I wouldn’t even do the Alay Lakad if it weren’t for you. Remember when we actually planned to do it with JM and he decided to back out last minute? We actually devised another plan just for it to push through. We decided to do it by bike to solve our problem of going home. I’ve already shared to you how it’s hard for me to see in the dark even with light on yet you still managed to borrow my bike light. Remember when the two of us decided to go and leave the others behind and how it was so dark even with our lights with us because there were no street lights? I almost knocked other people down because of how blind I was that night. Remember when we waited for one another as we climbed those steep slopes because it was really a struggle? Remember when the group decided to eat at the Lugawan and you made fun of me when I told you I was on a diet after I didn’t finish my meal? Looking back, that’s our rapport as friends. We irritate one another as much as we could. That’s our friendship.
Our long ride that last Thursday of July tested me and whether my trainings for the past weeks worked. Our route was Bitukang Manok or the Old Zigzag Road in Quezon National Forest Park. Sa Pagbilao pa lang ay pagod na ako. Akala ko ay hindi ko kakayanin ang ilang ahon. Nakailang pahinga tayo kasi sobrang nakapapagod talaga. Iba pa rin talaga kung sanay ka sa long ride. After that agonizing climb at the base of Bitukang Manok, pedaling was very stiff, we made it to the top. We were already tired so both of us got left behind by our two companions. We rested for a bit because the actual zigzag road is next for climbing but you told me that it’s much better than climbing the base. Mas madali, yan ang sinabi mo. There were two curves to climb before the beautiful view of the park but this time, it’s less stiff when you pedal so it’s not much of a struggle. Nauna kang pumadyak papunta sa unang liko at ako naman, itinulak ko na lang kasi natakot ako kasi puro bangin ang gilid ng kalsada. While we were at the first curve, you encouraged me to try because the climb is not that hard as before so going to the second curve, I did. There, we rested again, and you decided that you don’t want to proceed anymore even though we were being called by our biker friends to go to them. I was having a hard time in deciding whether I would go or stay with you. But ultimately, I did go because it was my first time going there and I want to have a good picture of the place as a remembrance of that ride. With much persuasion, sumunod ka naman sa amin sa taas.
It’s been a year since that very first day I saw you. It’s been a year since I had my first bike ride in the Tayabas – Calumpang – Lucena route. It’s been a year since that exhausting yet satisfying bike ride when I climbed the steep slopes of Tayabas I thought I never could. I hate steep slopes especially the uphill ones. Ayoko sa mga ahon. Takot akong umakyat. Nakapapagod kasi at hindi din ako sanay pa noon. But that late afternoon ride gave me one of the best bike rides of my life. I learned how to shift gears. I learned where the best Pansit Habhab is located in Tayabas. I learned to control my speed on a downhill slope. I learned how to appreciate uphill climbs to get to the top where the best view is. I learned a lot that afternoon but the most important thing to remember is that I met you.