Santa Fe bicyclists honor slain friend with memorial ride

New Mexico

It has been more than a month since a Santa Fe man was shot and killed in his own backyard. On Sunday, those closest to Robert Romero honored him by spending the day doing what he loved. 

Police are still looking for the killer. Those who knew Romero believe it was a random attack.

With their helmets fastened and shoes clipped in, about 30 road bikers set off towards the Santa Fe Ski Basin. 

It was a ride to pay tribute to one of their own.

“It seemed like the perfect venue to do something special for Robert,” says Michael D’Alfonso.

On July 30, 52-year-old Robert Romero was shot in killed in the backyard of his Las Casita neighborhood home in Santa Fe.

“As far as I know there are no leads still, they are still searching for this guy that murdered Robert, D’Alfonso says. 

Friends say Sunday’s ride was not about how Robert died or figuring out who did it.

“It’s healing, it’s honoring. It’s remembering him. It’s going to the place where he had such a love for,” D’Alfonso says. 

Part of the tribute was a 16-mile uphill ride to Aspen Vista carrying Romero’s ashes. Then a 6-mile ride up to the top of the Sangre de Cristos.

“He was a climber first and foremost and that’s what he was known for. He’d always be at the top waiting for us so today is kind of the same day he’ll be there waiting for us,” says Klye Klain. 

Bicyclists say it’s a challenging ride but that Romero always inspired them to push a little harder.

“Robert would just say ‘pedal through it,'” D’Alfonso says. 

That phrase didn’t just help them persevere along the journey. It’s helped them find peace in the midst of a devastating loss.

“Everyone at the office feels just a bit emptier because of it but at the same time this community of riders this community of friends have all come together,” Klain says. 

And just maybe, their presence on the road will lead to answers and justice for their friend. 

“We’re hoping somebody shares something,” D’Alfonso says. 

At the end of the ride, the group placed a special cross made with bicycle parts at the top of the mountain.

According to police, Romero’s wife says she saw him in a struggle with an unknown person wearing a gray sweatshirt. Besides that description, a pair of black frame glasses were found in the backyard that did not belong to anyone in the family.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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