that my Pangasinan teammates (Cesar Catambay and Eduardo Parino of Mangaldan, Tranquilino de Vera of Tayug, Wencelmo Baguio of Urdaneta City, Teofilo Aquino of Binmaley, to name some) and I biked to as a group. Indeed, our training was very rigorous and taxing and we deliberately made it to be so knowing that racing in a multi-stage race like the fabled annual Tour of Luzon and the Marlboro Tour would be really very tough and that road accidents could not be avoided. I had my share of a serious road accident during the 1968 Antipolo Cycling Grand Prix. I had a bad spill and sustained a bad cut on my forehead. I was taken to a clinic and I had to quit the race. That’s part of the game.

My endless gratitude to our Lord and Almighty God Jesus, for giving me life to this day and for enabling me to accomplish my dream in this sport.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” JOHN 3: 36.

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