Running DBB Rockstar event is never an easy task at whatever distance. The trails were both technical and slippery and the ascents were really steep and endless. The scorching summer sun also came to play at the latter part of the race. At the end of the day, that’s what Rockstars are made of. Rock stars takes all the adversity and just shine.
DBB Mountain Rockstar
There’s the story that happens between the starting line and finish line. It’s the starts that give us a pat in the back that says, “good job for being here”. It’s the end that gives you satisfaction and validation but it’s the journey that happens in between that brings you lasting moments and memories you’d store in your gritty database. It’s what keeps me coming back for more. There are days I breeze to a race and there are days that I struggle. DBB Mountain Rockstar was a race that I struggled and I loved every moment of that struggle. It’s a different story every time. 12 kilometer run with Mount Batolusong’s elevation and technical trails providing the challenge.
Race Route and Elevation
The race route was simple with a slightly rolling terrain on the first kilometer before it shifts to an all out assault to the summit and then the race descends back to the finish line.
When I arrived at the venue it was raining hard at around the start of the 25 Kilometer gun start. While rains are tolerable on trail races, they do change the dynamic of the trails by making it slippery. By the time, it was our gun start, the rain has already stopped. We had our gun start at exactly 6 am and for one, I didn’t have a game plan. The drill was climb half the race with more 600 meters elevation gain and then descend the second half. The 12 kilometer had a different route since we’ll be taking an out and back on the traditional trails while the longer distance had a longer ascent though on wider trails.
The first kilometer were on rough roads with a rolling terrain. I took this chance to start fast as it would probably the only time I would be running given the long ascent. Midway the first kilometer, the trails shifted to single track dirt roads and some with paved stairways. The ascent was steep so it was a struggle as we had to go on slippery and wet dirt grounds. I brought out my pole and then went at a slow pace. Funny how I followed the pace of people in front me only to find out that they were trekkers and not part of the race. I felt real slow on the climb. Since the miles were trickling so slow, I shifted my watch to just focus on the altitude. I had to cover around 600 meters of elevation.
It was an almost direct assault with no rolling stretches to recover so I’d take a few hundred meters and rest for a few seconds and go again. The first part of the climb reminds me of the tough technical surface of Mount Makiling and it’s mostly forested trails. Aside from the poles, I would try to hang on the rocks and twigs for leverage on the climb. Difficult as it is, I have grown to appreciate technical trails because it keeps your mind thinking on what’s your next step. It keeps you occupied from all the huff and puff moments of the climb. There were also a lot of views to keep you visually enticed on the climb. There was the early morning sea of clouds and then there were the mountain ranges surrounding Mount Batalusong.
As we went out of the forested trail, we had a better view of the mountains though at this time, were partly covered by the clouds. I hit the aid station later, where there was a short rolling stretch and ridge where you can actually run before resuming the arduous journey to the summit. After recovering a bit on the ridge part, it was time to climb again. It was another set of assaults to the summit. The trails were still technical and we were enveloped by clouds so it’s mostly white background at this point. It was one effort after another until I hit a spot where a lot of people are taking pictures. I hope that’s the summit. Well, its not. It’s a bit foggy but you can see the mountains and the trails from this vantage point.
We were still about a kilometer away from the summit so I went ahead on another set of climbs. It was a slightly forested trails with some bamboo shafts. I just did the drill of just climbing until I hit the stretch approaching the summit. We saw someone climbing on the rock and thought if we had to do it too. The marshal told us to take the route on the right. It was a really slippery trail and it felt dangerous. I almost slip on one rock but it was a good thing I was able to get my balance or it could have been a long ravine to fall from. It makes me think that I should have just taken the rock climbing options. It became tougher since it was also the descending trail from the summit so there were part where we have to squeeze ourselves on the single track trails. Back to the basics on trails like this is to keep your center balance to the wall and hang on to rocks, twigs or anything you can hang on to. It was a difficult stretch on one hand you had to deal with the climb and at the same time you had to manage your balance. All is worth it as I finally have my ID picture with white background at the summit.
After hitting the summit, I told the marshal that this was the hardest ID picture with white background photo ever. It was satisfying though after the seemingly endless climb, the numerous slips and the struggle. It was time to descend the trails. The descent was even more difficult than the climb as it was really slippery. I used my pole to add more balance and was bouncing around from one tree trunk, stone, bamboo shafts just to ensure I won’t slip on my way down. It was a slow descent especially on the slippery parts. I saw some 12K and 25K runners on their way up and I can feel the difficulty in them too. I was able to exit the technical part of the trail and was on drier grounds.
I took the chance to run on drier trails and hello Mr. Sun. The sun was scorching hot already at this time so it was draining every time I run. I just went on to run, walk, recover until I hit the aid station, which meant I was just 3 kilometers to the end of the race. I was also back to the technical parts of the trails. I tried to skip on the steps just to speed up a bit until I hit the forested trails. Since the trails were covered, it also meant that the trails were still wet from this morning’s rain. I went slow at this part and even slipped several times on this stretch. I had to stop and gather my composure and recover my confidence on the descent. I went slow until I was comfortable again. When I hit the bottom of the descent, there was a store. I had a soft drinks break, which was my treat for enduring that scary descent.
It was now routine at this point. I brisked walk on this stretched and went on to run the final stretches to finish within 3 hours. I was slow for this one but I did enjoy the experience. If it’s easy that it won’t be meant for rock stars like you and me. I’m also glad to see friends before, after and during the race. What happens between the starting line and the finish line is always an epic adventure for the books.