An Interview with Sherry Cardona
We had a chat with Sherry, about life in general, her passion for riding bikes, and talked about her season. She even told us about her superpower.
If a stranger would ask you to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I am Sherry, a passionate Colombian cyclist, coffee nerd, and Haribo lover. Always up for an adventure and new challenges. I enjoy pushing my limits and taking unbeaten paths. When I am not cycling I like to be creative with my Buzzalong Youtube channel.
What does bikepacking mean to you?
Bikepacking means for me adventure & freedom! Discovering new places and riding my bike without a preconceived route or a fixed one. Escaping the day-to-day stresses and experiencing the world via the path less traveled - that's backpacking.
What type of bikepacking do you like the most?
I like lightweight bikepacking on and off-road.
How do you train for races and events?
I try to squeeze in at least one hour of training after work on weekdays. Typically, I ride more structured sessions on the turbo trainer or do functional exercises. On weekends, I do long rides, at low intensity, or lately with the dropping temperatures some gravel.
How do you handle your time management?
Likes most people I have to juggle a bit to get work, social life, family & cycling as a very time-consuming hobby under one hat. I try to combine cycling with other things whenever possible e.g. cycling to visit my family and friends on the weekends, commuting by bike, and going bikepacking during my holidays.
How do you plan your races?
I am quite spontaneous, and probably less organized than I should be in this regard. When I see an event that spikes my interest I just go for it. I like adventures and love to face the unknown. I look at the race course, the checkpoints, and logistics, then start preparing my setup for the event, load the route and toe the line. This led to some interesting surprises this year which made me want to reconsider this approach for the coming season.
What does your preparation look like?
My training wasn’t all that structured since I started cycling a bit over 2 years ago. For efficiency I do a lot of training sessions indoor with TV and music, to motivate me during these hard sessions. I enjoy long rides on the weekend with my partner. We often ride our favorite routes near Amsterdam and stop for a coffee break & a croissant as a special treat. I plan my training, and generally follow intuitively a polarised training approach without using a fixed plan or having a coach. I love tinkering with my bike setup before every event - depending on the course length. There is always a learning curve and I am trying to get everything as aero as possible while keeping it reliable, comfortable, and functional.
How was your season?
This was my first season racing ultras, after a few bikepacking trips and a long ride from Amsterdam to Paris in 24h the year before. I decided to give it a shot and "Race around the Netherlands" to try something new and have the challenge to look forward to, during the winter. It was such an amazing experience to explore the country I just moved to there 2020. The community and atmosphere around the event were amazing. After that, I couldn’t wait for the next one and signed up last for the B-hard ultra-race last minute. It was an unbelievable surprise, with little knowledge about Bosnia, I was amazed by the stunning landscape and the kindness of the people. The cherry on top was Transiberica! It added a new dimension of the challenge being self-routed, with 3600km much longer and nearly 50.000m elevation extremely hard. But it also created some of the best memories. I will never forget hiking over the Pyrenees with my bike for a (supposed) shortcut and the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in the Spanish mountains.
Race Around the Netherlands 2022: 1st Woman and 30th overall in 5d 13h
B-Hard Ultra Race 2022: 1st pair in 69h
Transiberica 2022: 1st pair 10d 18h
Learnings from this season?
The learning curve was enormous! You experience limits, grow and move them physically but even more so psychologically. Every event was different and I was amazed by how much I was able to push myself and overcome my fears. I learned that preparation is key, especially checking and planning your route for self-routed events. Optimizing your bike and gear set-up and gear is important but trying and testing it even more. Not everything that looks like a good idea on paper and works on a sunny weekend ride, holds up well in an ultra. Ask yourself, do I need this rather than might it be useful to avoid carrying too much stuff? Instead of adding more things to my kit, I started taking things off with every event.
What are your plans for next year?
Next year I am going on a bikepacking trip to Colombia around my hometown area to explore the amazing Colombian mountains. I have my eyes set on Paris-Brest-Paris and several bucket list ultra-races in Europe. Also want to spend a bit more time off-road on the gravel bike but I am generally more the spontaneous type, keeping it open and having fun riding bikes.
What's your superpower?
Staying positive in difficult situations.
If you want to know more about Sherry give her a follow on Instagram. Sherry's IG