The view at Tanay is so overwhelming with a panoramic view of the scenic Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The Maysawa trail is equally scenic with shaded forest trails, rough roads, stone paths, bamboo stems, rivers and and of course the mountain range. Trails always bring out the kid in me as I enjoy the fast and quick descent, the excitement of river crossings and the appreciation of nature at its raw beauty. It test your balance and traction with different surfaces. It test your lung power with the fast and long descent and the unlimited ascents. #TaleOfTheTrail
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Summer is the season for trails for me and when I got invited by the Jazzrunner Rene Villarta (BTW, his trail chronicles are just awesome) to join a recon run of Maysawa Trail at Tanay, Rizal, I didn’t think twice. Actually, I’ve been raring to hit the trails lately as I really want to add more #TaleOfTheTrail adventures here as well as I am always at home when I am doing trails. Trails are just an appreciation of the beauty of nature and life in slow motion. It’s even twice as fun as we’ll be joined by Rundezvous Inc, who the organizer of one of the most scenic races in the country, Sierra 51050 and Team Soleus, one of the biggest and closely knit running team in the community. If I really had a lot of free time, I’d hit the trails more often but I’m glad I had time this weekend to enjoy once again the beauty of Tanay, RIzal. This time by exploring the Maysawa Trails.
Map and Elevation
The route starts at 10 cents to Heaven and goes to Marcos Highway which gave a descending road terrain with a few climbs for the first two kilometers. The route then enters Maysawa Trail where you get to descend about 300 meters until the 6th kilometer. The trail shifts to a climb worth 100 meters of elevation in the next kilometer. The next 3 kilometers descends going to the river area with 300 meters worth of elevation. The trail goes flat for the next kilometer from the river area to Sta Ines Road. The first 4 kilometers in Sta Ines is on a moderate incline before a killer climb covering 200 meters of elevation for the last 2 and a half kilometer heading to Marcos Highway.
Trekking Maysawa Trail
It was an early meeting time as I met Abet Ocampo and Alfred Vedarozaga (Running Atom) of Rundezvous, Inc in QC since I’ll be riding with them going to 10 cents to Heaven at Tanay, Rizal. We then met up with Team Soleus at 10 Cents and started plotting our course. As we wanted to cover more ground, we started immediately proceeding to the stair exit of 10 cents going to Marcos Highway. We started on the paved and clean roads of Marcos Highway for a road run for the next 2 kilometers. Abet started pacing the road part and she was really consistent on her pace and didn’t mind whether it’s uphill or downhill. I was playing around the 2nd to 4th runner in the group with runs on the descents and walk on the ascent. Abet ended up overshooting the Maysawa trail entrance and lucky me to be just in time getting the info on the entrance before I went past it. Alfred eventually tried to chase down Abet to bring her back to the Maysawa Trail Entrance.
After Abet came back, we went on with the start of the Maysawa trail which was on dirt roads. It started with a slightly inclined dirt roads within the community. I positioned myself with the second group as I didn’t want to be part of the lead pack for fear of missing a turn. I also wanted to be part of the first part as I can maximise the waiting part along some of the areas to regroup to rest. The tail-end usually gets the less rest as rest break usually ends when the last group arrives.
The next part was a downhill stoney path and I just let the fun of the descent take over. It’s a bit tougher than paved roads but since the path was stoney and had an uneven surface. I tried to widen and lengthen my strides while still being aware of the surface to ensure I wouldn’t lose balance. Since gravity was on my side, it felt smoother running this stretch as long as I kept myself aware of my stride and ensuring that I was stepping on firmer grounds and I am not tripping on the stones.
The lead pack was going fast and started to pull away. I was next in line so since the lead group was far already, I would usually wait for the next group to ensure I am within a group. We barely noticed the time and the mileage here and just like that we’ve already managed to do 6 kilometers before we regrouped since there was a fork in the trail. There was a trail going up and the lead group went straight to the trail going down so Coach Roel chased them down to bring them back to the core group. The thing that happens to the lead group. Eventually, we decided to just take the same route so we met them around kilometer seven on the inclines.
As we hit kilometer 6, the trail shifted to a climb in a forested trail which was partly shaded by tall grasses. The climb lasted for a full kilometer. I shifted to walking with longer strides and started to watch my heart rate and breathing as I wanted to manage my heart rate on the climb. Climbs can really take your breath away and really raise your heart rate at an accelerated pace. This makes me tire out faster on the climb so I made sure that I keep moving and ensure that I breathe properly. After the climb, we had a magnificent view of Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
After regrouping at the area, we started making our way downward guided by a local to show us the right way in the trail. This was one of the scenic parts of the trail with the view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range along the course in an open environment with the greener backdrop of the trails.
After a while, the trail shifted with a backdrop of bamboo plantation. This part was shaded by tall bamboos all around. The trail also was more technical with the descent and surface and in some areas you had to take big steps or to hold on some of the plants for balance.
We felt lost for a time but we ended up entering a gate made of bamboo and followed the trail. The key was we had to descent downwards to the river and it looks like we did find the right way. It was also amazing to see an all natural source of water on the path.
After the forested area and around 8 kilometers into the route, the trail shifted to soft dirt roads. The lead group started to run and I started running too since the surface was really soft which really reduces the impact on the knees. We were on the descent and felt like we were going to the right direction. We also saw a flock of goats in the area.
We then descended further and saw a Star Apple Tree and decided to wait for the rest of the Group there. We also had the chance to eat really fresh star apple off the tree. It was also a good part to rest since the Tree was our shade, the river was nearby and we had food to eat.
The star apple was really tasty and it’s been years since I had the fruity sweet taste of one. This is one unique treat for all of us. Our star apple was courtesy of Alfred’s solid core and climbing skills.
After the last group arrived at the meeting point, we then preceded a few more hundred meters to the rivers and that’s about 10 kilometers into the route. Finally!!!
We took a lot of time playing in the river. It’s always fun to be in the river. It’s even a lot more fun running in them. That’s thanks to my Newton Boco AT. It has a water resistant materials to reduce water from coming in and it still has vents on the side to let water out. Since we are in a tropical country. The shoes dries naturally in no-time.
After the river crossing, comes about a kilometer of dusty roads heading to Sta Ines Main Road. While we were playing, the lead group was already nowhere in sight. I started running to catch up and it was good that the dusty roads were soft on the feet.
After arriving at Sta Ines Main Road at around 11 km in the route, I saw the first group. One set of the group went for break at the nearby store and our group went to the bridge to catch the scenery. It was there where we rested while waiting for the others. We were supposed to proceed but we were torn if the other group would be able to find the way where the roads would intersect. The Jazzrunner volunteered to check on the other group.
We eventually went on the main road and had our snack break. In no time, the other group also came to meet us in the same area. There was about 4 to 5 kilometers left to reach the Highway and another 4 – 5 kilometers from the main road to 10 cents to Heaven. The plan was to bear with the first 4-5 kilometers, which was a climb and check on available transportation once we reach the highway.
We were now on paved roads and we started to walk / run our way to the distance. The first part was mainly on a slight incline. I saw a motorcycle selling ice cream for 10 pesos and since I had 40 pesos I got 4, I had one and shared the other 3. It was also a dusty road so whenever a car, truck or motorcycle would pass, we would basically eat dust. Oh, the fun part of it. Upon reaching the next barangay, we also ate watermelon. Trails are fun because not only do you burn calories, you get to gain them back, eating.
The first four kilometers of Sta Ines was on moderate incline but I knew that there would be some portion were there would be steep terrains. I tried to manage my energy and heart rate so I went on a brisk walk pace instead of a run pace. I wanted to keep my heart rate low and relaxed when I eventually hit the steep inclines. The first 4 kilometers went at a fast pace at around 11 minutes per kilometer.
The last 2 1/2 kilometers felt like an endless uphells. I just went by at a consistent pace and managed my breathing but it still felt difficult as after each turn had another set of climbs. For the steeper part, I would go for a certain distance of walking and catch my breath for a few seconds. I was already seeing from some angles the peak of the mountains and yet I haven’t seen the highway. It was a good thing I had a similar experience at Brooks last year climbing about 5 kilometers of steep incline which made this feel tolerable. Walk, Crawl, Rest, Repeat. After what seemed like forever, I was finally able to see the highway with about 16.5 kilometer distance of total mileage. We then decided to take a tricycle back to 10 cents since we were also trying to catch up with the time. The others went on to run/walk the 4-5 extra uphill road kilometers. The total route would be around 21 kilometer. This route would be a perfect road to trail half marathon.
After reaching 10 cents to Heaven, we waited for the others and had our well deserved lunch. That was such an awesome trail. The inclines can be punishing but the whole experience is worth it. Many Thanks to Team Rundezvous (Abet and Alfred) and to Team Soleus led by Judith Staples. ‘Til the Next #TaleOfTheTrail
Outfit Of The Trail
My Outfit of the Trail:
- Top: Berghaus (#TaleOfTheTrail designed by Breakout Design)
- Shorts, Calf Sleeves, Socks and Visor – Under Armour
- Shoes: Newton Boco AT
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 2S
- Eyewear: Spyder Nomad H
- Arm Sleeves: Nike
- Hydration Bag: Scott