After earning bragging rights a year ago at the United States Police and Fire Championships triathlon in San Diego, Lakeview native and Warner Creek Correctional officer (WCCF) Shawn Gerber returned to San Diego on Sunday, June 23.
While there were many teams who participated in the swimming, running and cycling portion, Gerber registered as an individual.
“This was the exact same course that I did a year ago, which was pretty neat,” Gerber said. Gerber competed against guys from the U.S. border patrol, Sacramento Police Dept. L.A. Police Department and other law enforcement from across the entire United States.
The best part he says, is having his family right there with him to cheer him on and support him.
“We really have a lot of fun, taking lots of breaks, sight seeing and I’m just glad they got to experience it with me,” Gerber said. Being the only one from Oregon, he was the only one from the “Beaver State” to make the journey and compete representing WCCF and The Oregon Department of Corrections. Being that it was the same course, he didn’t alter his training routine much, as he was able to GPS his workouts and was able to PR in the running event. He stays active as much as possible by taking part in the Mile High Striders runs, swimming in the lakes like Cottonwood and Drew’s, while also swimming in the Lakeview pool.
On the day of the event, the order was swimming a mile free style, approximately 20 mile bike ride and a run to finish things out in total the triathlon was 32 miles.
While he came up just short against the guys from the Sacramento Police Department, Gerber managed to finish second in his age group and third overall so he got to stand up on the podium.
“I felt like I gave it everything I had,” Gerber said. “I have no regrets and am really proud of myself for how well I did. I left with no regrets. I could see the first place finisher in my sights, which was frustrating that I couldn’t pass him, but he was tough and a great competitor.”
Gerber was able to pass his opponent on the swim, but it was the cycling, where they went back and forth, trading leads.
“He was stronger on the up-hill portions, but I could catch him on the downhill,” he said. “On the run, we kept pace with each other right up until close to the end, where he was able to pull away and beat me.”
This year Gerber’s events were that first day, but there were other triathlon events throughout the week as part of the United States Police and Fire Championships, like weightlifting, soccer and other events, concluding with a 50 yard swim the following Saturday.
“I wasn’t originally signed up for the swim meet, but I told Misti (my wife) that I felt good enough after the triathlon that I could compete,” Gerber said with a laugh. “That was a mistake. I never felt so old in my life.”
He completed the swim and still managed a second place finish.
“I didn’t see anyone else from that triathlon there, which made me re-think my actions a bit,” he said with a laugh. “Distance swimming is a lot different than race swimming. But I’m happy I did that too and was really impressed I was able to get a second place finish.”