Wedding bells are in the air in December for newly-minted Ronda Pilipinas champion Mark Galedo and girlfriend Grace Alon, whose cycling romance blossomed six years ago when they met each other at her family’s bicycle shop in Fairview, Caloocan City.
“Madalas akong dumaan sa bike shop nila sa Fairview pauwi pagkatapos at duon ko siya nakilala,” said Galedo, a former sandman at a car repair and detailing shop, of his initial encounter with the petite and pretty nursing graduate.
While they did not hit it off right away, he said that he was taken by the simple and down-to-earth ways of the girl who tended the store. “Pa-text text lang muna noong umpisa bago ko siya niligawan,” he recalled.
Alon, whose aunt owns the store and comes from a family of four brothers and three sisters, said what impressed her about her soft-spoken suitor was his humility and discipline.
“Kapag may tinarget si MacMac (Galedo’s nickname) kadalasan natutupad,” said Grace, overlooking the fact that her beau was a high school undergraduate.
She noted that some of admirers of his boyfriend’s prowess had called him “Robot” for his single-minded dedication to his sport.
Roadbike Phils. team manager Bong Sual it was the dedicated and focused attitude of the 5-foot-4 biker that also convinced him to take the young man under his wing.
“Hindi lang magaling na siklista si MacMac kundi masunurin at may disiplina,” noted Sual. “Wala akong ka-proble-problema sa kanya sa lahat ng mga siklista ko.”
Galedo gave a glimpse of his full potential when he ruled the 2009 six-stage Tour of Luzon organized by party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, which Alon said was a banner year for her too, considering she graduated with a nursing degree in March then passed the board in June.
A versatile cyclist who is at home both in climbs and flats, Galedo continued to enhance his reputation last year as a member of the national road team, winning a silver and two bronze medal in the 2011 Indonesia Southeast Asian Games.
Because of his extensive overseas experience as a member of the 7-Eleven-Roadbike Phils. team, Galedo was named as skipper of the Roadbike Phils. squad that competed in the Ronda Pilipinas.
And he showed his maturity in keeping keeping his squad in the thick of the fight of the P7.5-million cycling marathon when Sual’s charges nearly self-destructed when erstwhile overall leader Baler Ravina slumped in the difficult and uphill 204.4-km. Daet-to-Lucena City trip.
Ravina finished 71st in the leg, struggling due to dehydration. It also pulled down Roadbike Phils from third to sixth overall in the team standings.
Inspired by Alon, who met the squad when they finished Stage 7 in Naga City, and with an eye of leading her to the altar in December, Galedo girded himself for a comeback to bring his team out of the hole they found themselves in.
In Stage 9 from Lucena to Antipolo City, he made his big move, engaging AMV-LPGMA skipper Irish Valenzuela in a riveting duel before yielding leg honors to his former 7-Eleven teammate.
Galedo was also a big gainer, wresting the overall lead in that leg and retaining it until the end of the Ronda by surviving the fierce challenge of Valenzuela twice in the uphill legs in Baguio.
On top of the P1-million he got for copping the prestigious overall individual plum, he also picked up an extra P138,400 for three runner-up stage finishes, each worth P25,000, a third-place finish (P15,000), P25,000 placing second in the King-of-the-Mountain and a share of the P90,000 pot from Roadbike Phils. sixth-place finish.
Elated by his ward’s second big triumph, Sual also promised to reward Galedo a P150,000 Yamaha 150 cc FZ motorcycle aside from motorcycle with pedicab for the soon-to-be married couple’s livelihood.
These blessings, Galedo said, were enough for him and Grace to plan a December wedding and begin their own family.
“Mag-papakasal na po kami sa December sa tulong ng mga napanalo ko,” he said.
Grace said they also plan to expand their bicycle store and rename it – what else? – but “MacMac ‘Robot’ Bike Shop” in honor of his boyfriend’s Ronda Pilipinas triumph.
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