FONTANA - Fierce winds nearly bowled over some of the spectators at the Steelman Challenge on Sunday, but that didn't stop about 200 people from fighting to the finish of a sprint triathlon.

With the first finisher leaping out of the pool in barely under an hour, the cold and wind had a clear affect on race times - but not on enjoyment, several participants said.

"It's a good course, but the toughest I've ever seen in terms of wind conditions," said regular triathlete Josh Morey, 37, of Running Springs. "It was really pushing us on those bikes - I saw some people walking them on the hills."

But Morey said he didn't see any crashes and did see a lot of smiles.

"I had a great time, and it's good to see so many people out," he said.

The second annual Steelman Challenge was run in reverse order of most triathlons - first a 5K run, then a 12-mile bike ride and finally a 100-yard swim - so people weren't wet when they started the race in 50-degree weather that felt, according to AccuWeather, like 42 degrees.

It was also uncomfortable but fun for those on the sidelines, said West Covina resident Annette Aurioles, 40, who came out to support her sister-in-law and nephew.

"He's 8, and I think he has a good chance of finishing first in his age division," Aurioles said. "They both really like it, and it's good to see."

Her nephew was one of more than 50 additional runners who ran only the 5K portion of the race.

In that category, the first five finishers came from the Jurupa Hills cross country team.

"We mostly used it as a practice run to get ready for track," said Isac Gonzalez, who finished first overall. "It was tough, though. Real windy."

The Steelman Challenge was hosted by the Rotary Club of Fontana. It started and finished at Fontana Park, with bikers going up a hill on Sierra Avenue described as steep enough to separate the toughest competitors but easy enough to encourage many participants.


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