Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio finds solace in mountain biking

joshua pacio
ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio of Team Lakay finds solace in mountain biking amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo from Joshua Pacio's Instagram @joshuapacio)

It took two years for Team Lakay’s Joshua Pacio, the reigning ONE mixed martial arts strawweight champion, to buy his own mountain bike.

But now that he has, his regular mountain bike journey with stablemates in the mountains of Cordillera is off with a whir.

Team Lakay veterans Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Honorio Banario played a huge role in influencing Pacio to engage in the sport, and the ONE strawweight king couldn’t be more willing to follow the trail, so to speak.

“I’ve only just now made it a regular thing. Now we all go biking together, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Pacio.

Mountain biking is just one of the alternative training methods the team has come up with to stay fit and conditioned amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only is it a leisure activity, but biking is also an excellent cardio exercise, said the 24-year-old Pacio.

Aside from the daily grind at the Lakay Central Gym in La Trinidad, members of Team Lakay have added mountain biking to their training routine, riding at least once a week during training camp and two to three times a week if there are no pending fights.

READ: Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Team Lakay banks on online, social media presence

“It’s one of the ways we bond. We ride together and experience the outdoors,” said Pacio, who is accompanied by Danny Kingad, Jeremy Pacatiw, Jomar Paac, Eustaquio, Folayang and Banario during biking sessions. “It’s reenergizing and revitalizing, great for the mind and body.”

But if there’s one takeaway from mountain biking, at least for Pacio, it’s the idea of being less tired because of the beautiful scenery and fresh atmosphere.

“What I love most about mountain biking is that you don’t really notice how physically tiring it is because you’re having so much fun. It’s especially fun riding up mountains and roads.”

The young champion from Benguet recalled one of his favorite moments with the team, when ONE Championship visited the region for a shoot in 2018.

During that meeting, Team Lakay was instructed to shoot footage of them riding bikes. The Igorot warriors then pedaled their way en route to Bobok Bisal in the town of Bokod, an hour and half away from Baguio.

“There were a lot of uphill and downhill slopes. We started riding at 10 in the morning, and we finished around 4:30 in the afternoon, ending up along a river where we had a meal before we went home,” Pacio, a first-timer then, reminisced. “It’s those moments that get etched into your memory. It was such an amazing experience.”

In the Cordillera region, the quarantine has been eased into a Modified General Community Quarantine since June 10. That said, Pacio is just taking his sweet time to enjoy the scenery and fresh winds of Benguet while waiting for a call from ONE Championship.

And no worries. He isn't about to trade grappling with opponents with grappling handlebars.

READ: Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao weighs in on Pacio-Adiwang fight speculations