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This athlete fell in love with cycling, and now she’s among the top prospects in the sport

By: Dale Rosal - CDN Digital | February 13,2022 - 08:00 AM
cycling

Lovely Gitaruelas shows off her trophies for winning a 55-kilometer road criterium race in Carigara, Leyte on Sunday, February 6, 2022. | contributed photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—When one falls in love, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s with a person.

It could be with food, a thing, a hobby, a job, or on a sport. 

For Cebuana athlete Lovely Gitaruelas, it was with the sport of cycling.

From a simple leisure biker, Gitaruelas fell in love with competitive cycling, and now, she’s one of the top prospects in Cebu’s local cycling scene.

And this happened just roughly three years since she started with the sport.

In an interview with CDN Digital, the 27-year-old Gitaruelas shared how she fell in love with cycling. 

‘I fell in love with cycling after I conquered the Tour de Cebu in 2020. It’s because it made me realize that anyone can conquer anything if you put your mind to it. The level of satisfaction is just unexplainable’

“I started cycling for fun when I was staying in Malaysia in 2019. Then I returned to Cebu for a holiday, but Covid-19 happened, and I got stuck here because of the lockdown. At that time, there was no other sport allowed on the streets but cycling, and there was no transportation at that time. So out of necessity, I was forced to ride a bike,” said Gitaruelas, a former varsity athlete of the University of Cebu (UC) and a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) practitioner. 

From a leisure cyclist, Gitaruelas ventured into the competitive side of the sport. She decided to vie in the Tour de Cebu in 2020 and fell in love with the sport which she used to treat as a ‘necessity.’

“I fell in love with cycling after I conquered the Tour de Cebu in 2020. It’s because it made me realize that anyone can conquer anything if you put your mind to it. The level of satisfaction is just unexplainable,” added Gitaruelas, the daughter of former Cebu running queen Liezl Gitaruelas. 

Aside from that realization, other factors made her fall in love with the sport. Her dad, for instance, is also a cyclist, who she considers as her main inspiration. 

“He’s also the one who taught me everything from gearing to other stuff. I’m already into cycling for the past three years, but it was very inconsistent until 2021, where I fully focused myself on it,” said Gitaruelas. 

If they say love makes people blind, Gitaruelas, on the other hand, opened her eyes to a newfound passion, where she can shine brightly.

From an average cyclist, she became a multi-titled competitor last year. 

Out of 27 races, she competed in 2021, she won 11 of them and had 14 podium finishes. She also made it to the top ten in two other races. 

She didn’t have a tough time adjusting to cycling, considering that she’s been competitive in various sports before, and she’s also a former track and field athlete for UC in high school.

“At first, I didn’t expect to win. I just wanted to participate in those races and have fun, but then I started to win unexpectedly, which made it more fun,” said Gitaruelas. 

Many cyclists can also relate to the satisfaction and fun when riding long distances and going to places they’ve never been before. 

“Cycling has a unique way of bringing you to places where other vehicles can’t go, such as trails when you’re riding your mountain bike while riding a road bike takes you anywhere you want to go. The bonding you have with your friends and fellow cyclists is completely a different experience,” said Gitaruelas.

Gitaruelas focuses on improving and winning more races in her competitive cycling career. She eyes bigger races in the future with the hopes of making it to the national team. 

“Right now, my ultimate goal is to train harder and be able to compete in bigger races in the future. If I’m given a chance to join the national team? That would be a pleasure,” she added. 

When asked what’s her preferred bike, Gitaruelas chooses road bike because of the speed, and it’s easier to ride especially when it comes to long-distance rides. 

“I like the concept of the need for speed like I can ride to farther places and I can ride as fast as I can until I get exhausted,” said Gitaruelas. 

Gitaruelas recently flexed her winning form by dominating the 55-kilometer road criterium Valentine’s race in Carigara, Leyte last weekend.

/bmjo

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TAGS: #CDNStoryangGugma, biking, cycling, Liezl Gitaruelas, Lovely Gitaruelas, Valentine's Day 2022

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