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The Globe Cordillera Bike Challenge: Building forests

Rappler.com
The challenge is a biking adventure with a cause. It encourages recreational bikers to race for the reforestation of Cordillera, a major watershed in Northern Luzon.

FOR THE TREES. Globe Cordillera Challenge 3 brings together bikers for an environmental cause.

MANILA, Philippines – Two summits to conquer. 27 kilometers to dash. The road to the Globe Cordillera Challenge 3 is now open to the first 250 bikers to enlist.

Launched in 2010 by the Cordillera Conservation Trust (CCT) and Globe Telecom, the annual upland summer adventure aims at raising awareness about rebuilding forests. 

Baguio, the starting point of the challenge, is currently at the epicenter of an environmental controversy that involves the cutting and earth-balling of 182 trees by a mall.  

On May 5, participating recreational bikers will race for threatened forests and watersheds. 

The course

Unlike the previous 2 years, this summer’s uphill adventure gives bikers the choice of trail to hurdle based on their level of capacity. Reaching up to 2,200 meters above sea level, the challenge is the highest yet. 

“From the lush greens of the mountains to the deep blues of the sea, we would like to show you our ecosystem and how it works,” CCT executive director JP Alipio said.

Riders will not only negotiate the distance but also cope with thinness of air at the elevation. Of the total distance, nearly 1 kilometer will entail vertical climbing. 

The texture of the terrain is just as challenging: smooth surfaced roads, gravel, big rocks, and loose over hard pack surfaces.

Station 1: Mt Cabuyao Summit, PAG-ASA monitoring station (11 kms from the starting line, 2,020 meters above sea level or mASL). This is the easiest station and can be done by 90% of riders of all skill levels.

Station 2: Mt Sto Tomas Summit (2,230 mASL 16 kms from the starting line). This station is intended for the riders who are of good fitness and with mid-to-high skill levels on their mountain bike. It involves steep grades, loose rocks, and tricky descents. The best views of the Lingayen Gulf and mossy and pine forests can be seen from this point.

Station 3: Downhill behind the catch basin (1,600 mASL 16 kms from the starting line). This station is intended for riders with a high level of fitness and with excellent mountain bike handling skills. It involves 2.7 kilometers of downhill ride over big rocks, loose gravel, on narrow double track road which one must climb again after reaching the station at the bottom of the ridge.

For every station completed, riders will receive a wrist band. At the finish line, the number of wristbands received corresponds to the number of stations accomplished.

BIKERS' TRAIL. Different levels for different folks.

The cause

The Globe Cordillera Challenge 3 is an adventure with a cause. Carrying the theme, “Bike your way. Choose your trail. Save the Cordilleras,” the challenge encourages recreational bikers to race for the reforestation of Cordillera, a major watershed in Northern Luzon.

The mountainous region is also home to indigenous peoples who identify themselves collectively as Igorots. Their ancestral lands, which include forests, are one of the most biodiverse zones in the country in terms of flora and fauna. 

MOUNTAIN TOP. Scenic views along the trail.

Mt Pulag, for instance, hosts 528 plant species, 33 bird species, and other endangered mammals, including 4 species of cloud rats and the Philippine deer.

Because of its rich natural resources, the region is also a magnet for extractive industries like mining, megadams and logging — major drivers of deforestation.

“Globe is committed to work with local community partners to help restore the Cordillera mountains,” said Rob Nazal, head of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility. 

“With its renewed partnership with CCT, Globe will support the establishment of 20 seedling nurseries through Roots and Shoots, a nursery in public elementary schools,” Nazal added. 

According to Alipio, the Cordillera Challenge will not only support the building of forests but also the formation of environmental stewards that include students, parents, public officials and volunteers. – Rappler.com