Friday, November 19, 2010

The Roots of ADOBO Velo

by Albert Javier
February 12, 2011

updated by Arden Arindaeng
October 16, 2011

(The following article was compiled primarily from my Ride Diaries, dues records from Ryan Roldan, and interviews with Ryan Roldan, Deogracias Asuncion, Jeric de Leon, Jesse Santamaria, Abraham Borillo, Jeff Serrano, Dong Javier, Ben Aragon, Abe Morales, Efren Morales, Elpidio Lardizabal, Nelson Sanchez, Arden Arindaeng, Mandy Genato and Francis-Marlon Ignacio)

Among Filipino immigrants who grew up watching the Tour of Luzon, Southern California provided an irresistible mix of circumstances that fueled their desire to emulate their cycling heroes. With their new lives in Southern California they enjoyed good weather, good roads, and the relative affordability of top-of-the-line bicycles which in the Philippines they could only dream about.

The 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles, with US cyclists winning gold in road and track. This sparked tremendous interest in cycling in the US, especially California with its year round temperate weather. Two ’84 Philippine Olympic cyclists, Deogracias Asuncion and Diomedes Panton, settled in L.A. after. A younger member of Philippine Team to the Asian Games, Alfredo Villamil, moved to L.A. in 1986. They started to compete in the United States Cycling Federation’s weekly Southland criteriums.

In the summer of 2004, more and more Pinoys were attending United States Cycling Federation (USCF) sanctioned Criteriums at the Carson industrial area and running in the Thursday night rides in the same circuit. In the months that followed, a group began to coalesce, trading cell numbers and meeting for a Saturday morning ride. 

Two origination points evolved. One was Conroy's parking lot on Western and Sepulveda, in the city of Torrance. This was the Palos Verdes route. The other was Liberty Park in the city of Cerritos, roughly at the southwest corner of South Street and Studebaker, and right beside the San Gabriel River bike path. This was a perfect start point for Southward rides on Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Coast and beyond, and Northward routes all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains, or to Turnbull Canyon and Punta del Este.

Regular riders were (in random order) Ben Felipe, Nelson Sanchez, Abe Borillo, Jesse Santamaria, Abe Morales, Efren Morales, Albert Javier, Dong Javier, Jeff Serrano, Jaimer Rodriguez, Ryan Roldan, William Aligue, George Eugenio, Ramon Reynaga, Ben Aragon, Deo Asuncion, Louie Rivera, Nelson de Lara, Dennis Evangelista, Angelo Mabunay, Charles Santos, and Rommel Santos.

Saturday rides became permanent, rain and earthquakes notwithstanding.

October 10, 2004 at Long Beach Marathon / Bike Ride. L-R: Ben Borillo, Ryan Roldan, Abe Borillo, Abe Morales, Albert Javier, Jaimer Rodriguez, Ben Aragon and Dong Javier.

On March 13, 2005, the people who participated in the Solvang Century were Jesse, Deo, Nelson, Ryan, the Morales brothers, Ramon Reynaga, Abe B., Jeff, Jaimer, Louie R., Angelo and Aaron L.

On the course, the group met Elpidio Lardizabal for the first time. El had been participating in USCF criteriums & road races from 1972 to 1990, rising to Category 2 in 1976 and was a regular at Rose Bowl rides.

Albert and Dong rode the reverse route from Solvang to the northern part of Foxen Canyon Road, turned around, and rode back with other participants.

March 13, 2005, Solvang Century: (L-R) Elpidio, Ryan, Jeff, Jaimer, Efren, William, Abe M, Nelson, Abe B.

In late March 2005 the group started discussing uniforms and the name of the club. A few name suggestions, like Fil-American Cycling, Siklista FilAm, etc., were volunteered but did not draw popular response.  Albert drew uniforms that had Filipino food themes for a colorful uniform (Filipino fruits, pancit, kapeng barako, halo-halo, etc.) and Ben Aragon put it up in the mailgroup he started. We also started paying $5 a month. The recorded paid dues establishes the original members.

The original members were Ben Felipe, Abe Borillo, Jesse Santamaria, Abe Morales, Efren Morales, Albert Javier, Dong Javier, Jeff Serrano, Jaimer Rodriguez, Ryan Roldan, William Aligue, Ramon Reynaga, Ben Aragon, Deo Asuncion, Louie Rivera and Dennis Evangelista.

On May 7, 2005, Ben Aragon established a Yahoo! Group called Cyclista FilAm. He and Charles Santos were the moderators. This development further expanded the popularity of the group, especially as the monthly potlucks promoted great camaraderie among the cyclists and their family members. As one would-be member wrote “…this is a great website! Can I join the padlock?” Of course he meant “potluck”, but you would have to wonder what he would bring to the picnic.

As the mailgroup grew more quickly than the actual memberships, more suggestions for the club name came through electronically. One suggestion, from Mike Baldivino, was the name Adobo. Mike, Philippine-born but L.A.-raised, explained that for him, Adobo signified good food and memories uniquely Filipino. This became a popular choice, and thus, ADOBO Velo the Filipino cycling club got its name, which antedates by at least a year another Filipino brand, Adobo Nation. From the outset though, it was established that any cyclist regardless of ancestry was welcome to join.

The first election of officers was Saturday, September 17, 2005, at Liberty Park, where ADOBO Velo had a picnic after a Turnbull Canyon ride. The members elected Jesse Santamaria as President, Ben Felipe as Vice-President, Abraham Borillo and Ryan Roldan as Co-Treasurers. The group had been having a monthly potluck for two months at least before this date, and they were very good times. We ordered our uniform sizes, as Thad Silao, newly recruited by Abe Borillo, volunteered to talk to a Philippine supplier.

Around October 2005 El Lardizabal started riding with the group on Saturdays. In the same month he invited Francis-Marlon Ignacio to an ADOBO Velo ride to Turnbull Canyon and Punta del Este. Francis astounded everybody by climbing Punta del Este in his 53t chainring! They formed the nucleus of new ADOBO Velo members from the Duarte area that developed into strong climbers. These included Ricky Herrera and a quickly improving Pete Primavera. They established a regular Sunday mountain climbing ride, starting at Encanto Park, and going up Angeles National Forest through San Gabriel Canyon Road of Glendora Mountain Road.

This group brought a new dimension to ADOBO Velo -- long, hard rides with six to ten thousand feet of climbing. Before joining ADOBO Velo, Francis already had done 200-mile rides. In this spirit, Francis introduced his Tour de Francis rides, each one a unique combination of beautiful mountains and unrelenting suffering. Starting in 2006, he organizes, designs and manages four TdFs a year. This has been a popular activity among members.  Also, a large part of ADOBO Velo’s popularity in California is the invitation extended to, and the participation of, other Filipino cycling clubs in the state.

On November 3, 2005, Ben Aragon, the Yahoo group forum owner, changed the group forum name to ADOBO Velo. In addition to Charles Santos, Arden Arindaeng in 2007 and Rosalie Kneebone in 2008 were added as moderators. As pictures of events were constantly being added to the forum, we quickly ran out of the space allotment for groups. An account with Picasaweb was opened in October 2007. This is now our portal for all picture albums.

One of the earlier rides of the next year was the Tour de Palm Springs held on February 11, 2006. ADOBO Velo members decided to ride it as a tune-up for the Solvang Century.  Participants were Deo, Jesse, Ben F., El, the Morales brothers, the Javier brothers, Abe, Ben A, William, Dennis, Charles, Jaimer and Jeff.

February 25, 2006 at Liberty Park. Picture taking with new uniforms. Kneeling front: Jaimer Rodriguez, Dong Javier, Abe Borillo. Standing: Egay Uyan, Charles Santos, Jeff Serrano, Dennis Evangelista, Thad Silao, Abe Morales, William Aligue, Jesse Santamaria, Albert Javier, Ben Felipe, Efren Morales, and Louie Jamir. (not in photo: Ryan Roldan, Ben Aragon)

On March 11, 2006, ADOBO Velo members participated in the Solvang Century. The race started under cloudy skies. At mile 10, a rainstorm accompanied by hailstones hit and continued up to the 25-mile sag station. At the sag station we lined up for fruit, hot coffee, and especially sandwiches, because we asked for the plastic bread bags, which we used to keep our feet dry and apart from our cold wet socks. Jesse led us to a Home Depot where he bought rubber work gloves to keep our hands dry, and at least keep some warmth for gripping the handlebars. Cold and wet, the group decided to shorten the ride to 50 miles. Ben Felipe, Jun Usi and Charles Santos, who were ahead of the group, were unaware of the decision and completed 100 miles (Astigs of the Cold). The group who did 50 miles were Jesse, Ben F, the Morales brothers, the Javier brothers, Abe, Deo, Louie R., William, Dennis, Ramon, Charles, and Jaimer.

After finishing in Solvang, the group warmed up at a Chinese restaurant in Buellton. 

On July 10, 2008, the present ADOBO Velo website hosted by Google, was inaugurated. Six months of groundwork of a dedicated group of people preceded it. The website was researched, started and designed by Mandy Genato. Helping him with the content were Arden Arindaeng, Rosalie Kneebone, and Manny Amit. Edgar Uyan actually bought the URL name “” a year prior. When the group was satisfied with the contents, Edgar linked his URL to launch our present website.

Through the years, ADOBO Velo has continued in its mission of promoting cycling among all levels of cyclists, by organizing and participating in activities such as recreational group rides, competitive racing, free clinics to teach riding skills and safety, and club picnics, that are not for profit and open to club members, local communities, and like-minded cycling clubs.

It has attracted a dynamic group of new officers and members who have brought ADOBO Velo into prominence not only in the Filipino community, but in Southern California as well. The former President, Arden Arindaeng, has unselfishly given his time and resources to the constant activities, especially in communicating and coordinating events. He took some of the early steps for the website to showcase and recognize the outstanding achievements of its members as ASTIGS. He has also established links with other cycling groups in California on a lot of fronts: volunteering at races, and participating in other clubs’ rides.

He was ably assisted by a large group of proactive members starting with former VP and Acting Festivities Coordinator Dennis Gorospe, Treasurer Ed Morente, and Club Moderator/Website Administrator/Uniform Lead Rosalie Kneebone. Much needed help comes from Committee heads: Webmaster/Legal Adviser/By-Laws/TdF Administrator Mandy Genato, Assistant Treasurer Abe Borillo, Tour de Francis Director Francis-Marlon Ignacio, Yahoo Group Moderator/Picnics and Rides Assistant Arnold Irving, and Yahoo and Facebook Group Owner Ben Aragon. For interclub races, Race Directors Olympian Deo Asuncion and William Aligue help out. El Lardizabal helps in coordinating Fil-Am fun ride participations. Additional help comes from ADOBO Velo kit designers Manny Amit (2009) and Luis Pita (2011) for art and design; former VP Edgar Uyan on picnics, club shirts, stickers, and various activities; Jess Agrezor for video postings; Amang Aguila and Victor Caampued for By-Laws; Wilson Fonacier for business ideas; and Donnie Marquez as the latest addition website administrator. The vitality and constant growth of ADOBO Velo today owes a lot to the unselfish efforts of all its officers and members. They represent the best qualities of cyclists in general and the Filipino community in particular—in their camaraderie, and their support of each other, especially in the achievement of personal firsts in cycling, no matter what their level of experience. There are a lot of untold stories of upliftment and a concern for each other that is unique to this cycling group.

The stories that are told and will be told will be found on the website and in the photo links—times of fun and camaraderie, of outstanding achievements, and of sharing our best qualities, unique personalities, and cultures. And in the future a new member will always ask, “How did ADOBO Velo get started?

No comments:

Post a Comment