By John Philip Wyllie
Years ago, Hugo Bermudez Sr. dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist and made the physical and financial sacrifices necessary to realize that dream. Shortly before entering his first professional race his racing bicycle was stolen and his plans were dashed. Times were tough back then and raising enough money to replace the stolen bike was pretty much out of the question. So his racing dreams got put on the back burner and in favor of getting an education, raising a family and making enough money to support that family comfortably.
Bonita Vista sophomore, Hugo Bermudez Jr. hopes to realize the same dream that was once his father’s. Armed with a similar desire and passion for the sport, he may one day get there.
“I played baseball and basketball before I got into cycling at the age of 11. I like the speed of cycling and the rush that comes with gliding down a hill at 40 m.p.h. Testing your limits on the road (in long races) and the (element of ) danger that comes with sharing the road with cars makes it exciting.”
Bermudez particularly enjoys the fact that this is a sport that he can enjoy with his father. The two of them can often be seen together training on their road bikes as they push themselves to the limits of their endurance.
“The distances that I race usually range form 10 miles to 50 miles,” Bermudez said. “The one that I do most often is a 12 mile race on Fiesta Island. But the larger 50 mile races like the Julian Challenge and the Mt. Palomar Challenge are more fun. The Fiesta Island course has a 10 degree rise, but the others a very hilly. I think I do better on the more challenging courses.”
He gets a real feeling of accomplishment when he powers past the other cyclists on the path up the hills. His training routine is simple but effective.
“I don’t spend a lot of time with weight training, but I do a one hour training on the bike every other day and I make sure that I have the proper nutrition especially on race days. It is mostly a lot of carbohydrates, Gatorade and Power Bar drinks.” Bermudez has found that the first 20 minutes of the race are a struggle, but after that his second wind kicks in and he no longer feels the pain.
The biannual Rosarito to Ensenada race is one of his favorites. He will be racing in it tomorrow and then again in April.
“It’s a 50-mile all terrain race with lots of hills, valleys and turns. In September it can be pretty hot there, so it is a challenge. About 10,000 people will show up for it, but a lot of them are just there for fun. I want to avoid being in the back of that group at the start of the race because that is where the accidents usually happen.”
Currently a Level Five racer, Bermudez hopes to one day participate in the Tour Du France and the Olympics. He is definitely making progress. In his first Fiesta Island race several years ago, he finished well back of the pack. Most recently he finished third. If he ever reaches his ultimate goal one thing will be certain: His father will be right there cheering him on.