Mari Holden

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary~ Vince Lombardi

Team Role/Title: Director

Place of Birth: Milwaukee, WI

Currently reside:  San Francisco, CA

Mari got her first race bike when she was 12 years old and raced triathlons until she was 20. She was named Junior Athlete of the Year by the Triathlon Federation in 1991. She made the switch to Cycling in 1993. She was selected to the National Team in her first season and raced the Women’s Tour De France as her third stage race. She had a bad crash in France ’94 after a successful spring campaign and worked her way back to fitness and winning her first National Championship in the Time Trial in 1995. She was not selected to the US Olympic Team after winning 2 of 5 Olympic Trials events and switched gears moving to race on European teams. She started on a German team Euregio Egrensis and stayed in Europe for the next few years racing on German and Italian Teams. During that time she also continued to win the US National Time Trials and also made podium and finally won the National Road Race in 1999. Her favorite events were stage races. She loved the early season racing in Australia and New Zealand, Giro Italia and Tour de France.

Mari eventually won an Olympic Silver medal in the Time Trial and the World Championships in 2000. Her career was hampered by problems with her iliac artery eventually repairing it in 2004.  She retired in 2007.

Five Major race highlights as athlete

  • Olympic Silver Meda 2000l, Time Trial. Sydney, Australia
  • World Champion Time Trial 2000 Plouay, France
  • 5x US National Champion Time Trial
  • 1x National Champion Road Race
  • 2001 Giro Italia Mountain Jersey

TWENTY16 highlights as director

  • Directing the team to 5th place at World Championships TTT
  • Working with Chloe Dygart in the lead up to her double World Championship
  • Overall win at the US Pro Challenge with Kristin Armstrong
  • Directing Alison Jackson to a sprint jersey at Tour Ardeche

What are some of the best and most rewarding parts about managing such a strong team of diverse female athletes?

I enjoy working with the girls because they are strong and motivated and it inspires me when I see them achieving their goals. Emotions typically run high and I like to be able to help them put their performances and efforts in perspective. I think that being an athlete is a learning process and learning how to step back and see the big picture is just as important as training sometimes.

What are some of the most difficult aspects of directing a professional women’s team?

The most difficult thing is that most people don’t appreciate the incredible beauty and intensity of bike racing. It is frustrating that every year is a challenge to find the funds to keep women’s teams afloat. It is a labor of love, and I wish that people could see the sport as professional.

You have a strong history as bike racer, what is it like making the transition to management from racing?

I needed a few years after retiring to finally be able to be in a place where I could be a good director. When I retired I was so burned out. I didn’t want anything to do with racing. But, over the last couple years I realized that I really missed bike racing. It had been a part of my life for so long and I wanted to be able to share what I know with the next generation. I think that if I had tried to direct before now I would have had the desire to be out there. It would not have kept me objective. At this point in my life I just want to be a part of helping the next generation find success. I have no desire to be competitive myself. It is a great place to be. 

What are your ultimate goals/overall vision for the future of the team? The sport?

I would like for our team to continue working closely with the national team to offer opportunities for our girls to race in Europe and develop as cyclists. My greatest wish for Women’s Cycling is for it to be recognized for everything it has to offer. It would be amazing to have some of our girls winning the biggest races in North America and then the Olympics and Worlds.

Who or what has been an inspiration to you in your life?

I believe that my parents are my inspiration. They taught me hard work and dedication from a young age. I grew up with high expectations of success whether it was academic or athletic.

TWENTY16 has an emphasis on education with the initiation of our Junior Scholarship program in 2015.

I strongly believe that we need to support our juniors to be successful in life and sport. Education is such an important part of being a success and I am thankful that we can help support juniors in their efforts. I would love for all our girls to continue racing, but it is not realistic to think that they will all make the National Team. I believe that their hard work on the bike and efforts as a junior should help them into their next life, and I hope that they keep riding whether it is for competition or pleasure.

Your favorite things to do when not directing the team?

  • Cuddling with my dogs (2 Yorkies 5lbs each)
  • Trail running
  • Hiking
  • Drinking coffee
  • Shopping

Favorite Foods: 

  • Chocolate
  • Italian food
  • Pineapple
  • Carrot cake
  • Bran muffins

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