Gathering veteran and amateur bikers alike, PRURide PH provides avenues for bikers to put their grit, determination, and athleticism to the test. First held by Pru Life UK in 2016, the racing event engages the growing local cycling community and advocates a healthy lifestyle through the sport.
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This year, PRURide PH elevates the fun and competition with a wider variety of activities and renewed accreditation from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)—the global governing body for cycling events. Raising the stakes with Category 2.2 accreditation, the annual tournament now allows UCI-licensed bikers to reap points for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
With local and international professional teams vying for a coveted podium finish, only those who can persevere amid adversity will emerge victorious. This year’s champions know that all too well, tackling challenges head-on without any reservations.
Big and small wins
“Masaya [ako] dahil ito ang unang pagkakataon kong mag-champion,” exclaims Marcelo Felipe, PRURide PH 2019’s overall first place finisher. “Matagal na rin akong [nag-aantay] mag-champion, pero hindi noon dumarating ang pagkakataon. Kaya ngayon, masaya ako.”
Marcelo has all the right to be joyful. With eleven years of cycling experience under his belt, the athlete from Team 7/11 Cliqq Air21 has had his fair share of losses, all of which fueled him even more to practice well. He recounts, “Nung una po kasi, hinikayat lang po ako nung mga mahilig mag-bike sa amin. Nagsimula po akong sumali sa amateur [contests] at natalo po ako’t nabigo. Pinag-ensayuhan ko pa para makamit yung panalo.”
More than securing sweet victory, Marcelo is inching steadily toward greater goals. As the leading scorer in the Philippines for eligibility in the Olympics, the veteran cyclist wasted no time preparing intensely for PRURide PH. “Pinaghandaan ko to nang halos two months din, kasi nagcompete pa ako sa Thailand at Malaysia. After that, PRURide na po. Kinailangan ko [rin] mag-ipon ng points dahil ako po ang leading sa Pilipinas para sa Olympics.”
Marcelo also has other wins to be proud of. According to him, cycling has helped him change his life positively. “Malaking bagay sa akin ang cycling. [Nabago niya] ang buhay ko. Napalayo ako sa barkada, ganun,” he says. “[Sa pagsunod] sa coach, displina sa sarili, at paglayo sa barkada, [mararating] ang gustong goal [sa cycling].”
Overcoming the odds
Brendon Davids’ preparations for PRURide PH 2019 are quite noteworthy. “It’s been winter in Australia,” he says. “To prepare for the Philippine heat, we cycled indoors. We replicated the conditions so that it won’t be much of a shock for us upon arriving here. That sort of helped me, especially today.”
The veteran cyclist emphasizes that managing the heat is an important aspect of cycling. “If you get too hot, you can’t recover well. You have to make sure that you stay cool so that you can perform,” he reiterates.
Adversity propels Brendon to perform even better. Previously, he tried out for the Olympics, but he didn’t make the final cut. Rather than taking a downward turn, Brendon’s cycling career naturally progressed from that point. “It was just about being aggressive,” he admits, talking about his mindset coming into PRURide PH 2019. “Just never giving up, knowing that any sort of time can get big really quickly.”
Brendon dedicates his victory to his grandfather, a successful cyclist during his heyday. “Even my cousins and uncles sort of followed his lead,” he recounts. “My grandfather passed away several years ago on this date, so it was special for me to snag the win and dedicate it to him.”
“It’s special to be able to do what you love and get to see the world at the same time,” says Brendon, talking about the things that make cycling special. Moreover, the podium finisher believes that the sport can help unite people of various backgrounds. “I think racing is a great way to bring together a diverse group of people from all over the globe. It’s really good to witness and be a part of.”