Hi, I’m Sherry Schulz and I am a handcyclist. This will be my 13th year doing RTR. I use the handcycle due to a disability I had at birth called spina bifida. I love sports of all kinds. I grew up here in Colorado and never really got to know the quaint small towns of our wonderful state until I did Ride The Rockies.
I did it the first time as a training for a six-day handcycle race I was doing in Alaska. I knew if I could ride my bike up the Rocky Mountains, I could complete this race. Turns out the climbs were even tougher on Ride The Rockies. Before I handcycled, I was a wheelchair racer. I started competing at age 17, fell in love with racing and continued for over 25 years. I competed in over 30 marathons including The Boston Marathon (even winning it twice). I traveled the world with my racing — even making the Paralympic team to Seoul, Korea in 1988. When I decided to retire from road racing, I realized a competitive spark still burned in my heart. I missed training and competing. It was in the late 90’s when the sport of competitive handcycling began. Of course, I was up for the challenge and began to learn about handcycling.
At first, handcycles were way more complicated than my racing chair. All of those gears and cables were beyond my knowledge. The bike had three wheels like my racer, and the wheels themselves were similar–but that’s where the similarities ended. The handcycle had 27 gears, and hand cranks in which you use to pedal the bike. I found the gears to be great when climbing a hill. I just had to learn when to shift them! There’s also a lot more pieces to put back together when traveling. I loved the speed I felt gliding over the paths. I could keep up with friends on the flats–but the uphills were always slow…no matter how many gears I had!
My first Ride The Rockies was in 1999. I was apprehensive that first time. I wasn’t sure I could do it — but I did. I had my sag wagon moments like everyone else. However, the accomplishment I felt after completing it was tremendous. I was hooked. It has become my summer tradition. The years I wasn’t able to do it, I felt like I missed the family reunion.
When I’m not riding my bike I teach second grade at an elementary school in JeffCo. In the winter I love cross country skiing and in the summer you will find me on my handcycle.