After a year that saw the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon bottom out with a virus-induced, virtual event, organizers of the iconic race in Grants – which includes a bicycle ride, run, cross country skiing and a snowshoe slog – are looking for numbers to skyrocket.
“We’re hoping to break at least 200,” said race director Stephanie Gaines of entrants in the 39th annual Quad that will run Feb. 19. “With the snowstorm (last week), when people see that, they get updates and tend to sign up because they know we got snow.”
Contestants surge to the top of 11,305-foot Mt. Taylor, competing as individuals over the 43-mile course, or in teams of two or four, eventually covering 26 miles on the bike, 10 miles on the run, four via skis and two miles in snowshoes while gaining 4,900 feet in elevation.
This year, four veterans of the annual Quad Kids event have teamed up to compete in the adult race, something Gaines, who is a physical education teacher at Grants High School, had encouraged.
“Back in the day, when I was in high school, I used to participate in it, as well my husband,” she said. “We would do teams. We’ve been trying to get students back involved.”
It was easy to convince Los Alamitos eighth-grader Promise Garcia to compete, she is Gaines’ niece and will be doing the bike ride segment for her team.
“My dad has been doing the Quad ever since I was like four years old,” she said. “I started when I was five and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
The Quad Kids event includes a run and bike ride, as well as an obstacle course.
“I’ve won every single one that I’ve ever done,” said Garcia, who also plays basketball.
Now she and her teammates are looking to make an impact in the adult competition.
“I think we’re going to do well,” she said. “I think we’ll be right in the middle. I don’t think we’ll be last. I don’t think we’ll win because there are always a lot of really good teams, but we’ll do good and in the middle.”
Garcia’s teammate and classmate, Shad Merayo, will be doing the skiing portion of the Quad, although he has limited experience in the sport.
“I’ve never done cross country skiing,” he said. “I do normal skiing every year and stuff. But me and my dad are going to practice skiing.”
An all-around athlete who also plays football and baseball, Merayo said he’s watched his dad compete in the skiing portion and is ready to step up to the adult competition himself.
The Quad Kids “was kind of fun,” he said. “But I always wanted to do the adult one.”
Brothers Coudy and Boudy Melonas round out the team, doing the running and snowshoeing respectively.
“I think it’s going to be more challenging than the other one,” Coudy Melonas said of moving up to the adult Quad. “Obviously, it’s longer.”
The teenagers are getting out training runs, he said.
“It’s been going pretty good,” said Coudy Melonas, an 8th-grader who also plays basketball, football and baseball. “My goal is to get up this little pipeline ridge. I used to get up there in 40 minutes and now I’m getting up there in 20 minutes.”
His brother, a freshman at Grants High School, will be snowshoeing for the first time.
“I’ve never done anything like that,” Boudy Melonas said. “I’m just going to go and do it.”
The idea, however, is not so much to win, as to put in a good showing.
“As long as we don’t give up,” he said. “As long we keep going. We just can’t give up.”