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17 March 2009

Subic expects big turnout for April 2-5 bike festival

Sports lovers and bike enthusiasts are again expected to flock to this free port as the four-day Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival (TLBF), Asia’s only multi-discipline cycling event, kicks off here on April 2.

The event, which includes various bicycle races, a standard Olympic-distance triathlon, and a bike trade show, is supported and endorsed by the Department of Tourism (DoT), and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

It will also feature former UCI world champion and mountain bike hall of famer Hans “No Way” Rey, who will conduct trials, demos and clinics, as well as current UCI 4X world champion Brian Lopes, who is considered by USA Today as “undisputedly the best all around world class cycling athlete”.

Organizers said prizes for winning participants include trips to Hong Kong or Boracay, cash prizes ranging from P1,000 to P20,000, bikes or bike parts, gift certificates, as well as trophies for 1st to 3rd placers and medals for 4th to 10th placers.

“This is the second time that this festival will be held in Subic, and we’re again looking forward to a full-capacity crowd,” said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, pointing out that the Subic Freeport is now more accessible to local tourists because of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

“This is another reason for sports enthusiasts and the fun crowd to be coming over to Subic this summer, as we’re also coming up with several big events in the Subic Bay area,” Arreza said.

“So if you want fun, adventure, as well as sports and fitness, then Subic is the place to be this summer. Best of all, Subic is a family-oriented holiday venue,” he added.

Festival director Gregorio Larrazabal said the upcoming event will feature mountain bike races such as cross-country, downhill, dirt jumping and 4X; a three-day, four-stage road bike competition; dirt-jumping and supercross events for BMX; as well as bicycle trials.

Participants from all over the country, along with some bikers from Dubai and Australia, have signed up for the various races, he said.

“Aside from the bike races, we’re coming up with a triathlon and a trade show in a 1,500-square meter display area for the best and latest in the bike industry,” Larrazabal added.

Registration for the 2009 TLBF has opened to cyclists and cycling enthusiasts as early as August 2008, with forms primarily made available through participating bike shops.

However, to cater to participants from other countries as well as regional participants in the country, the festival committee has launched an on-line registration system through the festival website www.tlbf.org.

On-line registered participants will receive a confirmation e-mail, which will contain details of the registration and a control number that the participant will use as reference for any other transactions connected to the event like race kit and race number, Larrazabal said.

The festival official, who described Subic as “ideal for bike competitions”, disclosed that the TLBF was organized in honor his father, Terry, who advocated a healthy lifestyle — the basic goal of the festival.

First organized in Ormoc City, Leyte in 2002, the TLBF had since become a celebration of bicycling as a sport, as well as an avenue for health and environmental advocacy. It had also become a vehicle to promote cyclo-tourism in the Philippines, and for promoting the country as a destination for bikers and cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.

Larrazabal also said that as a festival venue, Subic offers more advantages to visiting bikers and their families, as they could ride their bikes in the morning, do shopping and recreation in the afternoon, and enjoy fine dining and entertainment in the evening. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: Bikers negotiate a mountain bike course in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

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