Meet Tom Scotto, Master Instructor on the ICI/PRO Team
“Everywhere I turn, I’m on a bike!”
Everyone should be so fortunate.
In 1990 I got my introduction into cycling when a good friend at church invited me to participate in a charity ride. I didn’t have a great bike so I borrowed my wife’s (which I eventual rode into the ground). I was addicted to the feeling, the long rides and the community. The same good friend eventually gave me his racing bike (a white Bianchi Nuovo Racing) after purchasing a new bike for himself. I started competing in some of the local road races and criteriums and even a few ultra events (RAAM qualifiers) and triathlons. It was ultimately the triathlon that convinced me to stay on the bike. I run like a Clydesdale and almost drown in my first ocean swim.
The winter of 1995 began my biggest transformation in cycling. I found myself weighing around 225 lbs (I’m 5’8”) and getting left behind anytime the road tilted upward. Depressed but not defeated, I sold my car and started biking to work. It was 18 miles each way. I started in February and by May, my weight had dropped to 175 lbs. Feeling like a piano was lifted off my back, I wanted more. I asked my wife Carla, a registered dietitian, to help me trim down further. I reduced my weight another 10 lbs and began to fly (not literally). Then in true Tom Scotto fashion, I went overboard and lost more weight putting me on the start line of the Killington Stage Race weighing 159 lbs. Yup, you guessed it, I lost most of my power and found myself sucking wind at the back…OK….OFF the back of the peloton. This entire experience threw me headfirst into coaching. Besides my short-lived time at a powerless 159 lbs, I had made tremendous improvement as a rider and competitive athlete. People took notice and started asking me for advice which started my coaching career.
As an USA Cycling Elite Level Coach, I’ve got the chance to work with some great coaches and sports professionals who have helped me continue to learn and grow. I’m indebted to Corey Fisher, an amazing amateur/pro racer and best bud who taught me how to truly handle a bike and how to suck wheels (out of absolute survival), Olympic coach Harvey Newton for his training on Explosive Power, ex-euro pro Fred Morini (Gerolsteiner) for our time co-coaching that spring training camp, biomechanist Jay Courant for numerous hours working together in our bike fitting lab and so many others.
In the midst of my cycling transformation I also wandered unsuspectingly into the world of indoor cycling. I experienced Spinning® for the first time and left more intrigued than inspired. I didn’t see any other “cyclists” in the room and found instructors asking me to move on the bike in a way I was not accustomed to on the my bike outside. So I decided to change that. I started teaching in 2002 and in 2005 founded Stage5 Cycling to bring some of the real world cycling and coaching concepts into the indoor cycling studio. This is really where I found that cycling had become the sum of my life. I got to use my background in technology and design, my degree and love for music (graduated from Berklee College of Music, Commercial Arranging, Drums) and my coaching and racing skills together to create dynamic classes based on sound training concepts. I used full-color charts and profiles, music that matched the tempo and emotion and targeted each ride to a specific training focus.
As Stage5 Cycling instructor workshops and certification started to become more and more popular across the country, I was introduced to Gene Nacey of Cycling Fusion through ICI/Pro. It didn’t take long to realized that Gene and I shared the same vision and had complimentary skills. In October, 2010, Stage5 Cycling merged with Cycling Fusion. And now, together with Heart Zones® Cycling (purchased by Cycling Fusion a month prior), we have amassed one of the most exciting teams equipped to move indoor cycling into the future.
I’m excited to take a more official role with ICI/PRO. I’ve enjoyed working with John and Amy Macgowan, Barbara Hoots and Melissa Marotta over the last few years, and look forward to contributing and being a part of this great indoor cycling and instructor community.
“Limits are just placeholders pointing us to our next victory”. – Tom Scotto