Adobo Velo: Fil-Am Cycling Group
The Roots of ADOBO Velo
by Albert Javier
February 12, 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.
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.
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