(Photo by Nick Delgado)
BELL COUNTY (September 12, 2013)--The ongoing Texas drought has forced officials with the Fort Hood Morale, Welfare and Recreation to alter the lineup for the annual triathlon.
Officials had to cut out the swimming portion of the race, said Millie Land, race coordinator.
She said lake levels are at least 12 feet below from where they need to be, which caused a health and safety concern for the participants.
The annual race attracts hundreds of competitors from throughout Central Texas to test their endurance.
Land said although the drought put a damper on the original event plans, it didn't force organizers to cancel the race.
Instead, officials decided to continue with a duathlon in which participants only have to run and bike.
Disabled Army veteran Jose Villasenor, 42, said he was relieved when he heard that the swim portion was cut.
"I was pretty much cheering inside because it was a scary situation last year," he said.
The difficulty for him is that he only has full mobility of one arm.
He medically retired as a sergeant from the military following a serious bike accident in Germany in 2005.
"I broke my collar bone, collapsed my right lung, and lost the use of my right arm."
After multiple surgeries, Villasenor found himself back on the bike.
This is his 3rd year he's competing.
He's spent countless hours training for this year's event, but said he is not upset with the change made to the race.
Land said because of the drought, officials have considered hosting the event during a different time of the year in the future so that they may be able to bring back the swim portion of the race.
The duathlon is Saturday, Sept. 14.
Free on-site registration begins at 7 a.m.