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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Pedalling into a new normal for this audacious ultra distance cycling : Part 1

DAVAO CITY – When organizer Carmela Pearson first entertained the thought of pioneering a Philippine version of Audax Club Parisien, she admits it was motivated for selfish reasons.

Carmela Pearson (in red cap) a veteran of ultra cycling, is shown in this screen grab from the Facebook live of COFFEE RIDE with DJ Mars Miranda and co-host Paco Ochoa discussing future plans for Audax Philippines.

“Actually, medyo selfish yung reason namin. We just want to qualify for  (Paris-Brest-Paris) ourselves. For Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) we really didn’t think that it will be embraced by a lot of people because back then, when we talk about cycling – 200km, 300km, this was like (year) 2008, 2009 – sinasabihan kami na baliw ka ba? Bakit mo gagawin yun?”

Pearson made this revelation during a Facebook live hosted by DJ Mars Miranda of Coffee Ride on October 13, 2021. You may hear more of Carmela Pearson at Coffee Ride Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/coffeeridewithdjmars/videos/238903754886771/

“Back then we know it will not be accepted by the community. We did it just because we wanted to qualify for PBP. That’s 6,500 slots globally to do PBP and even before it is opened to the public, puno na (the registration).”

“Definitely it will be very tough for people to get in. Iba talaga ang atmosphere doon. There is so much history. This is a ride that started in 1951.”

Pearson is based in Singapore as an expat working for a multinational corporation. She had been joining Audax-Singapore rides since the early 2000.

PARIS-BREST-PARIS 2023

Pearson said the next Paris-Brest-Paris is on August 2023. This is a 1,200 kilometer cycling event held every four years.  The pre-registration season to qualify for the PBP 2023 starts in the fiscal year of November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023. To qualify within the pre-registration period, you need to be a Super Randonneur (SR) by successfully completing a 200km, 300km, 400km, and a 600km ride. Once a rider has completed all these mileage, he then qualifies for a Paris-Brest-Paris slot next year.

200 CENTENNIAL RIDE

To commemorate the 200 years of the 200 kilometer ride, Audax Club Parisien-Philippines recently launched this year the 200 Centennial Ride. Pearson said they will soon launch the Centenary 300 in June 2022 to mark its 300th year since June 11, 1922.

A medal and an embroidered patch of the Centenary 200km ride celebrating 200 years of 200 kilometers event of ultracycling started by the Audax Club Parisien since the year 1921. The Centernary 200km patch is courtesy of Joseph Butlig who recently completed his first 200km in October 3, 2021.

When the pandemic first struck in 2020, Pearson recalls that she together with Audax organizers from other countries were just trying to manage their expectations. But to her surprise for Audax Philippines about 1,300 riders registered for the Centennial 200 ride contrary to her earlier expectations of only about 100 riders.

The bulk of these participants were from Davao City and General Santos City. “Surprisingly, the rules (health protocols) in Mindanao are more lax. The route in Davao are more open to cyclists.” She was even envious of Mindanao riders’ exciting Audax stories posted over social media. She was also elated getting riders from Cagayan Valley, Tuguegarao of whom most were women and the youngest rider only 13 years old. (GIOVANNI A. FLAVIANO)

*To be continued tomorrow on Future Audax Plans. To know more about Audax Philippines visit their website https://audax.ph/

 

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