The story of the Timberland King of the Mountain is the story of the Mountain Biking scene in the Philippines. From humble beginnings, it has evolved and grown tremendously over the years and has contributed so much for the sport
The very first TKOM race was held in 2005. There were only 62 participants then, “62 brave souls who were the pioneers”, Edmund Mangaser, Race Director and All Terra Cyclery owner says. “Even then mahirap na yan (race course,) up to now mahirap pa rin” he adds. Year after year more and more people joined the race as the mountain bike community grew.
Just a “newbie” in the sport back in 2009, Ariana Dormitorio, the country’s top female mountain bike racer today, placed 2nd on her first TKOM race. Ariana says that her experience from the race challenged her to train harder and become a better rider, “That was the start of everything, kung bakit ako inspired mag race and train everyday.” The following year, she became the event’s women’s champion and has defended her title up until today.
The race course has a mix of very steep road climbs and technical trails. Joy Iballa of Team BMC, and the event's master’s champion says that aside from the grueling climbs, the race course has become more technical with added trail features like drops, jumps and stairs, Iballa adds “Ang expectation ko this year mas mahirap dahil madami nadagdag, dati single track lang at ahon.”
Jason Gabriano, the event’s official track builder says “Dapat pag bumuo ka ng trail kailanagn isabay mo sa rider,” he adds “di naman pwede palagi ung trail mo madali dahli yung rider nag le-level up din”. Donjie Dormitorio, Team Ariana Specialized racer and MTB Coach, believes that the race track is world class, he says “We are thankful to Timberland for developing this, as we say world class, world level kind of course.” Team BMC racer EJ Florex, also says that the race course and trails in Timberland itself prepares him for his international races.
The TKOM and the Timberland trails have evolved over the years attracting more racers year after year. In this year’s edition, over 400 racers have joined. Edmund Mangaser says that he is thankful to all the participants and sponsors because by joining and supporting the TKOM, they help build more trails in Timberland not only for the event, but also for weekend warriors who love to go mountain biking there.
Francis Caballos, Filinvest Land Inc. VP, hopes that with the the popularity of mountain bike racing in the Philippines today, we can develop more world class athletes and even champions in the years to come. Timberland as a venue with purpose built mountain bike trails will definitely have a big role towards achieving this goal.
RideNa TV is committed to bring more stories about the mountain the biking community. We aim to spread the word about the sport that would boost its popularity even more. Watch out for more videos coming soon at www.ridena.com.
Read our article about the Timberland King of the Mountain 2016