Pages: CCLEX plus Ironman

·3 min read

Since the Ironman 70.3 event started in Cebu in 2012, I’ve had the opportunity to join seven of the nine races.

Last Sunday, I was part of the relay team as a biker to Dr. Ronald Eullaran (swimmer) and Jourdan Polotan (runner).

How was my experience?

In the past, I’ve tried many Ironman routes: We climbed three bridges—the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, the old Mactan-Mandaue link named Serging Osmeña Jr. Bridge and, on the first edition in 2012, the Cansaga Bay Bridge.

We battled the headwinds in the South Road Properties. We drove all the way to Parkmall and Talisay (South Road Properties) and back to Lapu-Lapu City. In 2018, we cycled three loops around Mandaue and Mactan.

Two mornings ago, how would I rate the 2022 edition?

THE. BEST.

Expectations were set very high. During our Bike Check-In the day before the race, the top Ironman official (from Australia) offered this pronouncement to Dr. Ronnie Medalle, myself and many others in attendance:

“Tomorrow’s bike course, I guarantee you, will be one of the three best Ironman 70.3 bike courses in the world!”

No, he wasn’t joking. No, he wasn’t referring to “Top 3 in Asia.” He boldly proclaimed that the Cebu course will be among the world’s best.

Was he right? I don’t know about the dozens of other IM70.3 races elsewhere but, based on my three hours and 13 minutes on my bike traversing 90 kilometers yesterday, it was incomparable.

Three reasons: CCLEX. CCLEX. CCLEX.

More than half of the entire distance was spent on the CCLEX (Cebu–Cordova Link Expressway). The asphalted roads were freshly paved. Unlike previous editions when we endured potholes and narrow paths, this time we were pampered with near-perfect road conditions, many with long stretches of flat terrain.

Kudos to the Cordova government for fast-tracking the completion of the brand-new access road leading to the CCLEX entrance.

The CCLEX climbs? Yes, we had to brave ascending the CCLEX six times. The climbs were not too steep (five-six percent gradient) but the length (especially the one coming from Cordova) stretched far.

The best part of the climb was the majestic view of the Cebu City skyline. And the sight of the two towers (with the crosses) as you plateau the CCLEX? Wow. At no other time, I thought to myself, can I pedal here undisturbed—so enjoy it!

And downhill? A roller coaster-like adventure—many traveling 60 kph—that you can only experience when you descend from the top of the country’s tallest and longest bridge.

In all, we traversed the CCLEX a total of three loops. Can you imagine, in the 90K span, biking the iconic CCLEX for over 50 km?

In my third and final loop, after passing through the toll booths, guess who was onsite to cheer on the cyclists? The CCLEX president himself, Allan Alfon.

Was it a “Top 3 Bike Course” in the world?

As a biased and proud Cebuano, I say yes.