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Filipino places 18th out of 104 riders in Great British Escapades 2024

Courtesy: Gerald Melvin Herradura

Another Filipino has made his country beam with pride by placing 18th out of 104 riders in the grueling Great British Escapades 2024. Battling against freezing rain, fierce headwinds, and towering hills, he showcased the indomitable spirit of the Filipino.

Meet Gerald Melvin Herradura, a 50-year-old warehouse technician based in Dublin, Ireland. Beyond his full-time job, Gerard’s true passion lies in conquering mountains. He has proven his mettle by participating in the Great British Escapades, a race notorious for its challenging routes.

These routes span over 480 kilometers with an elevation gain of over 8000 meters, winding through the unexpected single trails of the North Down Way and looping back via the South Down Way. Gerald’s incredible achievement is a testament to the resilience and determination that defines the Filipino spirit. If he can do it, so can you!

Despite being a 50-year-old, his body is strong for the task. And that’s not all! He has always kept a positive attitude, flashing a bright smile on his face even after the competition. There was no mark of pain nor exhaustion, just a super friendly smile.

A member of the Pinoy Audax Randonneurs Ireland (PARI) and Padyak Society Ireland, Herradura’s cycling history goes way back in 2012 when he sold his car and bought a bike instead. He conquered cycling challenges, races, and routes, including the Wicklow 200 and Excelsior 200 Permanent.

“In 2013, sumali agad ako ng Wicklow 200. Nagka first medal, then got curious and registered sa other races
but it was still a far-off dream to even contemplate doing. Riding thousands of kilometers across a country seemed absolutely incredible to me at that time,” Herradura said.

“I rode a few 1100km events here in Ireland and really started to enjoy this style of riding until I reached this stage,” he added.

Herradura shared his previous experiences in the Excelsior 200 Permanent. “There was no high elevation in Wicklow Mountain. As far I remember, only 530m was the highest in Excelsior 200—the Sallygap. The Wahoo said it was about 36 climbs. The shortest is less than 500m distance, and the longest is over 10km. After halfway, I still had 17 climbs left,” Herradura said.

He also shared the only things he ate that fueled his ride. “Around three cans of Coca-Cola, two Snickers, two apples, one Hunky Dorys Sour Cream and Onion, and a lovely sandwich I consumed during the ride,” he shared, explaining that these foods were the only fuel that boosted his ride up to the 96km in the Hidden Oasis, without the assurance if there was any food or supply waiting for him there.

“If I missed that assurance, I have to push myself another 140km to get to a village where there is a lot of supply, but before you get there, having without energy left is brutal. There is a big chance that you could call your lifelines to beg them to collect you,” Herradura said.

He also shared that time when he read a message on his phone that encouraged him to keep going. “In the Audax Ireland WhatsApp chat, I read one message that said ‘Keep going Gerald,’ so I said to myself ‘I’m going to ride home anyway. I don’t want to bother anyone to collect me. If I couldn’t ride up, I’d crawl,” he said.

Finding the strength and courage once more, Herradura kept going on even though it was getting dark and his headlight had no power. “I was riding blindly because there was no street light, and I still had 13km to finish,” he said.

“It wasn’t easy to ride when you barely see the road. I managed to finish the Excelsior 200 only Downhill with less than 30 minutes to spare,” he concluded.

Herradura earned notable achievements in his life as a cyclist, such as completing the Audax (600, 400, 300, 200), the 2023 Connaught 600km, and Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneurs 2023.

Written with the contributions of Alona Cochon.

Camille Quirino

Camille Quirino is a Junior Writer at The Filipino Times, passionate about sharing the stories of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). She previously contributed to Magic 89.9 and various TV productions and finds fulfillment in crafting compelling narratives that shed light on the experiences of OFWs. Outside of work, Camille enjoys playing the ukulele and meeting new people to hear their stories. She believes everyone has a unique narrative worth sharing and is dedicated to capturing these stories in her writing. Reach Camille at [email protected].

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