Among the steepest bike trails around Metro Manila, few names would come to mind, The Wall in Timberland, Teresa in Rizal and some others. But arguably, when we speak of the most punishing of them all, perhaps one name would stand out, Shotgun.

Shotgun is located at Mt. Maarat, San Mateo, Rizal. This notorious road is a trophy for Metro Manila mountain bikers. It is a five-kilometer ride of tough uphills which seemed never-ending. From the name itself, this place doesn’t sound too friendly.

Shotgun trail

Shotgun trail

I have been biking every weekend this past few months and maybe it’s time to give this baby a visit. If anybody wants to gauge themselves, shotgun would really be a good baseline.

The ride from our place to the foot of Mt. Maarat is approximate 38 kilometers. There is a fork right before reaching Timberland via C-6 and just by observing on which road most of the bikers take, one would already guess which path goes to Shotgun. We took the left road, the path less taken.

to the left if Shotgun

to the left is Shotgun

From the bottom to the top, there are only two short recoveries, the first one is after the first few hundred meters-  just giving you a warm up. And you better enjoy this, because the next one is three kilometer of insane slopes away. And oh, there is only one store along the way, so make sure you brought enough water.

a glimpse of what you're getting into

a glimpse of what you’re getting into

The talks about this evil place is indeed true. Shotgun took difficulty to a higher level. Not to mention that there’s not much shades on this road, the summer sun will definitely exhaust you faster.

DSC_1116

the road less traveled

After maybe half an hour we passed by the only store in Shotgun. Our legs were already tired but we had to climb a couple of kilometers more. With the harsh sun has slowly cooked us, we needed to take a short break. So we rested for a short while under the open hut beside the store.

The smooth road would go on for another kilometer, until reaching a checkpoint where we there is a fork. We took the rough road to right. We rode for another one kilometer until we got to the top of the next mountain, Mt. Mataba.

Mt. Mataba, where cows roam freely

Mt. Mataba, where cows roam freely

DSC_1132

and horses, too

From here, you’ll get an overlooking view of Metro Manila, literally breathtaking. Honestly, you’ll get this kind of view from Antipolo or Timberland nothing really special in Shotgun. But the big difference though is the feeling. After a grueling ride, to be able to see what you had to go through just to be where you are standing, is the best feeling for any biker.

A nearby dumpsite

A nearby dump site

But before anyone could finally say they survived Shotgun, they still have to ride back down, and this is the most dangerous part of this killer  trail, so make sure you check your brakes. And have EXTRA caution.

check those breaks

check those breaks

Afterthoughts

For Shotgun, although strength is needed, technique is much more important. And if someone would ask advice from me, I would say ,

1. Take it slow, use your granny gear. Don’t waste your energy trying to compete with other bikers. You are not in a race.

2. Stitch the road. Climbing steep roads would take less effort if you attack it diagonally rather than just simply going straight up. The good thing about Shotgun is that there are not much vehicles here, the road all yours.

3. Don’t look too far up. If you would only be discouraged when you see how much you still have to climb, it would be better just to look down on the road. A good mindset would definitely be handy for this one.

4. Don’t quit. Because conquering Shotgun would be one of the tales you’ll be telling your grandchildren.

>> Check out the other tough climbs near Metro Manila

 


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