by Fred Nogales
Posted on September 17, 2017
“Kung gusto mo lumakas sa bike, mag practice ka kumapit sa peloton sa MOA” – so I was told 2 years ago.
Mall of Asia Complex – probably the best training ground for runners, cyclists, duathletes and triathletes in western Metro Manila. My Regular MOA Training Routine I train at MOA three to five times a week – for running, cycling, or both at a time. I usually train between 5:30AM and 8:00AM, depending on the season. I tend to start earlier during summer to avoid the heat, and a bit later as October approaches. I do 100km rides every month or two at MOA, but Istart at 4:00AM. A week before race-day, I do heat training at around 9am for less than an hour. I park at 711-Seaside Terminal or at the parking lot at the “By the Bay” side. The 711-Seaside Terminal Parking is free, but has a few limited slots. The By the Bay Parking is at a fixed rate of Php 30.00 Whenever I have to take a quick shower, post recovery meal, Biker’s Café is very convenient. Fitness First and Anytime Fitness is just close by for its members’ use. The Loop and the Route It has a 2.2km bike loop from the 711-Seaside Terminal U-turn, up to the stoplight just before Conrad. Dedicated bike lanes and u-turns are put up from 5:00AM-8:00AM, which I feel makes it much safer for cyclists. The loop is busiest from 6:00am to 7:30AM. This is also my running loop for 10km runs. Whenever I have to do long distance runs, my route will be, MOA-ARENA-SOLAIRE-ARENA-MOA-CCP-MOA, which is about 15 kilometers total . The bike route is very close to the shoreline, and that fresh sea breeze is a popular reason why people train there. But when a Low Pressure Area is approaching or has just passed, headwinds and crosswinds could easily be felt too. Gradient changes are negligible, and are not felt unless you check your gps metrics. On weekdays, the route is most free on Mondays and Friday, and busiest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don’t expect to be hitting 35kph on Saturdays and Sundays. Those are the busiest days on the MOA Loop. It will be a mix of all types of cyclists - elites, amateurs, and recreational riders. Some of us do visit MOA on weekends, not for training but more for social reasons. You will find most of them at Jetti Gas Station along Macapagal Ave, shopping at the bike tiangge, or just having some social coffee or breakfast post-ride. This is also a popular venue for running events. So do check out any run event in the area before planning your MOA weekend ride. The People, 711s, “sagitnang stoplight”, sa “U-turn” and Pansitan There are a lot of MOA-regulars, atleast more than a hundred. 90% are cyclists, and the rest are a mix of runners, duathletes, triathletes and recreational riders. More or less, we know each other by face (or by bike sometimes). There are different groups of friends there. Some more friendly than others, but we do know who are the regulars there and the “dayo”. Some of the “dayo” are our friends too, and some are just total strangers. My guesstimate of how many riders there per day – atleast 25, reaching to 100+ on weekends. There are weekends when you will see 3-5 pelotons formed within MOA. You will see different “tambayans” in MOA.All from different group of friends, with overlapping common friends. There are two 711s there, first would be the 711-Seaside Terminal, and next would be the 711 adjacent to Fitness First. These would be the regular “tambike” places post ride, since refreshments are readily available. “Sa u-turn” and the “gitnang stoplight” would be the places where some of us stay for a quick rest and chat post training. In these spots, you will commonly see punctured tires being repaired by fellow cyclists. It is for free, if you’re friends with those hanging out there. But im sure any MOA regular wouldn’t mind lending a patch kit or bike pump for anybody in need asking nicely. “Sa pansitan” is the usual spot for celebrattions – birthdays, despedidas, welcome back celebrations, etc. Its location is vaguely described as being at the “KainansaDampa”, along D. Macapagal Blvd. The Unwritten Rules of the MOA Loop MOA Grounds has achieved notoriety, earning the hashtag, “#DelikadoSaMoa”, on social media. But then, any road could potentially be dangerous. Yes, there are unwritten riding rules in MOA - allbased on common sense. A few of them are as follows, in no particular order or importance:
• Keep left, cars are on the right side.
• Ride in a straight line, don’t go switching lanes unless needed.
• Should you need to switch lanes, look behind first. Use hand signal. Ride as if you are driving a car.
• Mind other cyclists, give way to people riding faster than you.
• Should you need to overtake, yell out, “bike left” or “bike right”
• Should you get yelled at, don’t take offense – its for your safety. It is difficult to be heard without yelling on speeds faster than 30kph.
• On u-turns, make sure you are at the outermost lane if you intend to go straight and not make that turn. This is the most common cause of accidents in MOA, and this is the best reason to get yelled at.
• Should you want to draftbehind a peloton and you are a newbie, don’t stay in the middle of the peloton. Stay behind the peloton, and pay attention not only on the bike in front of you, but to the riders 2-3 bikes ahead of you. Should anybody in the peloton press on their brakes, or swerve, make sure you can react good enough.
• If you are a non-regular at MOA, keep your pace slow and observe how we train there. You’ll catch the drift how it is, just observe.
• Avoid sudden braking, there might be somebody behind you.
• Don’t just look at the road, look at the pedestrian crossing lanes.
• Some motorcycles cross the island (which we know shouldn’t be the case), be wary.
• Respect pedestrian lanes. Give priority to pedestrians. I know it is difficult to do sudden braking on a bike, but give them courtesy as much as possible without rolling over your handlebars.
• Be nice other cyclists. A “good morning” or simple wave is enough. Give hand signals or call out any potential danger on the road to warn the riders behind you.
• Do not use profanity.
If you want to make friends, be a friend. Friendships do start with small talk more often than not. Being a stranger is a choice. MOA and Myself I’ve trained there for 2 years. But I’ve spent close to 8,000km and 2,000km on the bike and running shoes respectively on the roads of MOA. I’ve spent 95% of my training time for my races at MOA. I see myself training there for tens of thousand kilometers more, until they close it to athletes and recreational riders and runners. It is relatively safe, convenient, and close to home – literally and figuratively. MOA Training Grounds has helped hundreds live a healthier life, and has definitely bred champions and podium finisher athletes.
See you at MOA Grounds!