By Susan Dunlap
Silver City Sun-News, N.M.
Kathryn Bertine, 38, didn’t know when ESPN gave her a reporting assignment in 2006 that it would lead, eventually, not only to a career in women’s cycling, but also to a documentary about gender discrimination, plus a book.
Her documentary, “Half the Road,” will be screened at the Besse-Forward Global Resource Center Auditorium at WNMU following the Stage 4 race in downtown Silver City.
When Bertine worked as a print journalist for ESPN’s website and magazine, she was already a professional triathalete.
Her editor asked her to spend the next two years in training to see if she could become an Olympic athlete and compete for the gold. ESPN wanted Bertine to blog about her experience.
“I had no idea at the time it would lead to such an all-encompassing love for the sport (of cycling),” Bertine said.
Bertine tried out different sports to see which Olympic sport would suit her.
Eventually she found her way to cycling and once she did, she said she was hooked. One of her earliest cycling competitions was the Tour of the Gila.
“It’s really special for me to come back to Gila, where it truly started for me on a larger stage,” Bertine said.
Bertine said that for her first race in the Tour of the Gila, she managed to finish and that her results were somewhere in the forties.
“Not that bad,” Bertine said, laughing. “For a first timer. Just getting her feet wet, yet humbling all at the same time.”
As Bertine continued to race, she began to notice discrimination within the sport.
She claims the discrimination can most strongly be felt for women cyclists in opportunities, distance limitation and the prize purse.
“I kept having this conversation in my own head,” Bertine said. “I kept saying someone should make a documentary about this, then OK, maybe it’s me.”