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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

1 Post tagged with the olympic_medalist tag

I had a hard time thinking of a title that covered all of the items in this post. I think I got it...


I got a note from Susan Williams (Yes, THAT Susan Williams - Olympic bronze medalist, triathlon 2004 Olympic Games) a couple of weeks ago asking if I was going to pre-ride any of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race course in July? If so, would it be okay if she joined the group? (Be sure to click on both hot links about Susan. One is a story of the race and the other is a nice podium shot with her daughter Sydney.)


Of course!


She missed our first July pre-ride because she was vacationing in Mexico for 10 days with her family. We hooked up last Friday and headed up to Twin Lakes for a pre-ride of the Columbine Mine climb.


Below is a photo of the gang at Twin Lakes. Left to right: Roy Gatesman, Dave Newman, Susan Williams, Ernie Wintergerst, Jeff Bruno, Scott Ellis, Stewart Pomeroy and Todd Kornfield. (Roy, Todd and Stewart work at Peloton Cycles, my favorite bike shop.)




Catching up with Susan, she is enjoying time with her two daughters, Syndey and Elysia, along with husband Tim. She is coaching other athletes to be successful out of her home base of Littleton, Colorado. She stays active by doing some racing and training.



The weekend before the Leadville race she is doing the 200-Mile Colorado Wild West Relay as one member of a six person team. While not optimal training and rest for the Leadville race, she's enjoying doing different kinds of events and staying fit. For Leadville, her biggest goal is to enjoy the event. (She says her mountain bike skills are still in the development stages, especially the downhill.)



The group enjoyed the Columbine climb that is not quite as enjoyable on race day. A map of the event can be found here, with the Columbine climb being the high pointy spot in the center.



On race day, there is two-way traffic on the road. In some places the road is in good shape (like where the hare is crossing below at about 12,000 ft. elevation) and in other places there is still snow.





Okay wildlife experts is this a common hare (I think this is not a rabbit, but is a hare - verify for me) or a snowshoe hare? Seems big for a snowshoe hare, but those are incredibly furry hind feet. What do you think?



Above the hare photo location on the mountain, remains a giant snowfield. The group estimates it is at least a couple of feet deep and we wonder if it will be gone by race day.



Roy is beginning to cross the snowfield and Todd is pushing through on the next photo. Roy and Stewart are taking in the view post-snowfield in the third photo below.









At the top is an old structure that reminds me of how hard life would have been in the rich mining times of Leadville. Imagine living and working at 12,600 feet in the late 1800s. Tough people, really tough.





A second view at the top shows surrounding peaks and clouds threatening to drop rain. Time to get off the mountain.





We did beat the rain and had enough time to stop into race headquarters and introduce Susan to Merilee (the race director). Susan is so humble and unassuming that she didn't bother to tell the race directors of her past accomplishments. I have no problem telling others about Susan's great accomplishments - she rocks!



So, what is her training secret for Leadville?



Turkey leg at Q4U in Frisco...





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