Tessa!

Biking, shopping and bling–perfect Ironman formula!

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FUN running ladies Leah Caringal, Sea Princess, Gem Thomas, Leana Carmona, Doray Ellis, Bea Locsin and Reanna Cranbourne

SPECIALIZED Concept Store owner Joey Ramirez, Sea Princess, coach Andy Leuterio and Dan Ramirez of Dan’s Group of Companies

Biking is my latest passion. And when biking and shopping are put into the same equation, that equals double happiness for me.

After two years of being part of Timex Team Valdes at the Ironman 70.3 Philippines, I have decided to go solo. My hubby Dennis feels like Destiny’s Child losing Beyoncé, but I reminded him that my first Ironman 70.3 was actually a solo, when I placed third in my age group.

STRONG runner Piolo Pascual at the Sun Life Financial Run

This year, I figured there are fewer women triathletes in my new, more mature, age bracket and so hopefully, I have another chance at a podium finish. My running buddy Gem Padilla-Thomas checked the website and found out that five of my co-participants are from Japan. So clearly this year will be tougher than my last solo. Even with the race several months away, intense training has begun.

The best way to jumpstart any training is to go shopping. My old, studded bling bike, unused since the last Ironman, is due for retirement.

I headed to the newly opened Specialized Concept Store, a premier bicycle shop providing a full scope of products and services for its customers. The huge store occupies two levels at La Fuerza Plaza along Pasong Tamo Avenue in Makati, stocked with every bike known to man, from road to tri to mountain and every hybrid in between, plus the accessories to go with them.

HEBREO scholars

The Specialized Concept Store was developed with the guidance of the Specialized Bicycle Components University, which provides a uniform look, feel and quality to all dealers that exclusively carry the Specialized line of bicycles, components and rider apparel. Coach Andy Leuterio (tel. 0917-8641014) helped me create my bespoke bike.

My “bike fit” was based on my personal strengths and limits, such as range of motion, riding style and others. To get the right bike fit took almost four hours. My previous tri bike, a Kestrel, had a saddle height that was too low. Andy determined the width of my ischial tuberosities or my “sit bones,” which is to say he checked out my ass.

SUN LIFE Financial ambassadors Piolo Pascual and Sea Princess at Ironman Cebu

He said my “existing saddle provided insufficient skeletal support for my sit bones, causing frequent shifts and squirms during longer rides.” In plain talk, he meant my ass was too big, and therefore a Specialized Tritip saddle was added to the shopping basket.

Physical issues

Satisfied with my ass, we then moved to my legs. Andy checked if I had a leg length discrepancy. My right leg turned out to be 5 mm longer than my left, probably due to the 5-inch heels I tend to wear. Luckily somewhere in the Specialized inventory was another thingamajig to add to the shopping basket to address my physical issues.

The final bike is specked out as Shiv size XS, with 700c wheels, SRAM drivetrain and brakes, Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur and 165mm cranks. As to the most important spec of all, Dennis doesn’t know the price.

SPECIALIZED bike technician Efren Serrano and my new Shiv bike

Our final bike fit issue was on the subject of bling, which I wanted to add to the bike to give it a gangsta look. Coach Andy worried about the drag from the bling, but I explained that since I bike using a tutu, there would be other sources of drag anyway. The other Body Geometry FIT technicians, Keshia Fule and Jami Ramirez, broke the impasse my suggesting that I just bling my helmet and other riding gear.

All in all, it’s great to see that cycling is refocusing on this sort of science, as opposed to Lance-type enhancers that might thin my blood and God knows what.

The Specialized Concept Store is owned by Athleema, Inc. Joey Ramirez, their president, told me that those interested in a fitting can call 0919-8603241 for reservations.

MANDARIN Oriental,Manila PR head Charisse Chuidian, feng-shui master Joseph Chau and Sea Princess

At the Ironman this year, I hope that fellow Sun Life Financial ambassador Piolo Pascual will also ditch his team. Piolo has been itching to complete the Ironman on his own but his schedule has been pretty tight. I guess superstars have limited training hours.

For a busy actor like Piolo, life has so many roles. When the cameras stop rolling, there are so many other facets that compete for the attention of this versatile man. Aside from being a parent, actor and producer, Piolo is a strong athlete.

We both also share our trust and confidence in Sun Life Financial. Through his Sun Life advisor, who happens to be his sister, he learned that financial freedom is actually a lifestyle.

TEAM Axe members Gino Quillamor, Ramon Bautista, Sam YG

Doing away with the preconceived notion of investment hassles and trickiness, Piolo realized the possibility of a simple, long-term arrangement, when he acquired some products that his Sun Life Financial advisor had tailor-fit to him.

Piolo wanted products that would give him guaranteed cash benefits, and he found this in Sun Life’s Sun Peso Provider. Also, because he wanted to ensure that he would be able to sustainably provide for his family and continually give back, he needs products that give him higher potential returns, terms he found in the Sun FlexiLink/Sun MaxiLink.

Exciting celebration

I’m needing some cash benefits myself, what with Chinese New Year next week and the incoming year of the Water Snake. Fun partner Tim Yap and I will once again be hosting the exciting celebration at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

One of the best aspirations and wishes for the Chinese New Year might be to fly to the moon. The leading men’s personal care brand, Axe, has just launched the Axe Apollo Space Academy, which will bring the first Filipino to space.

The launch was an out-of-this-world experience, filled with space-themed stunts, heavenly bodies and even an Axe astronaut. There was a space exhibit that included a levitation booth and showcased space-age gadgets.

One of the highlights of the evening, held at Whitespace, was the upbeat music dished out by international heartthrob DJ Callum. Also present at the event were TV star Ramon Bautista, actors Wendell Ramos and Eula Caballero, men’s magazine favorite Ritz Azul, and DJs Chico Garcia, Sam YG and Gino Quillamor.

Follow the author @tessavaldes on Twitter or e-mail her at seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph.

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