I started cycling as a way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors, but I quickly progressed to challenging mountainous centuries and other long distance events. My longest event was a cross-country tour riding from San Diego to Charleston, South Carolina, in just 23 days. Next a friend picked up on my abilities and competitive spirit and suggested that I sign up for a local circuit race.
Racing seemed like a logical, natural progression, but I soon learned that the training and riding tactics that made me successful in long-distance events did not prepare me for the shorter, more intense efforts of racing. After a couple of frustrating years trying to master the art of racing, I decided to hire a coach. Once I worked with a coach and followed a periodized training plan, I quickly moved from “pack fill” to podium finisher and winner. I have since worked with several coaches and understand how valuable a coach can be.
Recently I have taken a lead role in the Carolinas Cycling Association Women’s Development Program, a grassroots effort to bring more girls and women into the sport of cycling and racing. I often lead women’s-only rides near my hometown, teaching riding and racing clinics to riders of all abilities and sharing my love of the sport with others. I enjoy all types of riding, including criterium races, road races, gran fondos, mountainous centuries, time trials, and the occasional cruise on my mountain bike or 'cross bike.
Based on my own personal experience, I believe it is critical to understand the unique strengths and challenges of each athlete I coach, including the inevitable off-the-bike life challenges that face us all. Ongoing, honest communication between athlete and coach is critically important, as I provide a unique blend of firmness and directness balanced with empathy and nurturing support. It is my goal to ensure that each of my athletes understands the big picture of what it takes to achieve their goals and the steps along the way.
I always encourage my athletes to set goals (event goals in particular) to provide extra motivation when the training gets tough. I also encourage my athletes to step out of their comfort zones, with baby steps if necessary, to continue to grow and open the door for new opportunities.
- Category 1 racer with the Carolina Cycling Team
- Former Masters Nationals Time Trial Champion
- NRC and International Stage Races
- UCI races
- Elite and Masters Nationals Championship Races
- Numerous silver and bronze medals from Masters Nationals criteriums and road races
Marianne was great, and this was a real learning experience for me. Not just training. But also how much I can commit to the bike (52, MD, husband and dad, not a bike racer really). She had to keep me near, but not over, my limit. That was not easy. As the event neared and I tensed up she helped with the psychology. And I sure needed that when five miles after I fixed the second flat my front tire exploded (thankfully at the rest area). I like Marianne's low key attitude and clear expectations, but with some flexibility. Coach is a better investment than expensive carbon whatever. - Adam, North Carolina
Marianne is awesome! We love her. She has brought a whole new level of fun to workouts. I especially love Marianne's emails after my workouts. She knows when I've worked really hard and is always encouraging. She doesn't just give platitudes like good job, etc., but really looks at what you did and specifically notes things that maybe I did not even realize myself. - Kerry, North Carolina
Love working with Marianne! Very knowledgeable and nice. Super responsive. She went above and beyond the call of duty when I first started to take me on some rides and introduce me to the cycling community. Would highly recommend her! - Lark, North Carolina
I have been so impressed with Marianne as my coach. She obviously brings so much experience as a top-level cyclist, and I admire that. However, her strength is the mental piece, where she knows when/how to push or be firm when I am doubting myself or am nervous about trying something new. Finally, she is fun to talk to, so our weekly conference calls are always a good time. - Heidi, Ontario
Marianne has been great about answering my questions and providing more detailed explanations when I've needed them. She gives me immediate feedback when I post my ride data and then more complete review when we speak directly. When I have misunderstood a workout (which happened once) she was careful to provide the detail I needed in subsequent rides. She is also great about being flexible and giving me some choices for weekend rides that fit my training and my schedule. My riding has improved in the three months we have worked together, and I've very excited about my progress. Marianne is very encouraging but is not afraid to call me out on something or make me aware of a weaker element of my work so I can address it. - Robin, North Carolina
I owe thanks to a lot of people for turning me into a triathlete over this past year, but today huge thanks to Marianne Holt, who gave me a private bike lesson last week. For the first time I was able to keep up with my tri training group on the Lake Norman route! I was standing on the hills, using my drops on the descents...I almost looked like a real cyclist! - Cara, triathlete, North Carolina