The Potomac Pedalers Volunteer Party will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, 6-10 PM at the Tenley Bar & Grill. We invite ALL our 2016 volunteers to join in celebrating a great year – there will be light appetizers, a cash bar, and a potluck dessert. This year, our special Volunteer Award goes to Karen Berlage – please read on for a tribute from one of her fellow Club members and ride leaders.
My Friend Karen Berlage
by Tim Guilford
I have known Karen for about half my life, at least 25 years. In all that time she has been a steady valuable presence in Potomac Pedalers. She is both the Maryland Ride Coordinator (a big thankless job) for the BB, A, and AA ride levels, and a prolific ride leader (the fun part). In all that time, through years of over 10,000 miles per year, a variety of bike crashes and surgeries, a few different bikes, hot, cold, rain and occasional snow, she keeps coming back for more.
I first met Karen at one of the Tuesday/Thursday training rides starting from Laytonsville, MD. Keeping up with Karen was a sign that you had really done something. Any number of male riders were humbled by her riding ability, myself included. We had a nice little group of Maryland “A” riders that rode together most weekends (except during tax season when Karen had deadlines to meet for her clients). I learned a lot about the area roads riding with that group. Karen seemed to have all the roads memorized and thus could never get lost. I have been riding with her all that time and enjoy it more each time.
I remember one trip to Colorado where the altitude really got to me. On the climb from Vail to Copper Mountain Karen was kind enough to stick with me, the beginning of our non-aggression pact. All the way up that climb she made sure I kept going. I would probably still be out there if it were not for her. More recently, I was riding out in Gettysburg when I had a catastrophic failure of my from tire, a huge sidewall split rendering the tire useless. In that area, no bike stores were open that Sunday. My wife was unable to rescue me. I was stuck. I thought, maybe Karen can help me, but I was hesitant to call. She was recovering from a serious injury, a result of a terrible crash a number of weeks before. I called anyway, to see if she had any ideas, and/or was both able and willing to drive and willing to come pick me up. Of course she did. As the song goes, “that’s what friends are for.”
I can think of no other person more worthy to receive honors from her fellow riders in Potomac Pedalers than Karen. The members of Potomac Pedalers owe her a great debt of gratitude for her selfless years of service to the Club and its members. I am both happy and proud to call her my friend.