Bernie Romero of Ptarmigan loves the Firecracker 50 endurance mountain bike race held every year on the Fourth of July. That’s because it’s held on his birthday.While the average parent of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old may not consider the expert class of mountain bike racing a place they’d like to be, for Romero, it’s just a stepping stone to bigger things.The 31-year-old began racing the same year he had his first child, Phillip, and he’s steadily moved through the ranks to be a top 10 racer in the popular local racing series, the A Racer’s Edge Summit Mountain Challenge. The key to Romero’s success has been a carefully balanced training program that allows him to spend time with Phillip and his younger brother, Robert. Romero rides year-round, spending hours on a trainer in the winters and hopes it will one day lead to a semi-pro license.
The Taos native also knows he can rely on the support of Barbara, his wife of six years. When did you come to Summit County?”Nine years ago, Barbara and I moved up from Taos in a van and lived out of it for a couple of years in the Watson lot right behind City Market (in Breckenridge). We had a customized Dodge Cobra with a pop top and we put a wood-burning stove in it. We were true ski bums.” How did you get into mountain bike racing?
“This will be year 5. I started as a beginner. I didn’t even know about the Summit Mountain Challenge and happened to be over in Frisco the day of the Frisco Roundup. A friend said “Hey, you should do it,” and paid my entry fee and that’s how I got hooked.”Do you ride with your boys?”I usually sit them both in the trailer and pull them for 40 or 50 miles. We usually head on over to Vail and have lunch and then head back over to the county. But riding from Ptarmigan to Vail and back is closer to 80 miles.
“I guess it’s something like that. You know, when I get home I’m pretty beat.” What is it like to balance your training with your children?”It can be really hard. In the winter I spend a lot of time on my trainer. Usually when I do go out on a ride, it will be in the early, early morning or the late, late evening after they’ve gone to sleep. I’ll strap my lights on and go out for three hours.”
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