Pensacola Cycling Classic

October 16th, 2018 by tcoffey

Team Athletic Mentors Tim Coffey goes on a road trip from Brevard, NC to Pensacola, FL


With Hurricane Florence ripping through North Carolina I decided I wanted to skip town and go race my bike somewhere sunny and warm.  A week before the race I watched this massive storm gain strength in the ocean off the coast and decided it wasn’t a good idea to spend the weekend in Brevard while the storm rolled in.  I was looking on USA Cycling and I found a stage race in Pensacola Florida. There was a solid payout and with forty people pre-registered for the race I decided to sign up.


I was able to get one of my collegiate team mates to come and race with me.  Shortly after we both signed up we realized me needed to find a place to stay. We looked at staying at a campground on the ocean but after looking at the weather and the heat advisories I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea.  I emailed the race director and he was able to find a place for us to stay. Now with a place to stay and money on the table the race was a go.


We loaded up the car on thursday after class and headed south.  The drive ended up being about eight and a half hours counting time for stopping.  After a long drive we rolled into Pensacola. Our host family greeted us and we went to sleep right away.


Saturday morning came very early.  Our alarms went off at 5:30 am and it was time to get ready for stage one of the race.  Stage one was a three mile time trial. After a thirty minute warm-up I was ready to go.  I felt super strong during the time trial with my Giant TCR kicking a lot of TTl bikes butt and ended up in 4th place,  12.38 seconds back from first. I knew going into stage two that I would need to win to make up lost time.


Stage two was a 50 mile road race through the rolling hills of northern Florida.  There were a lot of attempts of a break away trying to go but nothing stuck. I burnt a lot of matches trying to break away from the field but nothing stuck.  After about two hours of racing the whole field was still together and we were flying down the 1k long finishing straight with a group of about 30 guys. In the massive group sprint finish I ended up finishing fourth, topping my sprint off at forty miles an hour with my TCR pulling off another top 5!  My result in the road race was enough to stay in fourth overall and I did not lose time. After the road race I was down 16 seconds from first place but I still was in the running for the overall.  


The final stage was a forty minute crit.  I did a little warm up before the race but it didn’t take too much riding to get warmed up because the heat index was over 100 degrees.  During the race before mine a guy crashed in the last corner and was hurt pretty bad so my race was delayed because of it. When my race finally started it was full gas from the gun.  


The race leader attacked about four laps in and another guy went with him.  Everyone in the peloton looked around at each other and no one chased. I moved to the front and pulled for two laps trying to bring back the breakaway.  After pulling for two laps I pulled off the front and everyone sat up and looked around at each other again. This kind of racing is called negative racing.  It’s not fun when this happens.


After being frustrated with the negative racing, halfway through the race I got a flat tire and almost fell in a corner.  I rolled to the start and grabbed my backup wheel and I was back into the race. After doing one lap with the new wheel the peloton came upon one of the guys that were in the break and he was on the ground all bloody.  Turns out while he was sitting on the other guy’s wheel he had his head down and went straight into a barrier. After seeing the guy on the ground the field lit up and the speed got ramped up since the second place was open.  


We ripped around the course for another ten minutes there was one lap to go.  The field slowed down in the first two turns and then the next three were super fast.  We went into the last corner and everyone was fighting for position. I ended up finishing around twenty-fifth in the field sprint which was good enough to keep in fourth overall and I went home with some cash.  Talk about an awesome weekend, I had a blast.


Athletic Mentors Multisport Team Suiting Up for Success in 2018

February 9th, 2018 by Athletic Mentors

Athletic Mentors — the training and team management company responsible for elevating Michigan endurance athletes to recognition as “podium performers” — is ramping up for another strong showing for the 2018 race season.

The storied team of Michigan amateur triathletes, cyclists, runners and Nordic skiers will be suiting up with support from numerous community partners this year.

Training the next generation of multisport athletes is an activity that will continue to receive increased attention in 2018, building on workshops held last year for youth triathlete training and cycling clinics.

“Our mission is to introduce young athletes to the joy of endurance competition as a lifelong motivation for healthy living,” said Cheryl Sherwood, General Manager and co-owner of Athletic Mentors.

“It’s one of the many ways our sponsors are making Michigan a better place for active living.”

Back for a second year in the presenter role is Greenware, a Kalamazoo packaging company that caters to restaurant, event and entertainment service with an exclusive line of annually renewable drink cups, lids, portion containers and on-the-go boxes made entirely from plants. Parent company FabriKal is privately held and home to more than 800 employees. For Greenware, the AM team is an opportunity to encourage the community to enjoy the outdoors and keep it green.

After a season break, OAM NOW is back in the fold as a major sponsor. OAM NOW offers urgent orthopaedic care from the best orthopaedic surgeons available. With 30 experienced physicians and PAs specializing in motion; spine; joints; hands and feet, OAM is uniquely qualified to give immediate diagnosis and customized care to athletes. With all diagnostic technologies onsite, OAM NOW offers fast, unified care whether you’re on the couch or on the trail.

Rounding out the premium level of support are three community-minded West Michigan companies.

Gauthier Family Home Care provides elder and home care with an emphasis on independence and an improved quality of life. This family-owned business understands the struggles of in-home care and works with clients to create tailored care solutions. Their compassionate, professional caregivers go the extra mile to provide dependable comfort.


Total Plastics Inc. distributes thousands of diverse plastics across the US. They provide top-quality products with superior service and swift shipping. Dedicated staff, value-added services, and quick turn-around set them apart.

Agility Sports Medicine serves the Kalamazoo area with comprehensive orthopedic physical therapy. They employ one of the most heavily-certified staffs in the region, featuring two Board-Certified Clinical Specialists in Orthopedics and the only Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy in Southwest Michigan.

Additional team support comes from the following: Infinit Nutrition, Smith Optics, Giordana, First Endurance, KLM Fitness, Custer Cyclery, Speed Merchants Bike Shop, Giant and the Cross Country Ski Shop. Learn more about our sponsors.

Athletic Mentors continues to serve as the title sponsor for the team as well as the management company that operates it.

“We’re committed to keeping endurance athletes of every age moving. And nothing motivates a commitment to training more than a race,” Sherwood said.

The team regularly operates free introductory clinics to help amateur or would-be endurance athletes prepare for local races such as the GR TRI, the Cycling Lawyer Criterium, or the Michigan Titanium, mother of multisports.

Athletic Mentors, founded in 2002, continues to expand at a record pace. In 2016, it purchased a new home for its Richland training facility and fitness drop-in center. Last year, in partnership with the Wings West facility in Kalamazoo, Athletic Mentors opened a second center to keep young hockey and figure skaters in top form with off-ice training programs.

AM also offers adult fitness programs, classes, metabolic testing and sports camps. Previously, Athletic Mentors has managed the award-winning Bissell cycling team, the Priority Health Team and OAM NOW.

Support Kim Wood of Speed Merchants

February 9th, 2018 by Athletic Mentors

Kim Wood, owner of Speed Merchants cycling shop, was recently diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Our hearts are with him and his family during this incredibly tough time. Please join us in our support.

Speed Merchants supported Athletic Mentors when it first managed a start-up pro cycling team and has been there supporting every team we’ve managed since. They are dedicated to promoting active living in Michigan and have done an awesome job of taking care of our athletes and clients.

We are profoundly grateful to Kim and his team for his support. He has given so much to our community, and we’d like to return the favor.

Donate to Kim and his family at:

2018 GKSA Spring Training Camps

January 18th, 2018 by Athletic Mentors Staff


Session 1:

Wednesday, March 7th – Monday,April 19th
There will be NO sessions during spring break week

Session 2:

Monday, April 23rd – Monday, June 4th


$400.00 per session for GKSA Members
$445.00 per session for NON GKSA Members

If BOTH sessions are purchased before March 1st the cost is $750.00


Training Schedule





Juvenile 4:00 – 5:15 4:15 – 5:15 4:00 – 5:15
Intermediate 6:15 – 7:15 6:30 – 7:30 6:15 – 7:15

Wings West Partners with Athletic Mentors to Help Young Athletes Get the Edge at New Training Facility

August 1st, 2017 by Athletic Mentors

Coach Mark Olson pictured during K-Wings workout. Olson will now also head the Wings West off-ice training programs.

Come September, young athletes in Kalamazoo will be able to “get the edge” with world-class off-ice training programs thanks to a new partnership between Wings West of Greenleaf Hospitality Group and Athletic Mentors, the area’s premier athletic training organization for ice sports.

The first phase of the new training facility at Wings West, located off 9th Street in Kalamazoo, will focus on programs developed for the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA), the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association (GKSA), and the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League.

“We are excited see the new space come together,” says Danielle Brandenburg, General Manager of Wings West.

“The investment in the space will be well worth the positive impact it can have on youth sports in the area.”

The partnership has been met with enthusiasm by local hockey program leaders.

“Injury prevention is a key advantage to off-ice training with Athletic Mentors, along with helping athletes learn how to live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition programs,” said Kristen Crandle, President of GKSA.

Frank Noonan of the KOHA says his organization is “really looking forward to the competitive edge we will gain by working with the utmost premier hockey trainers in the area.”

Athletic Mentors will be working with the coaches to identify the overall goals of the teams and then design programs based on strengths and weaknesses. Mark Olson and Cheryl Sherwood, founders of Athletic Mentors, stress the importance of the customization of their programs.

AM Hockey operates summer hockey camps in dryland training shown here at the Richland facility, as well as on-ice speed skating and skill drills.

“Every athlete is unique and requires a customized strength training and skill development program that helps them achieve peak performance both individually and within the team dynamic,” said Mark Olson, head coach and co-founder of Athletic Mentors.

The AM Hockey coaches are no strangers to training on-ice athletes. Athletic Mentors works with the Kalamazoo Wings in-season to stay game-ready. The company is also widely known for its popular on-ice and off-ice hockey camps led by Olson, a former D-1 player, and key coaching staff Eddie Ward, former NHLer, and Stacie Barber, speed skating specialist. The summer programs blend performance-focused mental and physical conditioning with precise skill development to produce athletes who are ready to move up to the next level.

By early 2018, Athletic Mentors hopes to extend programming to meet the demand for community-wide health and fitness programs beyond hockey. Currently, the company offers sport programs in basketball, volleyball, soccer and football, as well as multi-sport training and coaching. Most recently, it has introduced individual fitness programs with metabolic testing, TRX bootcamp and Yoga classes at its Richland facility.

“We’d love to bring healthy living and recreation to the wider community of young athletes,” said Cheryl Sherwood, co-founder of Athletic Mentors and manager of the multi-sport team.

“It’s important to stay game-ready when you’re a team athlete. But it’s even more important to stay fit for life. And that starts with training smart.”


For more information on Wings West, KOHA, or GKSA, please visit To learn more about Athletic Mentors and their programs available, please visit

Wings West, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association, Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League, Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association, and Adult Hockey leagues. Built in 2002, Wings West is a committed partner in bringing youth and adult ice sporting events to the Kalamazoo community.

Athletic Mentors’ Alumnus Stefan Noesen Scores First NHL Goal for Ducks

December 8th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors
Athletic Mentor Hockey Camp Alumnus Stefan Noeson scores his first NHL goal for the Annaheim Ducks

Athletic Mentor Alumnus Scores First NHL Goal 3 Games Into Career with Anaheim Ducks. Image and screen shot of headline from

Congratulations  to Athletic Mentors’ mentoree and alumnus Stephan Noesen who did us proud last night scoring his first NHL goal for the Anaheim Ducks.

“Stefan has been an outstanding member of Athletic Mentors’ Hockey Camp and has worked hard to build his strength, speed, and agility after injuries. His unstoppable nature made this moment a triumph over past tribulations,” AM Coach Mark Olson said. “We’re ecstatic for him!”

According to a press release published by the Anaheim Ducks, Noesen buried a one-timer from the slot in the second period of Anaheim’s eventual 6-5 shootout victory over the visiting Hurricanes, raising both fists to the rafters and breaking out in a beaming ear-to-ear grin. Wednesday night was just his third NHL game with the Ducks.

“I saw the red light and threw my hands up,” said the 23-year-old winger. “It was all the emotion from two long years coming at me all at once.”

Watch Stefan’s First NHL Goal

According to a story by Adam Brady for the, those two years were more than any athlete should be asked to endure. Noesen  battled through not one, but two devastating injuries that each kept him off the ice for extended periods of time. First was the torn ACL, MCL and meniscus suffered soon after being acquired by the Ducks in 2013, and a year later there was the partially torn Achilles that put him on the shelf for most of the 2014-15 campaign.

Brady wrote that in an odd way, Noesen had an impact on the Ducks franchise even before he was acquired by Anaheim. Ducks GM Bob Murray has acknowledged that Anaheim wanted to take Noesen with the 22nd selection of the 2011 NHL Draft, but the Senators snatched him up one pick prior. The Ducks quickly swung a deal with Toronto to send that 22nd pick to the Leafs for the 30th and 39th, which became franchise cornerstones Rickard Rakell and John Gibson.

Two years later the Ducks got Noesen anyway, dealing Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, Noesen and a 2014 first round draft pick they used to select Nick Ritchie.

Read the full story of Noesen’s triumph here:

Draft components for future Rice and Sosnoski profiles

August 12th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors

Carley Rice

Rice began training with AM in 2008 as an 8th grader. Her natural talent developed immensely, allowing her to play on the state soccer team as a sophomore and junior at Gull Lake and train with the Olympic Development Program. She was a four-year letter winner and two-year captain with one state championship under her belt, so she had substantial leadership experience entering the collegiate level at Detroit Mercy.

Training for NCAA Division 1 competition isn’t an imaginable feat until you’re placed in the position. Competition wasn’t solely for opponents now; Rice understood that in order to consistently make the starting squad, she had to go beyond.

Her hard work paid off rather quickly, as Rice saw time in all 20 matches her freshman year with eight starts. She entered her sophomore year with two assists, looking for further improvement. In 2014, she started 15 games and made her first collegiate goal in a victory against Bowling Green.

In addition to her climbing success as a collegiate athlete, Rice maintains a 4.0 GPA in pre-dental/pre-pharmacy.

The Detroit Mercy women’s soccer team finished second in the Horizon League conference this year, making their first appearance in the championship game since 2006. Watch Rice and the Titans next year as she enters her junior year strong.

Kendra Sosnoski

Sosnoski carries on the tradition of being a Michigan Tech Husky (her father played football), so she was aware of what it took to be a Division II athlete. She left high school as an all-conference, all-district and all-area player, a former MVP and senior co-captain of the same Gull Lake championship squad Harma and Rice were on.

Sosnoski plays on the Husky defense, and is majoring in biology. Their 2014 year finished well, with a confident winning record and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Look for her training through the rest of 2015 for her third year at Michigan Tech.

Custom Coaching Packages Available! (Mistake blog, but might be useful!)

August 11th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors


Right now most of us are bundling up, looking out our windows at snow covered streets, watching temperatures drop and wondering when the wind chill will cease. A lot of folks are so busy thinking about the weather right now, they’re not prepared for later. Tri-season will, in fact, be on us before we know it.

We all know there’s nothing better than hitting the bike, the road, or the first open water swim of the season and feeling the work we did all winter paid off. Hitting the tri-season prepared for races gives you the edge. A lot of athletes stick to the same training plan they always use, and each summer they hit the circuit with few gains. Certainly we’re not all equal out on the course, why should we believe that about the gym?

There’s no better way to train than to have a professional help build a personalized training plan designed to maintain and build on your strengths while addressing weak areas and promoting your growth.

Why not let Athletic Mentors, and their coaches, help you have the best tri-season of your life? With over 20 years experience, AM coaches will tailor a daily training plan to help you meet your goals. Not only will you receive the personalized daily training plan with online access and a consultation with a coach, but athletes who opt for the Coaching Subscription will also get baseline and progress testing, an in-pool training session, one-on-one coaching sessions, and nutrition planning!

For more information about the Custom Training plan with a discount for GR Tri participants, click here.

For more information about the Coaching Subscription, click here.

Let this be your best tri season yet. Treat yourself to workouts this winter for a summer of success!


There’s no Y in Tri: Free Clinics to Help You Meet Your 2015 Tri Goals

April 28th, 2016 by Athletic Mentors

For many, the idea of a triathlon is intriguing, but daunting. There seems to be so much to consider and even more to learn. Stop asking why and start asking when. No one ever got to the finish line without ever lining up at the start, right?

In conjunction with the Grand Rapids Triathlon, Athletic Mentors will present you with all the information you need to get you to the starting line of your first…or next…triathlon and see you all the way to the finish. You won’t want to miss any of these amazing (and FREE) opportunities!

Starting this Saturday, January 17th, you have the opportunity to get the inside scoop on training, nutrition, equipment, racing tips, transitions, and rules from athletes who have been there, and back again (9-10:30am). Following that session, athletes looking to improve their efficiency in the water can learn about swim techniques and training (10:30am-noon). It’s an amazing chance to get an inside look and idea of what you can expect as you begin to train.

Later, on February 28, the clinic returns to offer you the opportunity to really hone in on specific skills and strategies on both the bike and run portions (February 28, 9am-11am). Then, on May 30, just two weeks from the race, you can participate in a Race Day Clinic which will answer all the questions you have about actual race day, from wave information to parking and spectator access.

Finally, one week from race day, June 7, mentors and coaches will take you on a pre-race swim and ride to get you acclimated to the course. This is the perfect opportunity for athletes new to the tri to quell any last minute nerves and take advantage of one last training session and on-course tips from the pros!

These clinics offer an amazing opportunity for the new and returning tri-athlete to learn techniques from the pros. Clinic attendees also get special deals on Athletic Mentors Custom Training Plan and 20% off the video stroke analysis!

All clinics (except pre-race swim and ride) are held at the downtown Grand Rapids YMCA and are completely free! You must register to participate.

To get more details, check out the Grand Rapids Tri site here.

To register for the clinics, click here.

April 24th, 2016 by Katie Whidden USAT certified coach

It’s that time of the year when most athletes will sit down to write goals for the next year. The first step in the process should be to take a look back at the season that just ended and analyze what worked and what didn’t work. You should have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses were. Most athletes mistakenly think that improving their biking ability, even if that is their strength, is the easiest way for them to improve their overall time. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Of course coaching can help prevent this situation because they will ensure you work to improve your weakest of the disciplines.

Goals should be process focused and not outcome focused. A good goal should not be impacted by external factors. No one has control over a goal that can be determined by weather or who is competing in the race. An example of a good race goal is patience. This could mean that you will focus on appropriately pacing yourself during the first half of an ironman bike, even when all your competitors are flying by.

After you create a list of possible races and have thought about some realistic but challenging goals then you can start putting together the specific steps you will take to achieve this. If your overall goal is to improve your half iron time by 15 minutes then you need to determine what you need to work on in the off season to accomplish this. This might mean early morning strength sessions, increasing your swim frequency in December and January, or training with a power meter to better realize gains on the bike.

Most importantly write the goals down! Writing goals down forces you to clearly define and clarify them. According to Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, 80% of Americans don’t have goals, 16% do have goals, but don’t write them down and less than 1% actually review them on an ongoing basis. Actually putting the goals onto paper and reviewing them at least quarterly will help you accomplish new levels of success in the upcoming season.