This year, my office had its summer outing in Pico de Loro Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas. I was driving myself to the venue, so on a whim, I decided to pack my bike Hyro in the back of my car in search of riding potential.
For the hardcore climbers among us cyclists, Pico de Loro lies in close proximity to a very popular climbing destination: the Kaybiang Tunnel that sits in the middle of the steep and winding Nasugbu-Ternate Road. Unfortunately, this was not the time for me to face it on the saddle – and maybe for good reason. Nasugbu-Ternate Road is a proper driving challenge, a smoothly paved but narrow asphalt ribbon twisting through the mountains, and I relished pushing 40-60 km/h while staying out of trouble. Its formidable reputation among cyclists is deserved, though.
I wasn’t sure how much free time I would have left for riding, so I restricted myself to the immediate vicinity of Pico de Loro and Hamilo Coast.
The main loop road of the resort is 1.75 km long, with a trio of rotundas and lined with trees almost the whole way through. Tourist shuttles ply the route, with one arriving roughly every fifteen minutes to ferry guests around. The shuttle drivers are some of the nicest and most courteous around; they almost always let me through and waved me to pass as I rode around at 25 km/h.
I strapped my camera bag to Hyro’s handlebars, so mid-ride I stopped a number of times to take photos. It was my first time in the premises, and my wife had asked for visual impressions.
While I skipped riding to Kaybiang Tunnel this time, I decided to try the challenge that was the road leading from Pico de Loro Beach Club to the Hamilo Coast gate.
In terms of gradient, it is easily almost as tough as Shotgun. Unfortunately for me, most of the maximum 25-29% grade inclines awaited me the moment I turned off the entrance rotunda and crossed the security boom. Immediately, I needed to summon my lowest 34×27 and 34×30 gears trying to negotiate the ascents as I passed the chapel, cranking away in pain at a crawling 10 km/h.
After cresting the very steep second rise 500 meters in, I was wary of the overcast skies and the singular rain droplets. Discretion whispered that I should turn back before any more rain fell, as descending the severe slope and jittery road surface might make for a very sketchy proposition. Dragging my brakes, I hit 49 km/h in a flash as I returned to the resort.
I had only scratched the surface. The whole climb is 2.8 km long. Maybe next time, I will reattempt the climb with better weather.