Extra Miler: Gail Kocher

Gail has been one of my clients for almost a year and is currently also competing on my fitness challenge team- cheer her on with me! In addition to working full time, Gail prioritizes her health and takes multiple group fitness classes, trains with me once a week and commutes to work on her bike. She is the true definition of going the extra mile to live a healthy lifestyle. When we first met, she mentioned that she would be taking a VBT bike trip to Germany and Austria. Although that trip was still 6 months away at the time, I knew right away that she would be an inspiration to me and that we’d hit it off. Anyone who plans their vacation around biking is my kind of person! As one of my most consistent clients, we have also become friends and I am so thankful for the influence she’s had in my life.

Leading up to her 10 day bike tour, we focused on building lean muscle, cardio endurance, core strength and stretching. When the time came for her trip, we were both confident in her physical strength and endurance. The 10 day VBT tour started in Germany and continued to Austria and Switzerland. They stopped at wineries and museums, biked through charming small towns, by beautiful lakes and even up in the Swiss Alps. It’s not hard to understand why she called it “the trip of a lifetime!” I was eager to hear all about her trip when she got back so we met for lunch at Goddess and the Baker to catch up. She showed me all the beautiful pictures and told me about each day over avocado toast and coffees. I am so excited to share her experience with you!

When did you get into biking?
I started biking into work with my coworkers and participated in Chicago Bike Week in 2012. Chicago is a great city for biking and I have continued biking to work ever since.

What is your favorite memory from your trip?
We were biking in the Austrian Alps and despite the rain and sleet, I made it up the 2nd big hill. It was a huge sense of accomplishment!

What was the most challenging part and how did you overcome it?
The most physically challenging part for me were the hills. Personally, traveling and navigating a foreign country was challenging, but was a great experience for me to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people.

What was the best thing you had to eat and drink during your trip?
My family is of German Heritage so I enjoyed all of the traditional German comfort food, especially a fondue restaurant in Germany and fresh homemade spatzel in Austria. Most restaurants made their own beer and I would typically order helles or lager.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in doing a Biking Tour?
Make sure you are physically conditioned for all of the biking, walking and hiking. Sign up for a realistic skill level so you set yourself up to succeed. The tour company does provide some equipment, so take advantage of what they offer, pack the essentials and plan on doing laundry in the hotel so you don’t over pack!

What’s next for you??
I would love to take another trip at a different location. Biking, and exercise in general, is just another part of my life now!

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Head to her blog, PaleGail, for pictures and a more detailed account of her trip. Taking a bike tour is now on my own bucket list- I’ve got my eye on New Zealand, New England, or Italy!

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