On the last day of May 2015, we paid another visit to that mecca of cyclists, Timberland Sports and Nature Park, located in San Mateo, Rizal province. It’s home to various mountain bike trails and two famously formidable road climbs, affectionately nicknamed “The Wall” and “Shotgun.”
According to Strava, Shotgun is a Category 3 climb with an average incline of 7%. Ignore that average as that doesn’t really tell you anything. Per the elevation profile, there are a lot of places along its five-kilometer stretch that push double-digit inclines, working to 35% up to a knee-busting 45% maximum.
Having had no warm-up at all, it took me a total of two hours and ten stops to crest this climb. There is a bit of “recovery” in the form of a downhill stretch, where you can tuck in and coast to 45 km/h, but any momentum built up there is quickly killed as Shotgun’s final incline looms in the distance.
On a ‘cross bike like Hyro, with 36x30T gearing, it’s pretty much impossible to climb Shotgun without zigzagging across the concrete. With lower gearing, mountain bike riders have it a little easier. Shotgun is made all the more imposing by the lack of protection from the elements, the lack of company, and the dump trucks that crawl up the road every ten minutes or so.
Finally, as you crest this punishing climb, all that awaits you as your prize…is a shabby guard outpost.
No wonder everybody else is climbing The Wall. It’s slightly less punishing (but still averages 7%); with more trees; more runners and cyclists; and various places to get food from at the end of its toughest first segment.