Elizabeth Coaching Cycling Studio gets ready, set to open

Loretta Holmes and business partner Thom Figueroa know how to win competitions like the Iron Man and through cycling training they help others get to the winner's podium.

Together, they will open Elizabeth Coaching and Cycling Studio Nov. 1 at 3664 Niles Road in St. Joseph. The business is a natural progression for Holmes who has been coaching people on cycles for about a year. 

The former spin instructor says she found cycling to be key in taking training to the next level.

Her business partner, Thom Figueroa, will work primarily with the "hardcore" athletes, while Holmes says she will work with those starting out and others who want to improve.

To help athletes get where they want to be, the Cycling Studio has 13 Wahoo KICKRs, which holds a bicycle without the rear wheel. Those in training bring their bike to the studio, take off the rear wheel, put the bike in the Wahoo KICKR and hang their wheel on the wall.

The KICKR's resistance is controlled by the App on an iPhone or iPad. The software used has the ability to bring up race courses from around the world, allowing athletes to train for a specific course as if they were there. The course also can be seen on a 100-inch-television screen in front of the bike. The KICKR measures heart rate, calories burned, power used and other information that can be used by the trainer to develop the regimen needed to propel the athlete forward.  

During an initial visit the trainers will give athletes a threshold test to determine what level they are at and help decide what training is needed.Training sessions run for a full hour. The first visit is free and the second visit is $20. Subsequent training is sold in packages.

The studio is in about 1,000 square feet and next spring the business also will feature gear such as helmets and offer a shoe fitting room. Information about proper nutrition for the athlete in training will be another service found there.

Holmes has been a competitive cyclist since 2008. She also competes in Aquabike races, a triathlon without running for those who may have suffered knee or hip injuries but still want to compete. In 2013, Holmes placed 1st in Michigan, 2nd in the Midwest and 14th nationally in her age group in Aquabike.

Her coaching business grew out of her frustrations as an athlete in training. As she says on her blog: "I have personally experienced is lack of training programs specifically for women cyclists and novice swimmers. I understand what it is like to swim in open water for the first time. I understand what is is like to recover from a cycling crash. I understand the fear of coming in last. I understand the act of balancing motherhood, being a wife to my husband, responsibilities at work, and finding time to train."

Her success in the 2013 AquaBike season, also inspired her to open her own coaching business.

Holmes' motto is "Life is a beautiful ride," but few would describe her ride in life as an easy one. Abandoned as an infant at an orphanage, she spent the first year of her life there without the loving touches babies need. She went on to become the second adopted child of a previously childless couple. Shortly after Holmes was adopted her mother found out she was terminally ill and she died when Holmes was 4. The father who adopted her shortly remarried to a woman with four children of her own. Holmes describes her family life as toxic, one she has overcome through working with young people, especially her two children.

In fact, the coaching business is named after Holmes' daughter Jamie Elizabeth. "When we were trying to name the business Thom said we could keep the name of my coaching business since it obviously meant a lot to me. He was very kind to do that."

Source: Loretta Holmes, Elizabeth Coaching and Cycling Studio
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