In the middle of Mount Matarapis between kilometer 6 and 7, I was lost with no markers in sight. Option 1, Go back up and look for markers (Naaah, that would be exhausting), Option 2, Stand still and wait to be rescued (How will I be rescued when there is no signal?), Option 3, Find a new route (It worked but I had several dead ends and had to go through stone boulders following the river).
DBB Mountain Rockstar
I was lost somewhere between Km 6 and Km 7 and spent about an hour just finding my way back. That led me to go through ravines, stone boulders, rivers and still ending up to several dead ends. I was standing in the middle of the falls trying to locate the orange markers back to the route. Some routes I followed which I felt I saw orange markers ended up as leaves. It was funnier than frustrating as various scenarios raced my mind.
First Race After The Pandemic
I haven’t joined a race since the pandemic so that’s about 3 years of no races though I’m usually hiking or doing trail runs the past few years. Being in a race environment is a different story and I haven’t really been in touch with the trail running community the past few years. Thanks to Coros / Active Gear for providing my kit. I joined the 10K distance feeling it to be a routine 10K knowing that the route is just Mount Batolusong, which I have explored at least twice this year.
It turns out the route is Mount Batolusong and Mount Matarapis. It rained early morning and even during gun start. It’s gonna be a mud fest!!! The plan was to go at an easy pace and just walked my way from the start to the foot of Mount Batolusong around 1.5 kilometers from the start line. Next was the technical uphill part which is around 1 kilometer to Duhatan Ridge. I know this is the toughest part to Batolusong plus it was extra muddy due to the rains and I also knew that this is where to manage my energy by adding several rest stops. Third time here and it felt routine now. After Duhatan Ridge, I stepped up the pace knowing that this is another 1.5 kilometers of moderate ascent to Mapatag Plateau. I like the view of this ridge as the trail opens and you get to see the mountain ranges. Mapatag Plateau is another favorite stop for me.
I had my Sound of Music Moment at Mapatag Plateau a few months ago. After Mapatag Plateau, we were directed to freshly made route connecting to Mount Matarapis. It was single track and really muddy as it was deeply forested and rarely sees sunlight. I slipped several times along the way, got several cuts and bruises from trunks and bladed glass. It was a feel out process in the trail for about another 1.5 kilometer before hitting Mount Matarapis.
After Mount Matarapis, it was a muddy and slippery descent. The surface was extra slippery and we had to rely on hanging on branches, twigs, grasses rather than shoe traction. It was really a test of how much you can improvise ways to reduce sliding and slipping though I still had a few solid falls along the route. It was a mentally challenging and exhausting descent as you had to use your legs and upper body to keep your balance. By focusing on the surface, I lost track of the markers.
The steep decline felt even more challenging than the steep climbs. It’s so normal slipping and even saw some runners had bad falls along the way. We’re weekend warriors, we just stand up and go back again to the route. Going forward, I ended up on the ravine, knowing that DBB sometimes add this to his route, I went ahead before hitting a dead end. No flags in sight, I’m lost.
I was going from one end of the falls after another, climbing ravines just to look for markers. I lost count on how many dead ends I found. Tired, lost, exhausted. I mustered enough strength to follow the river until I saw the house who led me back to the right track. Finding the route was a sigh of relief. I saw one runner and then upon hitting the final river crossing, I slipped real hard to fall in the river. I lost count on how many times I’ve slipped this race. I went on the followed the route headed to the finish line. What an experience!!! I missed the rush, the pain and the excitement of racing. It was exhausting but at least I found my way and have another memorable race in my books.