The 2015 World Police & Fire Games were recently held in Fairfax, Virginia. Tom and some of his fellow firefighter colleagues, as well as police and law enforcement officers, from around the world showed up in full force to compete in the “Olympic-like” Games…. dubbed “The Games of Heroes”. Tom competed in both road cycling and mountain biking events. Let’s see the competition in images and stories…. this way ….
One of the Road Cycling events, and the first that Tom competed in, was the Criterium race. Crit races are generally a mile or so circuit lap, repeated for a specified amount of minutes, then a designated number of additional laps. In The Games, the competitors are divided in age groups, to keep the competition fair. Funny because often the strongest riders are not necessarily the youngest. When the start was whistled, off they went on their first lap. I think that there was about 20 in Tom’s group at the start.
Before long, the group dropped over half of the riders, leaving just 8 lead riders. The racers had timing chips, so that kept the # of laps straight, as several of the riders were “lapped” before the end of the race.
It was easy to spot Tom because thankfully he had on his sun sleeves, which help keep him safe from the sun. Today, they were also the identification key for me as they zipped by with each lap.
About 1/2 way through the race, the 8 riders thinned out to only 6 in the lead group. Tom kept his position in that group.
On the bell (final) lap, the 6 riders sprinted to the finish line.
Tom finished in 3rd Place … not bad for a guy that, though he rides his bike almost daily, hadn’t raced on the road in a very long time, especially in a crit race. See, in a crit race, it’s more of a strategic race and it’s not necessarily the strongest rider, but rather the “smartest” rider that wins.
After the victory laps for the 3 medalists, it’s time for the Medal Ceremony. Congrats guys!
The next day, it was on to the Mountain Bike Cross Country race and there were many more medals on the line.
The start of the race featured a bit of a road climb to “thin the pack” into the singletrack of the course. Tom went into the course in 2nd position.
While Tom was racing in his age group, one of our friends Johnny Sobkowski (Sunrise FD), was racing in his younger age group and went on to take 3rd Place.
Another friend, Scott Sherry (Palm Beach FD) was also competing in his age group.
Tom arrived to finish his 1st lap, navigating in preparation of running through the ribboned route through the scoring area.
As he entered his 2nd lap, he was situated in 1st place…. Go Tom!
Todd Neal (Broward County Fire & Rescue) finished up his 1st lap as well.
Finally, after 1 hr, 18 mins Tom emerged to finish his race.
Such determination shown in the fierce look of a competitor, as Tom crosses the finish line in 1st place! WooHoo!
John Cole (Ret. Charleston FD) was also racing and part of our traveling group. This was just the 2nd race ever for him.
Gil, who was from Washington state, works for the National Park Service and finished his age group in 1st place as well.
On the podium stood Malcolm Bow (Peel Regional Police Dept from Ontario) in 3rd Place, Tom (my person hero and sherpa & Ret. Dania Beach FD) claimed 1st Place, and Randy Winwood (Nanpa FD from Idaho) picked up 2nd Place. I was quite proud of Tom. It was a mere 14 years ago when he last competed in “The Games” and took 1st Place honors as well … guess the guy still has it! LOL
After the races, it was time for some beers and lunch at a local brew pub. Good times with good friends, for sure.
In celebration of the games also, we had a wonderful dinner with my cousin Violet and her husband, Bob. Such wonderful memories!
At this time, I had to say goodbye to Maria Scherer (Dale City FD), who graciously hosted John, Todd, Tom & I during our stay at The Games. She was so supportive of the guys and a great new friend for us as well. 🙂
© 2015 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography
Note: This blog post also takes a moment to honor the memory of Carlos Silva, Brazil PD and also in thought for the 2 other cycling competitors injured during the road race cycling event.