At age 52, we covered our first pro bike race. We’re always late to the party and nobody feels worse than us.
Last year’s Tour of California was an incredibly inspiring and stressful event — which in turn prepared us for our second stage race, the phenomenally inspiring and near-death stressful Tour de France. We digress…
The California stage race was an eye-opening experience in many ways but none more so than Mari. She was at every depart and finish looking bonfire scorching in hot pants or micro-dress, tight top and high heels.
After the third day, being an inexperienced freelancer, I asked those in the know — professional journalist types — who the hell she was.
As a question, it was far more important than “who’s the Spider Tech guy in the break?” or “why is Lance Armstrong on the side of the road bleeding?”
The answer was, Mari Holden.
For those in the know, Mari is not just a sassy cycling cheerleader. Let’s let wiki do the heavy lifting: “She won the world time trial championship in 2000 after winning a silver medal in the Olympic Games time trial in Sydney, Australia. She also won six U.S. championships, becoming the first American woman to win three consecutive U.S. time trial championships (1998–2000) and scoring a double by winning the U.S. time trial and road championships in 1999.”
Wiki failed to mention her hotness which was pretty much unavoidable in California. Now, we mention Mari not because we don’t love our CyclePassion calendar — which we do. But because whenever some blogger — Pat McQuaid hates bloggers! — wants to make him look like a buffoon who just hangs out on the cycling cocktail circuit with glamour girls, they often pick the google image of Pat and Mari together.
Now, personally, we have a low opinion of the UCI president — who was called out for mismanagement not once, not twice, but three times in one week by highly respected Bicycling magazine journalist Joe Lindsey. Then popular blogger Inner Ring ran a negative piece on McQuaid with, yes, the Mari cheesecake shot. Good choice, Matt.
Now, Pat standing next to Mari is arguably one of the few decisions McQuaid has done right. Which does bring us around to the subject at hand. Where do sassy female athletes go when it’s time to hang up the wheels. Mari does coaching, she does nutrition, she does “lifestyle.” Mari was repping some product at the Tour of California and working as hard as the Herbalife ladies at the finish of every stage. Not easy to make money even with an Olympic medal.
Mari has two, count ’em, two of the best legs we have ever seen. They are muscled, toned, smooth and tanned. If at the final time trial in Los Angeles, Mari had said to us “you want help me shop for leather pants or watch Michael Rogers and Dave Zabriskie fight it out?”
Well, leather pants would have won.
P.S. If you still haven’t gotten your Tour of California calendar with photos from Darrell Parks, this is the place.