When a Challenge Philippines Recon Ride Takes a Wrong Turn: My Accident in Bataan Offers New Challenges

A few months ago, my friends Hazel and Amor convinced me to register as their biker for the Challenge Philippines all-female relay category. It was mentioned to be a tough course because of the uphills described on the Challenge Philippines website article The Seven Hills of Bataan.

So every weekend since then, both Saturday and Sunday, I would train in Nuvali. I even managed to conquer Amadeo once! I would also do the bike drills specified by Coach Kaye, and do RPM at Fitness First when I can. Last Saturday, December 29, together with the other students of Coach Kaye, I braved the recon ride of Challenge Philippines bike course.


These hills of Nuvali will make you stronger!


Riding those hills and the crazy downhills

Coming from Ocean Adventure, I encountered some hills (Ilanin area) before entering Anvaya. Then after that, there were some really rough roads in the Anvaya area. Some of these are very rough downhills, which were quite tricky. What’s worse is that it was difficult to see some of the potholes and uneven path because of the trees’ shadows covering the road! These are the reasons why those who have tried the course recommended aluminum wheels – but choose your lightest aluminum wheels so you won’t struggle with the climb.

 Taken from the FB page of Coach Arland Macasieb

Taken from the FB page of Coach Arland Macasieb


Honestly, I felt the hills were manageable. If you’ve trained in Amadeo, and have done hill repeats (Saturday before the recon, my program called for 8 hill repeats at race pace.) in Nuvali then you can do the course.

But, unfortunately, at the last downhill before the turnaround, my right hand cramped. I couldn’t squeeze my breaks and I went downhill really fast on the zigzag road. As I swerved to the other side of the road, I saw an approaching vehicle coming. My Garmin recorded 80.5 kph on this part!

I managed to crash on a grassy part on the right side of my body. I blacked out! The first thing I saw when I gained consciousness were Coach Kaye and our sags driver beside me.

My first realizations – those that I can remember

Blood was everywhere. Quickly, I checked if my vision was okay – it was, but my right eye felt different. I then checked if anything was broken, and luckily I was able to move everything. But then I saw deep lacerations on my right arm, plus my tri suit was torn on at the right side of my hip. They gave me cold water, which I thought was for me to drink. Coach then said, “Wash your face!” That’s the only time I realized that there was blood coming from my forehead. Immediately, our other companions were contacted. Coach removed my helmet (she hid it so I won’t panic because it was wrecked on the right side with pieces torn out). My bike was packed, and we met the rest of the group a few hundred meters away at the turn-around.

My husband immediately contacted doctors he knew from the area. He decided to bring me to Baypointe Hospital in Subic. Together with our sag and friend Nino, we traveled as quickly as possible to the hospital.

That’s when I felt the pain. Each small move I made was excruciating! CT scan and X-rays were done. And then my forehead and elbow were stitched! I am not the type who will post gory pictures. Let me just say that the lacerations were nasty, really nasty!

 I only saw my helmet a day after the accident.  Coach hid it from so I will not panic.  She was right!

I only saw my helmet a day after the accident. Coach hid it from so I will not panic. She was right!


The morning after

So how am I doing after my hospital ordeal? Let me say I look like I lost over Manny Pacquiao.  I had stitches on my forehead and right eye, a lot of stitches. I am just lucky that my husband is a surgeon and was able to fix my lacerations immediately.  My numerous battle wounds from shoulder, back and hips are still frightening to look at. Of course the terrible pain and suffering is still there, giving me difficulty in walking, climbing the stairs and even coughing. My vision has been affected too, temporarily hopefully, but requiring me a trip to an ophthalmologist tomorrow. Last night, Wednesday, my arm had to undergo a minor operation. The best description of this bike crash – giving birth thrice had been so easier and less painful compared to this accident!

Until now, I don’t have an idea what caused the cramp. Maybe I’ve used my right hand too much in the previous downhills. The route was difficult – not for a beginner or the faint-hearted like me. I am just very thankful that I am alive, which is why I am sharing this with you.

There was also a bike crash in the same area during the Saturday recon ride. She was rushed to the same hospital. The staff said I was luckier.

So for all those joining Challenge Philippines, please do a recon ride before the race. It is nothing compared to the flatness of Cobra 70.3 course, or the tiny hills of Tarlac in 5i50. People who rode the course say this is the hardest 90K they’ve done.

I will still be there on race day to support my husband and friends. Coach Kaye will be replacing me in the relay. But as of now, I am officially off for the season. Situations like this really make us think of life, the people in our lives, the actions we take each day, and the impact we have on others.

There is no perfect way to describe how grateful I am to be alive. So I will see this as my second chance – and a new Challenge – in life!



Found this on my bed when I got home from Bataan. I’m so lucky to have the sweetest children!


About pinayironmom

Pinay Ironmom is a typical mom who wakes up before 6 am to prepare my 3 children for school. After this, I make my husband coffee, similar to the Nescafe commercial on TV of a couple's typical morning. Work is normally a tour of Northern or Southern Luzon to inspect projects we are building, checking quality of designs or preparation of presentations to prospective clients. My schedule is flexible luckily, I can squeeze in hearty lunches with my favorite lunchmate and training early in the afternoon or right after business hours. Weekends are bike days on Saturdays at MOA or Daang Reyna and Sunday is my me time - my long run day. Oh warm ups and stretchings are trips to the grocery, cool down is hearing mass and giving thanks to God for a wonderful week. This is ME :)
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11 Responses to When a Challenge Philippines Recon Ride Takes a Wrong Turn: My Accident in Bataan Offers New Challenges

  1. Reggie says:

    Great article Ces! This just goes to show how we all love the sport and the journey it brings. Does not run out of lessons to be learned.

    Keep safe out there and continue to enjoy the journey!

  2. Dear Pinay Mom,

    First of all I would like to commend you on your intention of being a participant for Challenge Philippines and perhaps being a full blown triathlete. I am glad to hear that Kaye is your coach (you are in good hands as I have known Kaye for almost 15 years). I am sorry to hear about your accident and the pain you experienced. It’s unfortunate that such things happen but it comes with the sport or rather the territory of being an extreme athlete. In the 20 plus years of enjoying swimming, biking and running I have learned that everything has it’s own perils to which the best triumph is gaining back ones old form and picking up the pieces again. There is no perfect course nor race for that matter and one has to fight with the inevitable. I have had my fair share of accidents over the years and the most traumatic as falling off my bike at high speed causing several broken bones, lacerations and and 3 days of unconsciousness. As i look back, my 27 scars all brought about by this sport are merely indicators that I have succeeded on overcoming obstacles while enjoying my passions. I wish you all the best I hope to see you at the races soon. Be proud of your scars, those are memories courage and triumph and a cool story to tell.

    Be well,
    Karlo Magpayo

    • pinayironmom says:

      Hi Carlo!

      It is great to read encouragement as yours at this time when pain, suffering and grief are mixed with emotions of regret and yearning for a fast recovery. The morning after the accident I told myself that when I heal, I will just run for fitness. But as I get well each day, the need to recover and get back to being active again overcame my frustrations.

      Well I wish my wounds heal well so I can only brag scars a third of yours. No lady would want to have that too many! But yes, these are battle scars, a story for each one that will make my future grandchildren say “My Lola is amazing!”.

      We will surely meet one of these days on the road or probably even in a race and hopefully we can recognize each other. Let us be thankful how we have survived these accidents and appreciate more the magnificence of life!

      Thanks for taking some time to comment on my post. Kaye sends her regards!

      Keep safe,

  3. Hi PinayIronMom

    Hope you’re recovering well…

    Triathlon is becoming the ‘sports for all season … for all ages and almost everywhere’…

    … Just like any other sports… danger in triathlon is quite imminent… and having 3 disciplines makes it 3-times more exposures to some sort of ‘danger’…

    …what lesson I learned from your article and experience is the importance of ‘having a group’… although Triathlon is an individual sport… still at the end of the day having a group is always beneficial to each individuals… it is safer… easier…and more fun… among of the reasons we created the Filipino-International Triathletes Club ~ the FiT Club.

    …you are lucky to have ride buddies when such awful accident happened… emergency first response was immediate…plus of course with a husband doctor… indeed you are lucky.

    ..with this any course it maybe… rough-tough hilly or smooth flat… training in a group still highly recommended… and taking advises from those who already experience the course/route…and some warnings from people like yourself and similar reviews into consideration in our training plans…

    …I can relate to your accident because like you and Karlo Magpayo… I also underwent similar ordeal… on 3rd May 2013… I crashed from a bike ride too… (What a Shame to say but it was just on a smooth and flat road!!! S#&@ Happens!)… I was riding 36KPH… for some reason in just a split second I closed my eyes… then my front wheel went off road …it sank in the sand…I was thrown at least 5meters away from my bike… and landed head first… (but I was lucky enough to have not suffered any head injuries thanks to my Kasks helmet!) but it got me 5 fractured ribs… dislocated shoulder and chest trauma! Exactly 3months before my first ever Cobra IronMan70.3! The doctor said minimum 6~8-Weeks to recover! But ironically he advised me that if I can move normally and do my ‘exercises’ …then ”It’s OK, as it will speed up recovery… but it will be painful… it is an option of your choice”… well to cut short… in 4th August 2013 I still went and did my first IronMan70.3 regardless… call me insane but after that it made me a better ‘athlete’… more conscious about safety when training alone (if left no options) and promoting group training … or at least in pairs.

    Wish you speedy recovery… looking forward to seeing or at least hearing that you are back on track to triathlon…

    GOD Bless

    Be Happy…Stay FiT for Life

    Rolando “Seahorse88” Seprado

    • pinayironmom says:

      Hi Rolando! Thank you very much and yes I am recovering well. My doctors have been surprised on how fast the healing is. I was actually advised to move normally like you and do some stretching for a faster recovery. I added a little meditation too for natural healing.

      You were very motivated indeed to recover to make if for Cobra 70.3 2013 and I salute you! Our paths may have crossed during the race but I’m sure we will meet in future races. I did not register for this years Cobra but next year, I do hope to be part of it. Hope to meet you there!



  4. charit agana says:

    Dear Ces,

    You are brave, fearless and a woman of compassion. Thank you for sharing your severe ordeal. Your experiences and stories provide invaluable lessons. Such a selfless act!
    I pray for your speedy recovery. God Bless you Ces!


    • pinayironmom says:

      Thanks Charit for the kind words. I may be scarred but I will continue being active. Infact today I will take my first run walk, not too long definitely but in moderation as how everything in life should be.

      See you on the road soon! Keep safe! 🙂

  5. I hope you recover fully Ces. You are an inspiration to many of us. Im sure you will come out as an even stronger pinayironmom!

    Here’s additional info for those doing the Challenge, a detailed documentation of the hazards along the road:


    • pinayironmom says:

      Thanks Animal Spirit for the info. Hopefully participants will come across your post. But I’ll tweet about it and hopefully it will help. Good luck on Challenge! Say hi when we cross paths this weekend. I’ll be there to cheer!

  6. Pingback: Another Year, Another Journey | MultiSport.ph

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