Interview with Sheryl Senczakiewicz

Sheryl is a relatively new rider and, through a new Series called “Mud Chix Newbie Tips“, will be sharing her blogs that cover personal/soulful experiences, general info that she wished she’s learned sooner as a new rider, trail reviews and equipment reviews.

Muddbunnies caught up with Sheryl Senczakiewics to talk a little bit about who she is, and what she’s all about!

Any nicknames?

I go by Sheryl, mud queen, shorty, Short one …. I am not sure if you see a pattern but I am only about 5’0’’ tall.

So tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What is your “day job”?

I am a born and raised Jersey girl. Please don’t associate that with the Jersey shore, I stay far away from those areas and stick to the woods. During the day I take on the unassuming role of captain planet, aka environmental scientist, so I clean up the earth which is pretty awesome.

When did you start riding?

I started riding in 2010, so almost 3 years ago. Time flies when you are having fun!

Where do you ride?
I try and ride as many places as I can, but regularly I get out all over NJ, from jungle habitat to six mile run. I have ridden all over the east coast as well as Colorado and Arizona.

What is your favorite trail?
Locally, I love the orange trail at six mile run, it makes you feel like you are in a star wars movie with the trees flying by while you rip it up. Overall I really enjoy Kingdom trails in Vermont. It is some of the best and most epic single track I have ridden to date. It will not disappoint.

What is your riding Style?

I ride XC but just started dabbling in downhill and am totally hooked! I plan on riding more DH this year and maybe even try a race.

Current Bike(s)?

A Santa Cruz Blur TR Carbon (full suspension), I love this bike her name is Lucy. Also a Neon yellow Specialized Crux Comp for when I jump in on a cyclocross race. An old school Schwinn cruiser for around town, it’s my grocery getter and alcohol cart. Ha!


When did you start racing and what are you plans for racing this season?

I started racing in June 2010, about two months after I started riding. I am currently racing cross country Category 2 and will for the 2013 season. I may upgrade to Category 1 in the middle of the season.

Racing Highlights?

Finishing my first endurance race which was also the longest mountain bike ride I had ever done, 40 miles, with a broken wrist. I was in so much pain and almost quit multiple times during the race but I forced myself to soldier on and with the help of great friends supporting me I finished. I was so proud of myself I broke down in tears when I crossed the finish line.

Favorite race course?

One of my favorite race courses was the Windham world cup race course. It is short but fast and fun. It’s a great combo of torturous uphill and fast fun downhill.

What discipline do you want to try?

I plan on trying downhill this season. I tried it twice last year and had a blast! I cannot wait until I can get back on the slopes to rip it up!

What has biking taught you?

I have gained so much in my life from biking I could go on for hours. I have learned how to let go and live in the moment. I have learned that your mind has far more control over your body than you think and if you tell yourself you can do something, and failure isn’t an option, you will accomplish what you have set out to do. I learned that through every hill I have climbed, every rock I have rolled down and every race I have finished despite stomach cramps or a broken wrist.

Biggest hurdle overcome when riding?

When I started riding I had no idea how to corner or wheelie and so on but after taking clinics and being coached by professionals I have learned the proper way to handle obstacles in the trail. My biggest hurdle is getting beyond my bad habits and using the new skills that I have learned. I am always working on looking ahead and not braking through my corners. I need to let go and trust myself and the skills I have learned take over.

What are your personal riding goals?

I want to be comfortable enough to ride with the trail with a constant flow. My favorite time on my bike is when I am in the zone and listening to the trail. Keeping the bike on the trail but letting the terrain guide me.

Fav place to ride and why?

Wow this is a hard one. I enjoy every place that I’ve ridden but all for different reasons. Jungle Habitat is my favorite place to ride when I want technical riding and Six mile run is my favorite place for flow, pumping, and railing corners. It’s way too hard to choose so I will say the woods is my favorite place to ride.

Fav female to ride with?

I love riding with all my girls but if I had to narrow it down, my girls Tara and Steph when I ride cross country. We girl chat and laugh our butts off the entire time and love to challenge and encourage each other to try new things on the trail. When I ride downhill I love riding with Elinor Wesner. Despite being a pro downhill racer she is really nice, supportive and great to ride with. I love following her lines down the mountain.

Fav male to ride with?

I enjoy riding with most guys since they are pretty entertaining when they try and out-do each other. One of my favorite men to ride with is mountain biking coach Gene Hamilton. He is super positive and encouraging as well as has great advice if you get stuck on an obstacle on the trail.

Headphones or no headphones when you ride?

No headphones, I love immersing myself in mother nature and feeling the flow of the trail.

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs! I have a little long haired Jack Russell, Linus, that is a great trail dog, he loves running in the woods and no one can believe he can keep up.

Clipped in or Flats?
Flats! I love my flats and if you get the right pedals and shoes they stick just as well as clipless not to mention flats help show you where your weaknesses are so you can correct them. I use clipless for racing and to play around but I love my flats.

Shuttle or Climb?
Shuttle! I am not a fan of climbing but am working on improving.

What is your favorite music?
I really enjoy anything with a good beat that makes me happy. That tends to be rock, pop, or dance types of music. I do enjoy some Jack Johnson when it’s time to relax.

Other sports you play, participate in?
I also horseback ride, I have been riding horse since I was 9 years old both competitively and for leisure. Believe or not, mountain biking and horseback riding have A LOT of similarities. One big difference is that bikes don’t have a mind of their own.

Thanks Sheryl!  We look forward to your Mud Chix Newbie Tips series!

The Muddbunnies encourage and welcome female riders of all experience and skill levels to join them in getting down and dirty. Come on, ride like a girl!

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