2010-10 Cheryl McDonald

Our Focus this month is on Member Cheryl McDonald

So how’d I get into cycling?? Do I have a story for you? I started out as a spinning instructor (& I’m still teaching today) & decided it’d be fun to try outdoor riding. I had help along the way from an AX rider (not a member of this club) who said he’d help me purchase a road bike but would be on my own to develop my own skills because I’d be too slow for him! So… determined to pick up cycling I was encouraged by Pete from Knapp’s to join the local cycling club. I had the cardiovascular ability but needed to develop it into riding with a group. My first ride was with Knapp’s for 25 miles, no cycling shorts & just a tee shirt. Ouch! I asked Pete when the SAG would be around to pick up my sorry self but I managed to finish the ride.

The rest is history. Enter Princeton Freewheelers. I began riding for fun as my training was saved for the gym. I started riding with Bob & Norene Barish who always made it a destination ride. The destination was a great food stop! Once we went to Belmar to Klein’s Seafood Restaurant & stopped for lunch & frozen custard too. Sounds great, huh?I learned never to do that again unless I wanted to suffer with stomach pains on the way home.

I also encouraged one of my spin students, Laura Lynch, to come join the club. After some nudging she finally joined & is to this very day a ride leader for the club. She created the Hill Slug rides that have become an institution in the club. You go girl!

Life took a turn and I lost my job in Princeton & started a long commute to Morristown. Hey, when life gives you lemon you make lemonade. I still wanted to ride during the week so I found the Morris Area Freewheelers who I rode with during the week & saved my weekend rides for PFW. There are only hills where the Morris group goes & I began to really like climbing those hills. As a result, I became stronger & started to ride with Ed Post on the B+ Cranbury flat rides. My training was now on the bike instead of the gym. I hung on for dear life for most of those Cranbury rides & Ed was gracious a lot of the times to stay back to pull me back to the start.

Fast forward to today. I’ve learned the only thing in life that is constant is change. I was lucky enough to find a job back in Princeton after commuting to Morristown for 2 1/2 years. I started to lead rides for the fast B group out of Rocky Hill, now the Rocky Hill Raider ride led by Jane Corwin. However, I started to get slower due to some overuse injuries so I decided it was time to enjoy the scenery while cycling instead of always looking at the wheel ahead of me & wondering if I was going to make it to the finish. Instead of giving up, I changed course & am now leading slower B rides out of Pennington on many Tuesday nights & some Saturday’s. I’m enjoying all that cycling has to offer, including the camaraderie of the club. Our club is different in that we are a social club (I believe due to no cue sheets…it forces everyone to stay together & get to know each other!) & I am honored to be part of it. Thank you to all who have encouraged me, especially Al Lowich, & to all who have allowed me to grow as a cyclist and as a person as well! Keep those wheels spinning!

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