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Hospitality Restaurateur Bernard Mougel prepares for world championship dualthlon



Hospitality: Bernard Mougel Prepares for World Championship Dualthlon

For some people, turning 50 is the kind of milestone that smarts a little.

For North County restaurateur Bernard Mougel, an Ironman triathlete for 16 years, the half-century mark is just a better racing category.

His birthday isn’t until next June, but Mougel is already looking forward to it.

“I might be able to win the world championships,” he said of a dualthlon that takes place every September. Earlier this month, Mougel competed in the Carlsbad Triathlon and came in fourth in his age group, a minute behind the first-place winner. Had he been competing in the 50-55 category, he would have been first by three minutes, he said.

Although he enjoys the challenge of swimming, it’s his least favorite of the triathlon activities, which also include running and biking.

In September, Mougel will compete in a world championship duathlon in Rimini, Italy. It includes a 10-kilometer run, 40 kilometers of biking and an additional 5-kilometer run.

He qualified for the competition by placing second in a Seattle race in April.

Mougel’s ongoing training occupies most of his mornings, but he spends the rest of his day at his popular Rancho Bernardo restaurant, Bernard’O.

Two years ago, his landlords renovated the Village Shopping Mall, in which the restaurant is located. Bernard’O found itself out of commission for about 20 months.

Through an agreement negotiated through lawyers, Mougel was compensated for lost income. The restaurant continues to be well known for its service and California French cuisine.

His expanded restaurant now occupies a prominent corner of the plaza. The French-born Mougel opened the restaurant in 1992. Before that, he had been with the Rancho Bernardo Inn, where he was director of catering and director of food and beverage services.

It was at the hotel he met his wife, Diana, who worked at the front desk. The couple has two daughters, ages 9 and 15, and live in Rancho Bernardo.

Diana and some of the restaurant’s senior staff manage Bernard’O when Mougel is out of town for duathalon or triathlon competitions.

Mougel didn’t start exercising in earnest until he spent a year in the military in his late teens. He enjoyed running in particular.

The hospitality industry was just as appealing. After first moving to Atlanta, then to San Diego and working at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, Mougel thought a small restaurant would succeed in the market.

Succeeding in the industry, he said, is a simple combination , “good product, good service,” he said. From there, he explained, “Word travels people talk about it.”

According to his friend, Ken Peterson, energy and professionalism are Mougel’s characteristics, in training and at work.

“He runs his business the same way he runs his life,” said Peterson, a local building contractor. “He’s a Type A personality, and he enjoys challenging himself.”

Mougel says his workouts relieve stress. Depending on his training schedule in a particular week, he bikes 100-225 miles and runs 35-40 miles.

If he’s training for a triathlon, he adds swimming to his regimen. He also competes in the San Diego Triathlon Club, which has a race every month.

Mougel is looking forward to Italy, except for the fact that the race area in Rimini is a little too flat for his liking.

“I prefer the hills,” he said.

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