All roads lead to Bongabon, Nueva Ecija on April 3 as it hosts the first-ever qualifying race for the 2022 Trek UCI Gravel World Series
ANCX staff | February 25, 2022
It is already known as the “onion capital of the Philippines”, but the town of Bongabon in Nueva Ecija is now on its way to becoming an emerging destination for cycle tourism.
The municipality will host the inaugural qualifying event for the first Trek UCI Gravel World Series on April 3. The event is organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), a sports cycling governing body based in Switzerland. Organizers say this serves as an alternate off-road version for the premier World Series and the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
Why is this important to us? The Philippines is the only Asian country to host a World Gravel Series qualifier. The following racing events, whose locations have not yet been revealed, will take place in North America and Europe.
Gravel racing, a new cycling discipline, has become very popular in recent years. According to the Bike Radar website, it “falls somewhere between road, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing.”
Bongabon has mixed terrain which makes it an ideal location for a gravel race. Apart from its mountains and gravel, the town also has plenty of rivers and breathtaking sights that will surely refresh runners, says Bongabon native race director Edrie Ocampo.
The second-class municipality is quite small, with a total area of 28,000 hectares, with 28 barangays. “We have limited accommodations, but the nature of gravel biking is outdoors, so we will be setting up campsites,” Ocampo told Philstar. He also assures that Covid protocols will be in place for the race.
The town’s mayor, Allan Xystus A. Gamilla, says Bongabon is “a great place with exciting back roads, trails and routes that any adventure seeker would love to experience.” The place is magnificent in summer, with its rivers and the coolness of Mont Labi. “It’s also the home of Bongabon Bike Park in Ariendo, an Enduro and Downhill MTB destination for gravity riders.”
The race coincides with the city’s Sibuyas Festival which is held every April 10. The celebration is a form of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest of onions.
Ocampo says it has always been his dream to bring world-class quality racing here to the Philippines. He hopes that the cycling event will attract many enthusiasts and even non-professional riders to come and visit Bongabon.
To register for the race, visit https://gravelphilippines.com