By Scott Prater
Gerald Romero had to stop twice to fix the chain on his mountain bike. As precious seconds ticked away, he calmed himself, decided on a course of action and made quick repairs.
Despite the double snafu, Romero clamored across a 10-mile mountain bike course and sizzled through two, one-mile running legs, to win June 8’s Schriever Duathlon in 48 minutes, 48 seconds.
“Running is my strong point,” Romero said. “Fortunately, I had just enough of a lead to where I was able to maintain it. Most of the triathlon events I do involve road biking, but this showed me that maybe I have a knack for mountain biking.”
On a calm, sunny morning , duathlon competitors started on a one-mile run south of the Schriever restricted area, that took them due west on a sandy trail. After half a mile, runners made a u-turn and finished back at the start line. From there, they hopped on mountain bikes and rode through a hilly 10-mile course north to the base housing area and back to the start line.
But the 26 competitors weren’t done just yet. Once they completed the mountain-bike leg, competitors discarded their bikes and ran the same one-mile course they began the competition with, finishing back at the start line again.
Romero completed Schriever’s 5th Annual Duathlon course in 48 minutes, 51 seconds, while Cory Marion claimed runner up honors in 49:49.
Helena Guerra finished as the top woman competitor in 1:00.56. Schriever’s Tami Wise claimed second place among the women in 1:05.50.
“I like to ride my mountain bike, but I’ve never competed in an event” Guerra said. “I received an e-mail announcing this competition a few weeks ago and I just thought it would be fun to try. “I didn’t know what to expect. I guess that was a good time. I should do more of these events.”
The competition was open to all Department of Defense personnel. Romero is a contractor at Fort Carson and Guerra is stationed at the U.S Air Force Academy.
Men’s runner up Cory Marion caught glimpses of Romero on the bike course, but couldn’t pull any closer. Romero had a 15-second advantage after the first running leg and stretched his lead the rest of the way, even while experiencing mechanical difficulties.
“I caught sight of him (Romero) at the second to the last turn,” Marion said. “I tried my best to catch up. He was just within my sights to where I stayed motivated, but maybe a little too far away for me to close the distance.”