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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

2 Posts tagged with the btc tag

On day three of the tour, we rode from Alamosa, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. It was a steady climb out of Alamosa for about 30 miles before we got into some rollers. From there it was a combination of rollers and climbing over two passes I hadn’t done before – La Manga (10,320 ft.) and Cumbres (10,022 ft.).



(Gale happily climbing LaManga. The ribs are tolerating eight pedal strokes out of the saddle today. Progress!)


While we had some tailwinds yesterday, today began and ended with unfavorable wind. Not just a little wind. It was relentless, strong wind that was blowing in our face most of the day. Downhill sections required pedaling. Ugh.


When we first rolled out of Alamosa, we got intermingled in a big group. I hate being in a big group of riders that I don’t know and are not categorized by riding ability. I’ve seen too many accidents happen when inexperienced riders get mixed into a group of experienced riders.


While I hated the situation, I hated the constant headwind worse. I worked my way toward the front of the group and looked for wheels of those I trust.


After the first aid station, a core group of people I know, and ride with often, were able to begin a rolling paceline were no rider stayed on the front for very long. We disallowed people to enter the paceline. We were fine if they wanted to sit on the back of the group and draft, but no one was allowed into the rotation.


No matter how the race is run it always ends the same
Another room without a view awaits downtown
You can shake me for a while
Live it up in style
No matter what you do I'm gonna take you down

Everybody wants into the crowded line

Bob Seger – “Shakedown”


I offered several riders the explanation of why we rode this way:

-          We ride together often and can predict what the other rider will do.

-          The formation is tight to shelter people from the wind.

-          Please take no offense to your personal skill level, you are likely a great rider. Unfortunately, we’ve encountered people that did not have the group riding skills to keep all of us safe.


Most riders do understand, but I know some take offense. Sorry.


I will say it is a ton of fun to ride in a group like ours. We shelter each other from the wind and do our best to work together for the good of all.

Well…with a couple of notable exceptions:

-          There are some city limit sign sprints.

-          State border signs count double points.



(Left to right: Bruce Runnels, Scott Ellis, Bill Frielingsdorf, me, Ron Kennedy, Todd Singiser)


Though there was plenty of good fun ramping up the speed, I don’t think anyone can tell you the sprint or king of the mountain scores.


The reward for a hard, hard day in the saddle was the best Spanish rice I’ve ever had and killer green chili. I think it was called the Fireside Inn restaurant, next door to our cabins. We walked there for linner (late lunch, early dinner) and evening pie or ice cream.


Ride time 5:00, “out” time 6:34, 80.56 miles, 16.1 mph avg., 3216 ft of climbing


In another blog, I’ll give you more information on intensity each day. In the mean time, scenery photos below.




(Most blog photos for the bike tour were taken by Del Bernhardt)

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I don’t think I have an unreasonable number of phobias; but, I do admit I have some fears. One of my major fears crept into my mind each day of last week. Some of my Facebook buddies shared that they too have the same fear. Before I get ahead of myself, let me begin at the beginning.


I spent all of last week riding my bike in a big loop around southern Colorado with the Bicycle Tour of Colorado. You can find the profiles for all days and ride descriptions at the previous hot link.


Every summer I try to do some type of week-long bicycle tour with friends. There are plenty of reasons to do a bike tour and a few include:

  • Time away from the office to decompress
  • Time spent riding with friends
  • A big boost in fitness post-tour
  • In small mountain towns and cabins, there is often no cell phone or internet access (resulting in quality time spent with real living and breathing humans and new ideas begin sprouting everywhere)
  • The list goes on and on…


Day 1 was tough this year, with over 100 miles, the toughest climb of the tour and near constant headwinds. The theme of the tour this year was wind. On the upside, this is the first bike tour I’ve done without getting drenched during at least one day.


After getting up Slumgullion Pass and then Spring Creek, we descended to an aid station where the photo below was taken:



(Left to right: Bruce Runnels, Ryan Lewandowski, Bill Frielingsdorf, Ron Kennedy, Scott Ellis, me, Todd Singiser)


One of the best parts of the tour is riding with people that I can trust and we ride well together. (“Together” … sometimes I’m hanging on the back by a thread (or not at all), but I digress…) All of these guys are regulars at the Sunday group rides that roll from my driveway. Yes, I’m a lucky dog.


Going up Slumgullion I was a suffering dog. I mentioned in a previous blog that I did an end-o on the mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and my ribs were still not happy. I couldn’t stand for three pedal strokes without stabbing pain in my ribcage. The ride started so nicely, but the climb was tough. A song popped into my head…


When it's good, then it's good, it's so good, 'till it goes bad
Till you're trying to find the you that you once had

P!nk – “Sober”


I found it interesting that songs would pop into my head all week. Bruce suggested I include this tidbit in my blog, so I am.


The last couple of hours of Day 1 was relentless head wind with gusts. More suffering.


Well, everybody hurts sometimes,
Everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes.
And everybody hurts sometimes. So, hold on, hold on.
Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on.

REM – “Everybody Hurts”


At the last aid station I was reminded of one of my phobias – dropping something into a port-a-potty. Sunglasses, my phone, gloves, etc…


Each day I would be phobic at least once.


Day 1 in the bag:

Ride time 6:35, 102.7 miles from our hotel, 15.6 mph avg, “out time” 8:16, 7742 ft. of climbing

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