By Cody T. StarkenMay 1, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 1, 2012) -- The Army women's upright cycling team swept the competition at the 2012 Warrior Games, taking the top three positions and adding three medals to the total count for the Army.
"I represented the Army well and the goal I set for myself," said gold medalist Tanya Anderson. "I came out here and accomplished it."
Anderson currently serves as the cycling and shooting coach for the Marine Corps at Wounded Warrior Battalion-East in Camp Lejeune, N.C. She is a two-time recipient of the Omar Bradley Spirit of Independence Award, and now can add her recent gold medal to her achievements. This summer will mark the two-year anniversary of her love for cycling.
"It isn't over if you have an injury and illness," Anderson said.
The final results for the mixed women's cycling 10k event were Tanya Anderson, 18:25, Margaux Vair, 19:04, and Lacey Hamilton, 20:54.
The Army men's recumbent bike team also took a gold and bronze medal respectively in a 10k race won by Capt. William Longwell, 20:54. Anthony Robinson came in third at 21:59.
"I started riding competitively back in January doing the Disney Half-Marathon. I won it, and fell in love with it," Longwell said.
Longwell took home the gold for the Army's recumbent cycling race after only six months of training. Between his race at Disney and the Warrior Games, he competed in the Boston Marathon. This is the first year he competed in the Warrior Games and will participate in sitting volleyball later this week.
Longwell said he motivated himself by working to achieve his personal time goals and to get back to his level of physical fitness before being injured.
Army Cycling Coach Staff Sgt. Mario Bilbrew was chosen to coach the team because of his efforts at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to help wounded warriors to recover through cycling.
"I took Soldiers out to the Valor Games and did a lot of Ride 2 Recovery. My name came up and Army officials asked me if I wanted to be the coach," Bilbrew said.
He took the skills he developed in Washington to better prepare the team for the fierce competition at the Warrior Games.
One of the primary jobs for Bilbrew was getting his riders to work as a team. He had to get people acclimatized and used to the elevation of the terrain before the race, he said.
Another challenging part of the training was the various home-station locations of the team members. Some came from Germany, some came from Hawaii; but they still had a week prior to the competition to practice on the race route.
"That was the most interesting part of my day, getting everyone to ride together," Bibrew said.
The end of the day showed the Army had what it takes to stay competitive in the first event of the Warrior Games. Tanya Anderson personified the warrior spirit when she revealed her final thoughts as she crossed the finish line.
"I won for the Army," Anderson proclaimed.