For more than a decade, coach Vince Garcia has gained prominence in the triathlon community, not just as a fierce competitor, but as ‘godfather’ to para triathlon and national athletes Al Fernandez and Calib Sim Jr., as well as Godfrey Taberna, Raul Angoluan and Jake Lacaba—the youngest but the most fearless in the group.
Born with just a left leg and a cleft lip, the 22-year-old Lacaba, a native of Tacloban City, couldn’t be hindered from competing since joining the TODO Para-triathlon Team only last year.
Garcia recalled one of his early conversations with Lacaba as the latter expressed his determination to join the team. After agreeing for a meeting, Garcia said he expected Lacaba to take the bus, but instead, the youngster biked approximately 130 kilometers just to meet him.
“When I asked him to go to Acropolis so I can assess him, I was surprised that he biked from Tarlac to Quezon City just right away,” Garcia said.
Lacaba raced his first competition—the Mt. Mayon Triathlon Championship—dubbed as the most scenic and challenging run in the Philippines in Albay Province last August 14.
Teaming up with swimmer Manuel Lobrigo Jr. and runner Fernandez, Lacaba took the bike run as they sealed a third-place finish with a time of three-hours, 36 minutes and 29 seconds.
Full of determination, Lacaba officially became a full-pledged triathlete when he competed in his first individual race in the recently concluded New Clark City Triathlon in Capas, Tarlac.
Lacaba and Michael Bayani, a teammate with a permanently broken left ankle, competed in the individual short distance category in the 500m swim, 25K bike and 6K run course and made the podium as first runner-up in the category.
Meanwhile, the trio of Sim (swimming with one leg), Taberna (biking with a right clubbed-foot) and Angoluan (running without both arms) completed the long-distance relay category of a 900m swim, 50K bike and 12K run course in the same race.
Surprisingly, they all finished in the podium with top honors in their categories.
While they prepare for the big races, coach Garcia, the “para-boys” and The Pedal Trap (the bike shop he owns)—are spearheading a fundraising effort of selling eScooters for the para-triathlon team.
All of The Pedal Trap’s net revenues will go to the training and racing expenses of the Para-boys as the proceeds of the eScooters will benefit the para-triathlon team for their training, uniforms, bicycles and other race gear.
“Expenses for sending the para-boys to races entail airfare when needed, land transportation, hotel bookings, registration if not free, and food before, during and after races. And to fund our efforts, we are seeking assistance in raising funds by selling good quality eScooters. Message us if you’re open to helping us,” said Garcia.
Originally priced at P35,000, each eScooter is brand new and discounted at P25,000. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.
Interested individuals can schedule a test drive by contacting The Pedal Trap at 09178866341.
The Paratriathlon Team also welcomes donations in cash or kind thru the same mobile number.