Amarillo firefighters brave the bike trails in 24 Hours in the Canyon

Amarillo firefighters brave the bike trails in 24 Hours in the Canyon
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

CANYON, TX (KFDA) - A team of Amarillo firefighters kept up with the competition in this year's 24 Hours in the Canyon.

Three firefighters and one retired member of the Amarillo Fire Department joined the community for the annual event.

The department has been participating in the biking marathon for the past five years.

However, Lt. Cody Anderson said this is the first time they're being sponsored and raising awareness on their own about cancer risks in firefighters.

"Some of us have done this event before, a couple of the guys, it's their first time," he said. "It's always a challenge out here with the weather and everything, it's a long, you know, it's a long 24 hours. But at the end of it, it's always, you know, you look back and it wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time and it's always satisfying."

Some of the firefighters are avid cyclists in their own right.

Firefighter Nick Ramirez said the team still had to put in months of training in preparation for the competition.

"A lot of training a lot of time and effort, you know, putting in," he said. "The biggest thing is hydrating and eating right at the right times and just keeping a good pace."

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All proceeds from the race will go to fund the Cancer Survivorship Center.

Ramirez said he's racing for a family member of his own.

"I lost my grandmother to cancer so it means something. Hits close to home for me," he said.

The team is also spreading awareness for their first responder family: the high risk of cancer in firefighters.

"Past few years, they've been doing a lot of research on firefighter cancer risks as far as the carcinogens we run into on a daily basis at our fire scenes," said Anderson. "So the data that's been coming back has been overwhelmingly that we have a higher risk of cancer in the long term."

Lt. Randall Keyes was instrumental in bringing this year's team together. He said they were proud to join the community they serve in this weekend's competition.

"That's what we came out to do this weekend," he said. "We may not have been the fastest team, but we had a good time and it was fun for all of us."

The firefighter team finished in 10th place out of 19 teams and rode a combined total of 263 miles through the canyon.

They said they plan to participate in the race again next year.

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