Pactimo Rider: Sandy Holt

Pactimo Rider: Sandy Holt

From Ironman to loving the quiet peace of Gravel

For nearly 20 years, Sandy Holt of Boulder, Colorado has been an active triathlete, getting started in the sport by a brother. "An older brother, actually. He bet me I couldn't beat him," she laughs. "So we did a spring triathlon together."

At that time, Sandy had never even ran a 5k, let alone done something like a full triathlon, and her bike was a beat up mountain bike that she'd ridden around her college campus. After a few more triathlons she moved onto a road bike, and then eventually a tri bike.

Fast forward to today and Sandy is proud to be a multiple Ironman finisher. But, those days are long gone. "Unfortunately, I suffered an injury and can't run anymore. But I wanted to stay active, so I went to cycling."

Sandy Holt, Colorado road cyclist

In the photos above, Sandy is wearing the new Ascent Aero Jersey ($125) with locking zipper and pocket bellows, and the Alpine Thermal RT Arm Warmers ($50).

Feeding her competitive nature comes by racing on the road with the Boulder-based Full Cycle women's team. "It's not necessarily a racing team. I race. And some of the women race. But, it's more about being involved in the community and getting more females outside, and on bikes."

She admits she races in the most nonchalant fashion, but when asked to clarify she says, "Last year I just did road. Crits. Road races. Time trials. I didn't do any of the omniums. It was a stage race or a stand-alone crit. That sort of stuff." Sandy also says she didn't do that well, but it's hard to believe the fit thirty-four year old, who looks like she could ride the legs off most hardcore cyclists.

Sandy Holt, Boulder, Colorado cyclist

Sandy is hitting gravel in the new, super lightweight Tellus Jersey ($75), Tellus Bib Liner ($115) and Tellus Shorts ($120). The entire kit weighs in at just 12.5 ounces.

When the topic of gravel comes up, her infectious smile grows even wider. "Being a triathlete and road cyclist I don't mind being on the road, but one of the best things about being on gravel is the absence of vehicles. You can kind of take in the surroundings more. You can appreciate what's around you more. And you just get a better feel for how you feel and what's surrounding you. It's unbelievable. And, now I just kind of feel like, it is in my wheelhouse."

Sandy Holt, Colorado cyclist

When pressed about her plans for 2020 she again she downplays her incredible drive as an athlete. "Well, I'm used to ten or twelve hour days," she says thoughtfully. Then she casually reveals an itinerary that would make most weak in the knees. Among her extensive calendar for the year is a 170 mile, one-day ride across her home state of Florida, plus the 144-mile version of SBT GRVL in Steamboat, Colorado. "And then to see if I've improved from last year," she laughs, "I'll probably do a couple crits, a couple road races. Just to give it another chance, to see what I think."

Colorado cyclist, Sandy Holt

For an early morning ride, Sandy is wearing the new Ascent Aero Jersey ($125) and Alpine Thermal RT Arm Warmers ($50) with the extremely versatile Keystone Vest ($175).

Sandy accompanied Pactimo for our Spring photoshoot in Trinidad, Colorado, located about three hours south of Denver along Interstate 25 and sitting almost directly at the Colorado/New Mexico border. When asked about the gravel riding we did for the shoot, Sandy immediately flashes one of her broad, pretty smiles. "It's a hidden gem. It's unbelievable. I can't wait to come back," she says, eagerly. One of the favorite experiences she describes was the first day of our shoot, west of Trindad where barren roads wound peacefully through stands of trees that leant an almost alpine feel to the high desert landscape. "And tall peak views in the background," she adds. "It was just gorgeous. And no cars at all."


Words by Tony Kelsey / Photos by Adam Pawlikiewicz