TB XC challenge goes to Banat-i

Banat-i may be Tagbilaran’s high, and seen from afar, this safe-looking rise decorating the city landscape hides in its veins of walking trails an option for a bike trail: from the easy slopes to the totally wicked technical sections that could get a tense biker lose his grip.

Mount Banat-i bike circuits again offer the arena for this year’s pro and amateur all-local competitive mountain bike race opened for men and the very few women enthusiasts who own nerves of steel.

Bike Ta Bai, a local group of leisure turned competitive mountain bikers, who organized this year’s 2nd Mountain Bike XC Challenge has closed the registration since October 2.

Conquering the rocky trails of Mount Banat-i here in Dampas-Bool demands a bit of edge: 27.5 or the more popular 29ers as against the standard 26, professional racers revealed.

Considering equal rider’s skill in the different challenging sections of the race circuit, cross country bike that weighs less could be clincher in the endurance and a skill competition, so a lighter less than 10 to 12 kilo bike weights can be an edge.

With full suspension bike set-ups adding to the weight loads, many XC riders still go for the hardtails, but with the larger wheel formats.

A 27.5 or the 29r has a better angle of attack and could work well on the rider’s momentum, but the bigger wheel also means heavier bike and the rider would need more pedal power to build speeds.

And longer spokes would mean weaker tire build, which can be a minus factor in XC races which may have short jumps and rougher bike handling.

With the recent growth of the mountain biking community here, Bohol is now is slowly setting up local support groups and hobby parks, like the Banat-i trails, for mountain bike tourists willing to test the local bike trails and sweat out the stressful work weekdays.

Sweating it out for body fitness, stamina and endurance build up, athletes and bike enthusiasts today eyed prizes and medals after safely ripping through the trails in 5 age group categories for local riders only: 29 below, 30-39, 40-49,50 and above as well as all women open.

The trail is a tricky combination of semi-technical, single trail, mild to technical ascents, downhill and flat stretches, all with the challenge of sharp split rocks that could hurt a careless biker, a registered participant who has read the trails earlier said.

Younger bikers, like the 29 and below, who have the tenacity and stamina would have to take the 3.6 kilometer circuit in 4 loops, and was the first group let off at 2 PM.

Those at the 30-39 race category would take the same 3.6-kilometer circuit and finish 3 loops from 2:30 PM at the race starting marker.

Riders aged 40-49 also follows at 3:00 PM, to finish two loops while those in the 50 and above local biker category shall finish the circuit in a single loop with the fastest time to win.

The bike race is also open for women bike enthusiasts who shall take their bikes to the trails at 3:30 PM.

Race participants however were instructed to be up in the race starting area for bike check in and race briefing at 1:00 PM, organizers said.

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