Culture

Bobby & Jens: World champion and Olympic medalist Mari Holden on staying busy, spreading the love, and hiding her medal in the underwear drawer

The cycling ambassador extraordinaire gives a sneak peak at USA Cycling’s new Let’s Ride initiative to get more kids on bikes.

It’s always been hard to keep up with 2000 time trial world champion Mari Holden, and her life after cycling is no different. But old pal Bobby Julich, who trained with Holden as a junior at the Olympic Training Center, persuaded her to sit down for a chat with co-host Jens Voigt.

In this episode, you’ll learn about Holden’s early start as a competitive triathlete, the rocky politics of the Olympics selection process, and her emergence as one of the greatest time trialists of her generation. She also describes the mindset that helped her turn disappointment into the motivation that led her to repeated podium finishes in races across Europe, six national championships, and ultimately a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The Olympics were a seminal moment for Holden and the sport. “Being a woman in cycling in the United States, my family and friends didn’t know what I was doing, and the media wasn’t [covering women’s cycling], so no one knew where we were racing,” she recalls. “But the one thing everyone understood was the Olympics.

Also read: Pinarello dives into gravel with Mari Holden

Holden, who describes the nail-biting moments of that time trial and the all-out effort she made to take the world championship just two weeks later, raced for several more years before retiring. She’s now splitting her time between her role as community director at USA Cycling, ambassador for Pinarello, and the leader of a popular Zwift wellness ride for Canyon Ranch.

Today also features exciting news about USA Cycling’s new Let’s Ride initiative, which Holden is spearheading toward a summer 2021 launch. This grassroots program, which she unveils in this week’s episode, involves a nationwide effort to seed bikes in underserved communities and engage cycling coaches to mentor young cyclists. Learn more about Let’s Ride and how you can contribute by tuning into “Bobby & Jens” via the link on this page.


“Bobby & Jens” is a new podcast from VeloNews starring former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt, and featuring conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.

Send your questions and “Shut Up, Legs!” votes to BobbyandJens@VeloNews.com or @bobbyandjens.