Cycling is a community like your family or your workplace, which is another way of saying “I can’t avoid the assholes.” But the community, despite its dysfunctional parts, grinds along like a very old Toyota Camry with 350,000 miles. It’s not very fast, it’s not very sexy, and it’s not very efficient, but it gets you where you want to go.
Everyone focuses on the Camry, its mileage, the dent in the back that you got in the parking lot and that (as of 2016) more than 23 people have left business cards under the wipers that say “Fix bumper dings! $25.” Or they focus on the driver. He’s old, he’s not very good, and he drives 65 on the 405, which would back up the freeway for miles if it weren’t already backed up for miles.
But it takes more than the driver to make the car run, just like it takes more than the profamateur old fellow bike racer to make the cycling community go. One of the people who makes our cycling community go is Sherri. And as of March 17, that’s DOCTOR Sherri to you, pal.
I don’t know how many people have gotten their doctorate from UCLA while selling crotch cream and straightening handlebars in a bike shop, but there can’t be a lot of them. And the number shrinks even more when you consider that Sherri had to overcome a minor obstacle or two, like the time her brain broke and they had to saw open her skull and put in another bag of sand.
But what I do know is this: When it comes to encouraging, to helping out, to being ready with a pat on the back and a “shut the fuck up and get back on your bike you whiny little bitch” no one’s as good Sherri. No one’s even close.
She’ll patiently listen to your 15-minute angst-filled soliloquy about 23 mm vs. 25 mm and then draw it to a close by kindly sticking the on-sale item in your hand and running your card. She’ll hand you up the water bottle as you totter towards the turnaround, dropped with a 12-minute gap and another 30-mile lap to go. She’ll be at the shop at 5:30 AM to make sure the bagels, cream cheese, donuts, coffee, and heavy cream are ready so that you’ll have a 3,500-calorie breakfast for your 500-calorie ride. She’s not only smart enough to do the math, she’s kind enough not to remind you of it.
And when you need her, you really need her, she’s always there for you with a hug and a smile and a heartfelt “You can shut the fuck up now, I’m not your mother.”
While caring for the tender sensibilities of countless self-absorbed cycling weirdos, Sherri somehow also managed to get her Ph.D. in forensic pathology. She once told me in detail what that was, but all I got was that it was like being a doctor for dead people. So it cracked me up when, after a friend announced that she had successfully defended her dissertation and passed the turkey-carving portion of her examination, a bunch of people posted on Facebag asking if Dr. Sherri would check out their this or their that.
She will, honey, but when she does she finally won’t have to tell you to shut the fuck up.
Congratulations, Sherri. I wouldn’t be able to grasp how you got a UCLA Ph.D. in four years if I didn’t know how smart, hard-working, and dedicated you are underneath all of that charm. You’ve made all of our lives better. Now get out there and heal the dead.
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