Tammy Risner of Las Cruces was not happy to compete in the US National Master Cycling Road Championships this week in Albuquerque.
Risner, 47, a teacher at Arrowhead Park Early College High School, last competed in the Bike the Bluff race in Show Low, Ariz. On June 19 when several cyclists were injured after a man walked through a crowd. A cyclist has since died.
Risner said she saw the aftermath, bodies lying on the ground, facial expressions of fear and sadness just before emergency personnel arrived at the scene.
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As the next Masters event (Thursday through Sunday) in Albuquerque neared, many in the cycling community reached out to her, including Albuquerque’s Mindy Caruso, to encourage her to run.
Caruso, 49, is Risner’s competition, but since they met six years ago in a race, they have been friends. Caruso contacted her friend to support her in the weeks leading up to the Masters races. They wonder about their training and motivate each other.
“I was kinda on the fence, but with people like Mindy still supporting me and encouraging me and rooting me among others, I thought we couldn’t let someone’s foolish act to us. control, âRisner said. âI have so many different emotions. I’m excited, mostly because I see people like Mindy and people who haven’t run in a while in place of COVID. But at the same time, instead of recent events with Show Low, I’m really nervous about it. Really nervous about this.
Caruso, a five-time national Masters champion and nurse, did her best to remind her friend to have fun. Yes, they will face each other in the time trial and road races, but they are also friends.
âTammy has been one of my biggest motivators,â Caruso said. âShe works so hard. We need ambassadors like her in sport.
The four-day Masters Road National Championships begin with the Time Trial, also known as the Race of Truth among cyclists because it is a race against the clock, an individual competition.
Risner and Caruso, in the 45-49 division, also compete in the road race, which includes Highway 14 in the Eastern Mountains, Friday and Saturday.
Spectators are welcome to attend Sunday’s criterium, a race around a track, at Balloon Fiesta Park. The race starts at 7 a.m. and the day also includes a bike show, beer garden and food trucks. Those who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks, according to USA Cycling.
âYou can’t let one person win,â said Susan Rice, the city’s parks and recreation department’s facilities and programs operations manager. âYou can’t let one person dominate it. He’s like a terrorist. If they scare everyone and they stop cycling or sit down at home, then they win. I don’t put anyone down for staying home and I don’t applaud anyone for going out. We just have to get on with life. We cannot change our whole life because someone is an idiot.
Rice, who competes in each race, said the city of Albuquerque, working with Bernalillo County and Visit Albuquerque, was aware of the Show Low tragedy in the preparation for the Masters races.
Highway 14 will not be closed for the road race, but traffic will be delayed. There will be police escorts around the course, in addition to police patrols on the course.
As of Tuesday, there are 500 registered, some who will participate in more than one race. The races include men and women in age groups of all five, starting with 35-39 and ending with 85-over. They do not need to be vaccinated and there will be no virus test. Wearing a mask is mandatory in large groups such as award ceremonies and package pickup.
Events need volunteers. Those interested can register at www.oneabqvolunteers.com
Albuquerque will also host the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships in 2022.
An estimate of just over $ 1.2 million in direct visitor spending is slated for this year’s event, said Tania Armenta, President and CEO of Visit Albuquerque.
âIt’s a good thing for Albuquerque,â ââRice said. âHe presents Albuquerque as a sports mecca, a sports destination for people. â¦ This is going to be a very good economic boom for our city, which is what we probably need after a year and a half of Covid. “