RP cycling legend honored with San Andres bike race
posted 10-Dec-2019  ·  
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San Andres Mayor Peter “Boss Te” Cua joined hands with Quezon City-based Calolbonganon Dr. Mike “Padig” Ramos to sponsor the 2nd Jose Sumalde Cup Mountain Bike Challenge 2019 last Monday, Nov. 18 to kick off a series of activities leading to the town fiesta celebration at the end of the month.

Held in coordination with the Municipal Tourism Office, the bike race preparations began Mar. 24 when Dr. Ramos, a resident at Saint Luke’s Medical Centre, took the initiative to work closely with the office of Mayor Cua.

Jose Borja of the San Andres Tourism Office made it clear to interested participants that the “strictly no helmet, no race” policy would be implemented and that only mountain bikes of sizes from 26, 26-9, 29 x 1-99 and above will be allowed in the competition that requires a registration fee of P200.

In the male category, P10, 000 and a trophy went to the first to arrive at the finish line at the San Andres Covered Court after the grueling race of over 48 kilometers. The riders sped towards Virac Town Center and turned around to San Andres, heading up to the coastal barangay of Cabcab before going back to the starting line.

The first runner-up received P8, 000 and a trophy, with P5,000 and a trophy going to the third runner-up along with consolation prizes to all finishers.

The same cash prizes were given to the first three finishers in the female category.

The annual race was named after Jose Sumalde, a native of San Andres who rose to national fame after consecutive victories in the Tour of Luzon in 1964 and 1965.

In an interview with this writer, 62-year old Roger Sumalde recalls the young days of his uncle who gathered and sold the native tuba’ drink for a living.

Hey said that his uncle gained endurance from climbing coconut trees daily and further developed his potential as a racing champion by working as a newsboy, making daily rounds to deliver newspapers all over Metro Manila on his dilapidated bicycle.

Roger said Jose’s desperate escape from poverty in his hometown only to land a decent but physically exhausting job in Quezon City motivated him to strive for victory in the Marlboro Tour that significantly led to a better life.

The cycling champion died of stomach cancer at the age of 48 and left three sons and a daughter as career professionals and Cebuana wife Estelita in a comfortable residential house in Antipolo City.

The 2nd Jose Sumalde Cup Mountain Bike Challenge 2019 is one of numerous fiesta activities like basketball tournament, singing and dance contests, selection of Bb. San Andres 2019, beer plaza, cultural games and the transfer of the Venerable Image of our Lady of Sorrows from Batong Paloway Chapel to the Parish Church in the three-day celebration of San Andres town fiesta that starts on Nov. 29.

A member of the Sanguniang Bayan thought of sponsoring the installation of Sumalde’s life-size image atop a bicycle in Barangay Esperanza where the cycling legend grew up. But the dream to honor with a statue the first Calobonganon to gain national recognition in cycling competitions did not materialize for still unknown reasons. (Padaba Jing).

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