BFC 2013 Women’s Champion: Ruth Sherman
(a.k.a. Ruthless), Spencer, NY
Time: 2:07:37 (Ruth defended her 2012 BFC Title!)
(Ruth raced in the Women’s Cyclocross, age class 40-99)
Team: (Stan’s) No Tubes-Corning
Stan makes a tubeless tire sealant compound, wheels and tires in Big Flats, NY
Age: 54 (as of BFC 2013 race day)
Occupation: Ecologist, teaches and does research at Cornell University
Cycling & Athletic Experience: It’s hard to believe for a repeat champion but Ruth didn’t start cycling competitively until she turned 48! “I used to play a lot of basketball but I retired from that because it was so physical. I decided that while my knees were still intact I should walk away from that sport and try something else.”
Cycling Experience over the past year: Ruth won the American Ultracross Championship Series, which required travel to at least a half-dozen states, including: MI, GA, NC, PA, IN, WV.
She says, “I didn’t do much road racing last year, did mostly off-road stuff, Black Fly-type stuff.” With regard to the rising popularity of gravel grinder races Ruth says, “You (BFC) guys are ahead of the times.”
She still does training with local riders and team members as well.
Any Special Training? Still training the same way – “I just try to get out on my bike a lot.” Ruth rides with a big cycling group and it seems like she really rides for the fun of it, “When it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it. It’s my social life now. There’s lots of good hilly dirt roads around here so we ride those a lot. We mix it up, doing leisure rides and training rides.”
Cycling Goals: Wants to focus on off-road, might try some mt biking, “I’m more interested in endurance-type races instead of short, technical stuff.” Plans to do BFC.
Why the BFC? “I’ve been trying to recruit some more women (to the BFC) at some of these gravel grinders I’ve gone to. I’ve told them that it’s very well organized and it’s a good payout. It’ll be good for the race but bad for me ‘cause they’ll probably beat me. I keep getting older and the competition keeps getting tougher. I always promote (the BFC) when I see people at races.”
How is the BFC different than other gravel grinder races? “Others I do tend to be longer, often 100k, and include some single track or crazy obstacles.”
“The reason I like the BFC – it’s not that there are a lot of women but that there are a lot of racers and I can race with any of them (men, women, old, young, etc.) as opposed to sanctioned races where you can only race with those in your category. So, I like that it’s non-sanctioned.”
How can we improve the BFC? “No suggestions. It’s pretty well run and organized.”
Talk about defending your BFC title – how difficult was it and how did it feel to do that? “It was close! My teammate (Vanessa McCaffrey) almost beat me. Fortunately she got a stick in her derailleur in that last stretch and it slowed her down.” Ruth adds, laughing, “At least that’s what she said.”