While traveling the world to discuss strength, conditioning, and performance, Aspen inventor and physical therapist Pete Holman decided to make the most of long-haul flight time and flex his creative writing muscles, too. Soon, he went from dreading travel to using it to shape the underdog story of a young cyclist, ultimately publishing a novel, Cruz.
Holman, a cyclist himself as well as a black belt and former US national champion in Tae Kwon Do, called upon his life experiences to inspire the tale. “I knew my main character would be an athlete, of course,” he says. “And I wanted the athlete to overcome adversity, like being bullied.”
That main character, Manuel Cruz Delgado, goes from the dusty streets of Tizayuca, Mexico, in the 1970s to the excesses of 1980s Aspen, with many twists and turns during the journey. After he arrives in Aspen as a high school senior and an undocumented immigrant, “Cruz” finds salvation through cycling, caring coaches, and, eventually, his community.
Readers may recognize a character or two, like a coach who is modeled after local Tom Crum. Now an expert in peak performance and conflict resolution, Crum taught aikido at the Aspen Club and elsewhere in town when Holman moved here in 1997. Crum’s mentorship, his message of wisdom in the face of stress, and his belief in the importance of fulfilling human potential resonated with Holman, becoming themes in both his life and novel.
Holman, who has invented fitness equipment like the TRX RIP Trainer and Nautilus Glute Drive (and has another product for grip, hip, and core strength set to launch), says writing fiction is the hardest thing he’s ever done. But much like his main character, the first-time author likes to be taken out of his comfort zone. He had the support of Ellie Scott, program coordinator for Aspen Words, who served as an editor on the book while regularly pushing and challenging Holman to achieve his best. The result here is a win for your summer reading list.