Veteran biker Joel Buco completed a three-peat after topping the 35-kilometer Saipan Unity Lions Club’s 5th Annual Bike Race Event early yesterday morning at Banzai Cliff.
The 48-year-old The Water Company employee negotiated the long course of the road bike division from Banzai Cliff to Suicide Cliff, Bird Island Lookout, the Grotto before returning to Banzai Cliff in an unofficial time of just under 59 minutes.
It’s the third straight year that the Nueva Ecija, Philippines native won the competition. He also won last week’s 2021 Padyakan Sa Saipan.
When asked how he does it, Buco simply said it’s because there’s not much to do on Saipan so to pass the time, he rides his bike and enjoys the island’s many magnificent sites while tackling some of Saipan’s challenging routes.
In terms of the competition, Buco said he trained for seven weeks, three times a week. His training consisted of biking up to Suicide Cliff three times a week.
Following Buco, at second place, was Ren Ren Gaviola and completing the Top 3 was Nap Dizon.
Meanwhile, in the short course, Edwin Angeles finished first followed by Angel De Guzman and completing the Top 3 was Larry Malis. The 2-kilometer short course had its starting line at Mobil Tanapag before proceeding to Bird Island Lookout and then to Banzai Cliff before reverting back to Mobil Tanapag for the finish line.
According to Saipan Unity Lions Club president Alicia Barbo, the event, which was expecting just 60 participants given the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, had over 115 registered participants.