Johnson City Press: Sherri Cole works at Achieving Balance in her life and other's
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Sherri Cole works at Achieving Balance in her life and other's

W. Kenneth Medley II • May 6, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Society today can sometimes discourage taking credit when credit is due with so many people seeking self-indulgence for mediocre performance. To say Sherri Cole is modest would be an understatement.

She is a mother, business owner, athlete and empowering representative of a demographic that is sometimes downplayed in the “mainstream.” Cole is the founder of Achieving Balance, a business with a mission statement the reads, “to educate, inspire and embolden beginner and intermediate off road cyclists through positive and professional training.”

More importantly she is a mountain biker that represents a demographic that is ultimately driving a multi-billion dollar industry.

Fast Five:

  • Dogs or Cats: Dogs
  • Current Book: I just finished, “Un**** Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life” by Gary John Bishop.
  • Favorite Movie: “Tombstone”
  • Dinner w/any historical figure: Abraham Lincoln
  • Favorite Season: Spring/Summer

Will you tell me a little about your business Achieving Balance?

Achieving Balance was created to give a new way for new, beginner or intermediate riders to safely ride mountain bikes. We do group rides to kind of give a sense of community and to open doors to those who are not used to riding bikes or those who are. We have all levels. It provides a neutral or safe place for people to ride in groups.

Why cycling?

I don’t know it just makes you feel good. It makes you feel clean after you ride, you feel happy. It is like being a kid.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I grew up in Blountville. Nathan (husband) and I live in Johnson City now. We have been here for nine or 10 years. I have not been into mountain biking forever. I started riding a bike for physical therapy after knee surgery. I got on a bike and felt like I was 10, so we rode and it would be for a mile then we would stop and die. Then that turned into 10 miles, 20 and 30 miles and so forth and so on. Cycling has become a life-changing event for us. Cycling has changed our health, our mental outlook and it has changed our community. It has given us a new passion that we didn’t have before that is important to all of us in the family.

You have children, do they cycle?

We have one cycling little child (laughs)…Ryan he is a NICA kid and he also works at a local bike shop. He likes to do it leisurely. He is not really a racer or group rider. He is more like, ‘I want to go ride my bike,’ kind of guy.

How did you become a face for female mountain biking in the Tri-Cities, and what motivates you to bring people into the mountain biking community, especially woman?

I don’t see myself has that, (laughs), at all. When I started riding I was very fortunate. I had Dwayne Letterman and Jeff, and they kind of took me under their wings and taught me how to bike. Not everyone has that. You go out on the trails and you see women in small groups, trying to get through and they look uncomfortable. Then when you put them in a group and they are smiling and they are happy and learning from each other. It is this overwhelming sense of amazement to see what you can do with a group of women.

What type of empowerment do you get from mountain biking?

Empowerment no, it’s community. It is more about community. Men have groups, you know, they have the road club, SORBA and they have things like that, but you do not see woman coming together to be a bigger body. I think that is important, for woman to have voice, a social circle and a safe place.

What type of challenges have you faced?

Starting a business was only that I needed insurance. (Achieving Balance) wasn’t originally intended to be a business. Obviously, there are the financial issues that all small-business owners have to deal with. Really it is just getting the point across that it is not a club; it is not a race team, it is just a community. That has been the biggest struggle.

What is has been your motivation to build that community?

It is about building a bridge. Mountain biking has brought so much happiness and health to our family. I really just want to pass that along; that and growing a sense of community, bonding with other women and teaching them how to be safe and how to have fun, and that it is not a man’s sport. It is very much a woman’s sport and that it is exhilarating and exciting. It is dangerous but it is just incredible.

What are the challenges that you face on the trails?

(Laughs)…Balance and that is why we are all about balance right. We are trying to achieve balance. Something that is important to me is being able to balance life and being able to balance personal goals, and community goals. Balance is such an important thing in our lives and if you think about it, when you are mountain biking you are achieving that balance. It kind of reflects on so many aspects of your life

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