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Episode 33: Riding in the Courage Classic with Bernie Gehris

by | Jul 8, 2021 | Podcasts | 0 comments

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Bernie started riding for research after his son passed from a brain tumor. This will be his 27th year riding in the Courage Classic raising funds for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at The Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Building their beautiful young family, Bernie and his wife Connie could’ve never imagined that what they thought was just asthma in their two-year-old son was actually a tumor in his brainstem keeping him from breathing.

After Nathan passed away, Bernie dove into medical research and became involved with The Children’s Hospital, mostly with fundraising activities. One day, at their daughter’s pediatrician’s office Bernie noticed a sign-up sheet for the riding in the Courage Classic, a bike ride benefiting the hospital. He thought he would do it just once…

“That bike really was therapy for me. When you’re out on a road bike for hours at a time, everything can go through your mind.”

Bernie Gehris

Bernie found that long hours on the bike gave him time to think and provided a therapeutic outlet. It was his way of coping with the grief of losing his son. What he thought would be a one-time event turned into a 27-year tradition. Fundraising for and riding in the Courage Classic became more of a passion when Wheels of Justice was formed.

Wheels of Justice started as a group of legal professionals riding in the Courage Classic. It is now a group of over 200 people from many professions and the proceeds raised from this group go directly toward the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD).

“There’s something else the bike taught me… the first few miles I’ve ever done don’t feel very good. But you get to a point and it all clicks, everything feels better, your body is releasing the endorphins… in real life it’s that way, some things hurt to start with… with any new project there’s a reward at the end, but you have to first get through the hard part.”

Bernie Gehris

Highlights from this episode include:

  • 2:07 Bernie’s experience cancer.
  • 4:53 Life’s circumstances…
  • 7:28 Nathan’s favorite toy.
  • 8:50 The whirlwind of Nathan’s diagnosis.
  • 12:07 The latent aspects of a cancer diagnosis.
  • 12:58 Everyone grieves differently.
  • 14:15 Grieving and marriage.
  • 17:29 Bernie’s first ride.
  • 21:58 Bicycling as therapy.
  • 25:58 Life changes.
  • 29:52 The beginning of Wheels of Justice.
  • 30:17 Knowing your why and the power of teams.
  • 32:48 How to register and donate to the Courage Classic.
  • 33:24 Training for the Courage Classic.
  • 34:18 Biking as mental therapy.
  • 34:48 Getting past the part that hurts.

Links mentioned in this episode:

A new episode is released every second and fourth Thursday of each month.

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Riding in the Courage Classic with Bernie Gehris

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