Many elite athletes go to extreme lengths in an effort to bolster their respective strength and conditioning programs.
Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio is no different. He supplements his martial arts training with white-knuckle rides in nature.
The ONE Interim Flyweight World Champion, and some of his Team Lakay training partners, frequently take their mountain bikes through the challenging off-road terrain of Baguio’s lush forests together.
“Riding bikes is a great workout, and of course, it is also a lot of fun,” the 29-year-old says.
“When we ride, it is an adrenaline rush. We love conquering trails, and at the same time, it gives us access to the most wonderful creations of God.”
Eustaquio and company go mountain biking in Baguio once a week during training camps, and ride up to three times a week when a bout is not scheduled.
The area where they typically ride is blessed with incredible natural beauty – mountains, rivers, and amazing wildlife that populates the landscape.
While the group typically follows cross-country trails over wild terrain, they are familiar with their surroundings, so their pursuits are usually pretty safe.
However, Eustaquio admits there have been occasions when they have found themselves off-course. That can lead to exciting, but also uncertain situations.
Luckily, the country is not a completely unpopulated wilderness, and the 29-year-old remembers the famous hospitality of Filipinos was present, even when the Team Lakay squad found themselves in uncharted territory.
“We decided to try crossing over into a neighboring province, and we sort of underestimated the route a little bit,” he explains.
“Four of us got lost in the thick of the forest, and we had to leave our bikes in the middle of nowhere to seek shelter before it got dark. So we went on foot looking for somewhere we could stay, and we stumbled upon a secluded house, which was home to a very nice family.
“They took us in, offered us food and water, and they even cooked one of the chickens from their farm for breakfast.
“These people had no television or electricity, so they had no way of knowing who Geje Eustaquio was, or even Team Lakay. They showed tremendous hospitality to four complete strangers, and in return, we shared some great stories. I will never forget that.”
The group went back to their bikes the next morning, and found their way home.
Although they were in a rough spot, Eustaquio says the thrill of their bike rides will continue to live on as part of their supplemental training regimen.
Not only has it become a fundamental part of their fitness routine, it has become a great activity for building team spirit.
“Riding bikes is also a means of bonding with the team,” he explains.
“Spiritually, it also fulfills your soul and sets you on a path of self-discovery. And of course, it makes you strong and fit, and keeps you sharp for fights.
“I can say mountain biking is one of my favorite things in the world.”
Eustaquio will have needed to utilize every method of preparation possible in the past few weeks to be in peak form. He competes in a World Champion versus World Champion main event bout at ONE: PINNACLE OF POWER this Saturday, 23 June.
The Filipino will face ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes at Macau’s Studio City Event Center to determine the king of the division.
While he always credits Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao for running his training camps and offering valuable guidance, “Gravity” believes his mountain biking escapades give him an edge he cannot get anywhere else.
“I think our bike rides have made me mentally strong as well,” Eustaquio says.
“It keeps me focused, because if you lose concentration on a bike ride, you could fall into a ravine instantly.
“You have to dig deep within yourself in order to overcome some obstacles. It sounds scary, but it is a lot of fun.”
This Saturday, Eustaquio will have to dig deeper than ever to put on “the performance of a lifetime,” and beat his old rival to become the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Champion.