Last June 12, 2012, One of my dearest friend passed away. He was my office mate, mentor, bike buddy, etc. I could also say that I considered him as an older brother, even though we have known each other for only just a year, simply because I had none. He was never selfish in sharing his knowledge. He helps people get around things. To the other people who whose lives he had touched consider him as a master. In his 32 years of existence he has lived his life to the fullest doing his passion in biking until the very end. When I heard the news about his passing I really couldn’t believe it. It was so sudden. We still had many rides in mind. I was fortunate enough to have been part of his last days of riding here on earth. It was our practice ride for a future longer ride.
Learning about his passing, I called out to cancel our long ride to Tagum. We couldn’t continue without our trail master. The guys then approved that we were going to cancel the ride and visit him instead. The next morning I got a call from Presy, Mike’s partner. She said, in a soft voice, that we should continue our ride because Mike would have wanted us to continue even without him. Indeed we planned again to continue our ride but this time it was going to be our list ride with Mike. His father agreed that his final resting place would be in Tagum where Presy lives.
The last ride. The night before the ride I really was not able to sleep. I was busy preparing stuff. Well I guess I over prepared on the stuff that I needed to bring in case it would rain. On the way to our meeting place my front tire got blown out. I said to myself. Why? I need to join this ride. I want to be in this ride. So what I did is I called my father for help. I got to a vulcanizing shop but no luck. The inner tube was badly damaged. So I still went to the meeting place hoping that someone would have a spare inner tube. Luckily Presy said that she had an extra. And guess what? It was Mike’s extra inner tube. I thanked Mike on that moment. Even at the very end he was still able to help. Not to mention the tires that used on this ride was Mike’s tires.
We rode out 4:30am in the morning. There were a total of 23 bikers who joined the ride. We also had a convoy behind us in case some riders get tired or could make it anymore. It was a long ride and most of the riders were newbies. I have been to many rides before with Mike. He would always tell me to wear a jersey or a dry fit shirt because I always wore shirts during rides and wearing those are not comfortable. Especially on a warm climate. It also makes you heavy as it greatly absorbs sweat. So it was actually my first time to wear a biking jersey during a ride.
We reached our first stop at Panabo by past 6am I think. We had our breakfast there. It was good but I didn’t eat much. Eating much would make you feel heavy. What I ate most was banana. We took the time to refill our water bottles for the rest of the ride. We also had the change to take a group picture just outside the restaurant “Kambingan”.
The sun was already up high when we continued the ride. I was part of the head of the pack when we were nearing Tagum. This was the time when the roadies started to pick up the pace. Perfect time to use them as wind breakers. Yeah! When I saw the sign that says “Welcome to Tagum” I was relieved. At last we have arrived at our destination. What happened next? Photo opp again at the bridge. I forgot that we were still at the outskirts and we still needed to ride a few more kilometers to the main.
Group photo outside the Kambingan
Leading the pack
At the bridge on the outskirts of Tagum
When reached our destination we rested while waiting for the convoy to arrive. The plan was to escort the vehicles towards the cemetery. When we reached the cemetery the interment started. There the relatives shared Mike’s legacy. They were happy to have realized that Mike had inspired many of us. We are his legacy now and we continue to ride as what He would have wanted. As of today his best friend uses his mountain bike “Vader” on our rides. He has inherited Mike’s lead.He is now our trail master. His bike still helps new bikers to survive long rides just as what he does when he sees a rider having a difficult time with a bike. I’ve learned a lot of things from him and one of them is to live life to the fullest. It isn’t that long but it will be worth it when you do your passion with no regrets.