February 9, 2023

The newly carved mountain bike (MTB) course in a three-hectare pine-nestled property along Barangay Loakan in Baguio had its soft opening last week.
The MTB course designed by former two-time Southeast Asian Games cycling gold medalist Marites Bitbit is expected to be a venue for national and international events once the country eases up restrictions for sports events under the new normal.
The MTB course, established in the property of Dr. Josephine Mariano, will continue to be developed in the coming years to further conform with international course standards.
The area will also offer trail running routes, an obstacle racing circuit, and an archery range.
Lawyer Alberto Agra, president of the Pilipinas Obstacle Race Course, graced the soft opening of the MTB course along with 30th SEAG OCR gold medalist Sandi Abahan of Baguio.
Bitbit thought of establishing the MTB course when she moved back to Baguio before the pandemic after a failed race event in Batangas when Taal Volcano erupted in January.
Bitbit supervised the establishment of the MTB course while Baguio was on lockdown.
While organized sports events are not yet allowed under the modified general community quarantine, the course will still serve as a training ground for grassroots bikers, as Bitbit hopes that young athletes will engage themselves in mountain biking.
She said that Cordillerans will most likely excel in mountain biking since they are known for their endurance and the region is a perfect site for high altitude training.
Once organized sports events are allowed, Bitbit said MTB events at Loakan will be coordinated with the city government together with other government and private groups.
She added that several groups outside of Baguio signified their interest to come up to the city to try the newly carved course, which is overlooking the Loakan airstrip. – Harley F.  Palangchao