Holloway Down But Not Out

Posted on 20. Aug, 2011 by in interviews

It’s been a tough year for Daniel Holloway with an injury,serious saddle sores and a staph infection. The combination of all these made it difficult to do his job with his Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth team.

“It’s hard, when you go to a race and you’re the go-to guy. Even if you’re not the go-to guy, you have people that are relying on you to help out and do your job. When you go to a race, and already yourself you don’t feel confident, it’s hard to be there.” he explained.

“It’s been really mentally tough. Even if it’s not my day, I enjoy helping my teammates to succeed and not being one hundred percent either way to help my team win races is really hard for me and it’s not something that I like to see. I’ve been trying to fulfill my duties as much as I can, what (DS) Jonas (Carney) has asked me to do, I’ve tried hard in the circumstances, it’s been a real roller-coaster.”

USA Crit Champion Daniel Holloway (KBS-Optumhealth) at the Tour de Nez

USA Crit Champion Daniel Holloway (KBS-Optumhealth) at the Tour de Nez

It was “absolutely” hard mentally not to be able to showcase the Stars & Stripes he won at the 2010 USA Professional Criterium Championships while riding with Bissell Pro Cycling Team.

“That’s what I do, I race my bike and that’s what I’m good at and that’s what I want to do. When these things that you don’t have control over, take control it’s hard to deal with mentally. I’ve had some real good support from Jonas, from my coach and from my family but still it’s been a really hard mental battle. I haven’t won as many races as I wanted to win this year, there’s been a lot of opportunities for me to win bike races, it’s hard to watch those go away and I don’t have an unlimited amount of time to do that. So it sucks.”

So what happened? The 24-year old came in fit to meet his new team at camp, before jetting to the Tour of Malaysia in early March.

“The season seemed to start off on the right foot at the camp, I was strong with the team, I was riding well, my fitness was on the right track. Went to Malaysia, I just had a bike racing accident, broke ribs and all that stuff, I recovered well. Jonas was around quite a bit, took care of me while I was there.”

“Once I was back stateside, it was just a little bit off the bike and as soon as I could ride I was on the bike, even with a little bit of pain. I tested my limits right away to see where I was at and I wasn’t that far off where I needed to be. I went to Sunny King and I got second in the road race before we left to France so that was good for me mentally and I was physically going well.”

Daniel Holloway (Kelly Benefit-OptumHealth) at Joe Martin Stage Race

Daniel Holloway (Kelly Benefit-OptumHealth) at Joe Martin Stage Race

And then in France, the first saddle sore which he had to get cut open. “That was just a downer because I didn’t get to race really the Tour of Brittany, I was just riding along as much I could. I came back to Joe Martin, got my face kicked in, didn’t have too much fun there.”

The saddle sores kept on coming. “And then I just started getting saddle sores a lot more repeatedly, they weren’t just little ones that would come and go, they would grow really big.”

Holloway tried to keep on racing. “Racing Dairyland, I would call myself 60, 70 percent fitness and I won two stages there.”

Right after the Tour of America’s Dairyland, the worst saddle sore happened. “Finally after the fourth one, the hospital took a culture and it came back as a bad staph infection.”

Put on antibiotics, Holloway made his way to Vancouver in early July. “I was already committed to going to BC Superweek, I raced it on antibiotics. I didn’t do terrible there but I didn’t do what I wanted to do and that was to win races there and help my team a little more. By the end of the week, I was just super tired and totally depleted.”

Recovery became a problem. “I came home and after that, it took me the longest time to recover. I was off the bike for three days and once I started to gear up to Crit Nats, I couldn’t recover after my efforts on the road, I was having trouble recovering. Mentally I think it’s been a really long season for me, definitely harder than I’ve ever dealt with.”

It was his first encounter with saddle sores. “Obviously the staph infection doesn’t help saddle sores at all. It’s hard to diagnose exactly what causes the problem.”

With so many variables, it is hard to diagnose what caused them and at this time of the season, Holloway can’t take more time off to figure it out.

His health seems to be on the upswing, finally.

“I just go over a couple of smaller saddle sores. I’ve been on the bike for ten days consistently, my legs finally started to come around Monday. At least I can go to crit nats with a more positive attitude than I would of two weeks ago. It’s good that my legs are coming around, my coach has been really forgiving in a way with my training but he’s been really smart with what I can do, with what I’ve been dealt, the lack of ability to recover and what I can do on the bike.”

Emotions come flooding in as Daniel Holloway (then with BISSELL) put on US Pro Crit Stars & Stripes in 2010

Emotions come flooding in as Daniel Holloway (then with BISSELL) put on US Pro Crit Stars & Stripes in 2010

Holloway is as ready as he can be for the USA Professional Criterium Nationals in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We set up a good plan, he was really smart and I trust, I’m going into Crit Nationals prepared and ready to do work.”

As far as what is next, he doesn’t know. “As of now I don’t have a contract for next year. Keep on racing, Even if they’re not big ones I just have to show people that I can still win races, so … “

No question that he wants to keep on racing. “I don’t want to leave not knowing that I didn’t try and it’s something that I have to do, I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that I called it quits, and said ‘oh one thing set me back, you know.”

He added with a laugh, “And my dad wouldn’t be too happy about that, he’d kick my ass.”

Holloway feels he can offer a lot to a team. “I’m a team player no matter what. If it’s my day or not my day, I’m going to give one hundred percent to whoever’s day it is. I think I’m a good personality to have on the team, as far as hanging out with sponsors and I think I’m really good with media, laying out the team message. Even on a bad day, even this year, even with staph and everything, I can still with bike races. It may not be the biggest races but even when I’m down, I’m not out and I’m going to try no matter what.”

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