Ride review #3: Shotgun-Timberland-Marikina Loop

There are many routes of varying distances and elevation in around Marikina which one could actually mix in different combinations (aside from the fact that my rides are quite limited in my hometown due to daddy duties). Last Tuesday, April 11, 2017, I decided to mix-and-match several small segment to form what I could call my Shotgun-Timberland-Marikina Loop as it traverses these different places. I won’t be writing much of the Shotgun segment of my ride for now, but for newbies and new readers out there, you might want to read my previous blog post about the Shotgun route here. However, for this ride, I took the chance of scaling up one of the hills along the route to take a good view of the Shotgun route:

After scaling the Shotgun route, this time, I decided to do this made-up loop by entering Timberland Heights through an opening leading to the Roxas Loop part. I rested for a few minutes at the guardhouse upon reaching the end of the Shotgun route where I met two other bikers. Emman and, since I was not able to ask his name (because he has so many stories about Shotgun and his biking life and all things), I just called him Tatay. Emman came all the way from Project 8 to do the Shotgun ride today. Tatay is already retired for two years, and as a hobby, he took up biking, as such, I believe he is a staple biker around these parts.

(No wonder there are so many oldies biking around the area with nice bikes! Most of them, like Tatay, are retirees, and have spent some amount of their retirement pay on their bikes. Ang gaganda kaya ng bike ng iba!)

Tatay’s route was also going to Timberland Heights, and according to him,  his comrades were already waiting for him there. Since we were with him, he did the common courtesy of inviting us to ride it with him. As it was really my intention to ride this made-up loop, I agreed to go with him, and so did Emman. Below is a video I took of this segment of our ride:

This route used to be uneven and full of gravel before. The trucks going to the dumpsite used to take the concrete road beyond the guardhouse, but for whatever reason, nowadays, they now ply this route. The trucks take the left turn going to the dumpsite at 1:05 of the video. For us, we just went directly ahead.

Entering here led us to a segment of the Roxas Loop. We three took this route and ended up appearing at The Glades a few minutes later. Tatay’s comrades were already waiting for him here, and for Emman, he decided to turn right and go down Timberland Heights already, going home directly. I, on the other hand, turned left and continued my intended ride for the day by entering the Basic Trail.

The Basic Trail is a 1.8-km trail which can be described as, really, basic. It is very beginner-friendly. It has a wide expanse and consists of gentle slopes going up and down. Although it has still its share of pebbles, gravels, and rocks, a majority of the width of the trail has already been quite flattened as it is also where the locals pass through using their motorcyles, and sometimes, owner-type jeeps. It has an average grade -1%.

I now reached the start of Sapinit Road upon exiting the backdoor of Timberland Heights. This is one of my favorite part of the route as it gives you the Cordillera feels.

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Pine trees at both sides of the Sapinit Road giving you the much-needed Baguio feels!

Sapinit Road is already located in Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal. The road has gradual ascends and descend, nothing your legs cannot handle. It is an 8.7-kilometer concrete ride going straight to Marcos Highway in Cabading, Antipolo, passing by the Biker’s Camp and Heaven’s Gate Memorial Gardens. For this ride, I only took the first three kilometers, stopping at the junction leading to Phillip’s Sanctuary and Pestano Farm Trail.

A trail to the right of the road is seen after coming from Timberland Heights. You will surely not miss it as there are big signages leading to it, a sign that it is frequented by bikers.

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Trail on the right of the road leading to Phillips’ Sanctuary and Pestano Farm Trail
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Concrete road to the right leading to Phillips’ Sanctuary

Phillips’ Sanctuary is an eco-adventure resort and team-building venue, however, this complex is a small fraction of the property owned by the Pestano Family, whom the trail is named from. Anyway, I took this right turn leading to the Pestano Farm trail.

This part of the route is 5.8 kilometers long, starting from the junction at Sapinit Road ending all the way to the AFP basketball court in Silangan, San Mateo, Rizal. The first part of this segment was wide trails, dusty enough to have my XC tires sink in (I was not using proper trail tires for this ride) and for my trusty Trinx XC3 to merit another cleaning up once I got home. One could just imagine that with all the dust here, it will also be that muddy when it the rainy season comes.

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Take five somewhere along the Pestano Farm Trail. Water was almost depleted at this point. Need to find a store soon!

I had a ten-minute food-and-hydration break at one of the stores at a local community before descending down to Silangan, San Mateo Rizal. Before, I used to do ascend this part, always going down from my bike and pushing it up at this part. Today, I am doing the reverse, and will finally have a feel of descending this part instead. I also met several bikers at this part, all of them ascending.

Strava calls this segment as AFP downhill, a 2.2-kilometer trail descend having an average grade of -10%. Contrary to the difficulties I encountered while ascending, descending this segment actually was quite fun, as long as you know how to handle your trails! You will also be rewarded with a nice view of smoggy Metro Manila. Just make sure you are not distracted that much that you do not pay attention to the trail anymore!

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Balagbag-ish AFP descend segment, with a nice view of smoggy Metro Manila

A descending concrete road now started again, leading all the way to AFP Housing. Finally, I was back to civilization! Here I was in AFP Housing Village, Silangan, San Mateo, Rizal. Lots of stores selling food abound the area, and I was already very tempted to have a breakfast break, but since I was about 30 minutes away from home, I decided to hold my hunger more and save my appetite for later.

I took the road leading to Montery Hills, and later on, finally reached Fortune, Marikina. A few minutes more of pedalling and I passed by one of the most elegant churches I’ve seen in Marikina, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows in SSS Village, Marikina.

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Exterior of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, SSS Village, Marikina City. I did not able to enter the church anymore as I was already very hungry by this time! 🙂

I’ve actually passed by several food establishments in the area, but maybe, I’ll save my reviews of them in another blog post. Anyway, from this point on, it was just an easy 15-minute ride and I was back home!

As always, here’s my ride elevation profile as per my Strava recording, along with my Relive video:

trail elevation profile
727 meters gained in 34.7 kilometers of ride!

https://www.strava.com/activities/937033200/embed/8da32ed66ff60330c46812fffbf75f1621f4d84e

PS The Science teacher in me identifies that soil and dust in Timberland Heights and the surrounding area is rich in iron oxide, the same stuff chemically composing common metal rust, giving it its orange-y color. I highly suggest that after every Timberland ride, wash up your bike. Those deep-seated soil and dust particles hiding in every nook and cranny of your bike might cause the premature rusting of some parts, as it contains, well, iron oxide. Regardless whether your bike or its parts are made of steel, aluminum alloy, carbon, or titanium, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry later on, right? 🙂


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