M2 Athletes

Cathy Johnson, age 64 and looking for more!  Good stuff here.

Tell us about your athletic background?  I have no experience with organized sports. I’ve always been athletic and loved sports as a kid, a passion that continues to this day. However, I’m of the pre-Title IX era for women’s sports; organized sports for girls just didn’t exist when I was 2014 Cathy Johnsongrowing up. I loved playing baseball in the street (Go Cards!), basketball, football, running around and, of course, I rode a bike. I started running in the late 1970’s in St. Louis, my hometown, and competed in hundreds of races over the next two decades, including five marathons.

How long have you been cycling?  I needed to find a replacement sport after my knees decided they didn’t like pounding the pavement any more. I had moved to San Francisco and heard about the AIDS Ride from SF to LA. I bought a hybrid and decided to give cycling a try in late 1998, when I was 48 years old. I’m now 64 years old and going strong! I have found my passion.

Cathy, you are one of M2 longest tenured riders, tell us how/when did you first find M2?  I was ready to take my cycling to another level but didn’t really know how. I met a group of cyclists, now my good friends and cycling club, training for the AIDS ride. One of them knew you were giving indoor cycling classes at Gorilla Sports. This was in January of 2002. I started coming to class once a week and noticed an immediate improvement in my cycling and I’ve been with you since. I’ve attended two classes a week for many years.

You have participated in diverse cycling events – tell us about your events/results?  I’ve been fortunate to ride my bike in several countries including South Africa, Australia, France, Italy, Germany and Canada. I have competed in the Gay Games in Sydney, Chicago and Cologne, winning multiple medals (several golds) in my age group in the road race and individual and team time trials. I have ridden in over ten multi-day fundraising rides to fund services to people with breast cancer and HIV.

Event plans for 2015?  I’m planning to ride in my first Gran Fondo in April and will, most likely, do another multi-day breast cancer fundraising ride in October. I may ride 65 miles on my 65th birthday in August (does that count as an event?). Otherwise, my year remains open, other than to keep training, of course!

How many times/miles do you ride per week?  I ride four times per week—two indoors at M2’s studio and outside on Saturday and Sunday. My outdoor mileage varies by the season and what my training focus is. Saturday is usually a 3-5 hour ride and Sunday is more in the range of two hours.

You’ve been training with M2 classes for 12 years now, what is the primary attraction/benefit that keeps you coming back?  I am certain that my consistent, twice weekly, training at M2 has made me a better cyclist in many ways. Having power meters enables me to measure and quantify my training and keep my focus. Cyclists of all abilities, ages and goals perform the same workouts at his/her own level. Whether one’s personal goals are to improve fitness, become a better competitive road racer or triathlete, ride centuries, multi-day rides or just get faster, performing the workouts given makes you better and faster. I’ve found the workouts have definitely improved my pedal stroke and have made me an all-around better cyclist. I am, by nature, competitive with myself and enjoy pushing my limits. I love the intensity, variety and structure of the workouts. That I have maintained, and even improved, my speed and endurance as I’ve gotten older, has me convinced that M2 training is a necessary, and fun, part of my training regimen.



Virgilio Pigliucci is a strong rider who trains at M2. Originally a non-swimmer in the sport of 2014 Virgiliotriathlon, Virgilio is now better focusing his competitive efforts on cycling, where he needn’t begin each race at an immediate deficit!

I have enjoyed watching Virgilio’s determination and enthusiasm in executing his workouts, and seeing his wattage numbers improve dramatically. Virgilio’s strong race results thus come as no surprise – E5 to E3 in a matter of months.

Tell us about your athletic background? I started running at age 6. Track and field background. 400mt, 400hs was my specialty. Best result 3rd at Libertas Allievi (under 16) national in Italy, 400hs national team under 18.

Best 400m:  49.76, age 17. Best 400hs: 53-xx.

Quit running during college and picked up triathlon later when I moved to the US. I can’t really swim and I love cycling so much that I am dedicating myself to this sport and see where my legs can take me.

How long have you been cycling? I started late, 2008. Casual about it until 2011, a bit more serious until 2014. Really serious :-)…since March 2014.

How/when did you first find M2? I was a casual triathlete back in 2011 representing GGTC (Golden Gate Triathlon Club), I was loving it but looking for faster people to train with and an environment with more focused folks.

You have competed in Triathlon and Cycling – tell us a little about your events/results?

2011 qualified for 70.3 Worlds (Top 30 finish in AG).

2012 a year of running injuries and discovering M2

2013 Top 3 in AG for several major events (IM70.3 Oceanside, Wildflower, Silicon Valley Olympic). Some bike racing in E5 (4 races, 4 2nd places). Finally IM Tahoe with a 6th place in AG (missed Kona spot for 1 place) on a 6-8hrs/week training plan from M2.

2014, joined the Dolce Vita cycling team and decided to go single sport. Cycling all out. Raced from March to September and got from E5 to E3. Podium pretty much at every race and won a few, Chico crit, Chico TT, Chico overall, Warnerville TT.

Competitive plans for 2015?  Race strong in the E3 and land in the P/1/2 field by the end of the year. Obviously my goals are set high, but I love the training, I know the numbers (watts) that I will need to do, and I like the fact that I can do the necessary training without a huge time commitment that I do not have.

2014 Virgilio sprintHow many times/miles do you ride per week? 6 to 7 rides per week, major sessions are 2 indoor workouts at M2 (high quality wattage-based sessions, usually 1.25hrs – no time for junk miles) and 2 long ones during the weekend. M2 easy spins and gym work in between.

How does the training at M2 help you to reach your goals?  How might others benefit? I am not a PRO rider… I need to work 8 to 9 hours per day at least and I want to maintain a social life. This means that I only have very little time during the week to get stronger and M2 provides exactly that. I can go in, quickly set-up the CycleOps bike with my measurement numbers, start riding and after 15-20mins start hitting my intervals and all the good stuff M2 sends our way. I love doing steady work on the 400-series bikes with constant power output while the 300-series are awesome for sprint/strength work and all out effort (yes those big cycleops can take over 1400 watts without moving an inch – normally you can only do this type of work outside and I don’t have the time). 

Alessandra Sales comes to us from Rome Italy and is a very talented rider.  When Ale first came to M2 she had been cycling for less than a year, did not know a watt from a widget, and had no group riding experience.  Fast forward a scant 2 years and Alessandra is a Cat. 2 rider (not for much longer) who will be riding in National Racing Calendar events.

I remember being impressed at her wattage numbers in class and her obvious strength in one of our outdoor M2 Basic Skills Clinics.  It is funny to remember back to that clinic and the other novice riders who struggled mightily to hold her wheel – I had to keep asking this newbie to slow down!
Alessandra’s physical talent is complemented by a love of exercise, and disciplined work habits – it is thus no surprise that her rate of improvement has been meteoric and yet we are only scratching the surface of her potential.Tam West Peak
Tell us about your athletic background?
I played volleyball in Italy from age 10 to age 22.  I participated in my first triathlon in 2012 and first bike race in 2013.
How long have you been cycling?  2.5 years now.
How/when did you first find M2? I first found M2 two years ago, through a top age-group triathlete who had worked with M2 as a coach in the past.
You have competed in Triathlon and Cycling – tell us a little about your events/results? I won a few local triathlon races and competed in the 70.3 World Championships in 2013& 2014.  I also competed in few Northern California bike races (about 15). I podiumed in all of them (except Wente where I got 5th place)

Snelling Road Race win

Competitive plans for 2015? My 2015 focus will be primarily on cycling where I am taking a big competitive step and riding with Ice Pinnacle Racing Team.  We will be focusing on NRC (National Racing Calendar) events.  First race Redlands, CA; Joe Martin Stage Race, AR; Tour of Gila, NM just to name a few.  We will be also participating in some of the classic local races like Sea Otter & Berkeley Hills.  I must say that I am very excited to challenge myself at this level, as well as all of the training that will support this racing.
How many times/miles do you ride per week?  I normally ride 3 to 4 times a week, twice at M2 indoors, and then Saturday and Sunday on the roads, usually between 120 and 170  miles.
How do you find the training at M2?  How might others benefit?  Finding out about the studio and training with M2 has greatly improved my performance, really lifted my athletic training to the next level. Indoor training is ideal for people like myself, competitive with ambitious goals but busy with full time jobs.  Training in a controlled environment with power, you are able to train with specificity and thus increase the efficiency of your training – continually advancing your fitness in a relatively short amount of time (~1.25hr per session)
Is there anything else you would like to add? I really enjoy the support and coaching that have been provided by M2.  I like the variety of the workouts and how they progress in systematic fashion.  M2 has a nice community of athletes, and the people that I have met at the studio have become good friends.  In a short time I have been able to advance from an enthusiastic recreational rider to a competitive athlete racing against top female cyclists.
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