Trek Women

Jennifer Polo

Name:Jen Polo
Hometown:Yardley, Pennsylvania
Occupation:Mother
Age:32
Favorite Food:Chocolate and peanut butter, they were made for each other

“Take that cancer!”

That was Jen’s mantra last September as she crossed the finish line at the Danskin Tri, her proudest moment to date. She pushed herself in ways that she never thought possible. Jen certainly has aggressive goals, but armed with a new Equinox WSD bike and the proper tools, she will be sure to achieve them.

Nick Name (and how you got it!)

Jen - I have never really been a Jennifer - it has always conveyed a lot more formality and grace than I have. Anyone who knows me would agree with that! Now I also answer to Mom and "hey you" a lot.

Favorite place to ride

Currently - Fripp Island and Hunting Island, SC. The night before I wrote this, I was able to take a ride from the beach, up the island and through the state park and watch the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean as I rode.

Describe the day you learned to ride:

I was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan (my son wants me to add that this is where Derek Jeter grew up). Our next-door neighbor, a much older man, decided that he would help me learn to ride without my training wheels. I was very determined to ride that shiny red bike. I practiced and practiced. I finally got it. Then mom made me come in for dinner - hamburgers - why I remember that, I don't know? I do know that as soon as I was done with dinner I was back out there until it was too dark to ride anymore. From then on I would ride all the time; even if it was just from our driveway to the neighbor next door, just to say, thank you.

What are the most interesting things you have seen while on your bike?

A deer standing right in my path on the road. Both in Pennsylvania and especially on Fripp Island in SC there are a lot of deer. Where I am in SC the deer are protected so they are very calm and in the early evening come out in droves to stand in and along the road and yards.

I have also seen the Atlantic Ocean on both sides of me as I ride. There is a long bridge connecting Fripp Island to the state park on the other side. As you ride across, it as if you are riding right through the ocean because it is on both sides of you.

Also, a deaf rider in the triathlon I did last year. I was right behind her. It was my first triathlon and I wanted to make sure I was following the biking rules. She was riding on the left side of the road and there wasn't room to pass her on the left. I was happy she was out there and biking so strongly. I just didn't know how to signal her that I wanted to pass!

Where you grew up:

I was born in Cincinnati. I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan when I was two. I then moved to Arvada, Colorado just before I turned seven and spent the rest of my childhood there. My parents still live in Colorado.

What is the best part about living in Yardley?

The best thing about Yardley is the small community feeling. The town has a small town, community feel and has a lot of open space and land surrounding it. Yet, you are directly between Philadelphia and New York. You have all the resources of the big cities at your disposal all the time. You get the suburb and country feel without sacrificing the benefits of having a city nearby.

Favorite Meal:

Such a tough question… I love cooking and trying new ingredients. I like so many meals. I'm always willing to try new things. I love seafood – salmon is my favorite fish. Really, any meal that uses fresh and healthy ingredients could be a favorite. But, I have never turned away a good dessert; I am a big chocolate lover. Chocolate and peanut butter – they were made for each other.

When you are not on your bike, what are you doing?

What am I not doing? Because it is summer and my kids are home we are doing a little of everything. Because both my kids were in school full time last year, the summer is our time for adventures together. We are swimming, playing baseball, taking field trips to museums, plays, parks, the library - you name it!

Most admirable women: famous or not:

Any woman throughout history or today who has challenged the notion of what women are capable of doing. Women pushing the limits has given us a lot of progress throughout history and is what gives kids heroes.

Favorite memory on your bike:

As a kid, before a driver’s license, my bike was my freedom. I'm quite the bookworm and I remember riding to the library in the summers with an empty backpack and then biking back home (up a big hill) with a backpack stuffed with books. I can't imagine trying that today. I'm hoping I can pass both of those things on to my kids - the love of reading and the love of biking.

Occupation:

Homemaker. Or as my son would put it now, "Mom."

If your bike could talk, what would it tell you?

"Get me a new seat!" Oh, wait, that's my butt talking, not my bike. I think my bike would probably say, "I am meant for speed and distance – don't be afraid of me, I am meant to be afraid of you!"

Who or what motivates you?

My kids motivate me. I want to be the best person I can be for them. Knowing that they have had to live with a mom with cancer at such an early part of their lives, it makes me want to be stronger and even more of a fighter. I have a lot of living still to do. Also, the women in Team Survivor motivate me. Each of them has their own cancer story and they are all strong women who are showing themselves not to believe in limits.

If you could choose three superpowers, what would they be and why?

Flight. I love to travel and see new things and new places. Plus, seeing the world from up in the air – how small things are – really gives you perspective.

Accelerated Healing. This is a natural for me. Having a type of cancer deemed incurable and knowing that it will relapse would only make me want to be able to heal it faster. Plus, accelerated healing abilities might push me to take more risks with my training.

Ability to Morph Time. Having gone through chemo twice and being reduced and limited in what I can do only makes me want to speed up those times and then be able to slow down time when spending true fun quality times with my family and friends. Those are the times that I want to cherish in the long run, not the bill paying or laundry folding.