About Coach John Spinney

Hi folks-

In many ways I have lived multiple lives as a coach. I’ve made mistakes at times and learned and grew each and every time. At this point Mountain Mettle is a labor of love and an embodiment of all the things I have learned in 14 years of professional endurance sports coaching. In those 14 years I have experienced some incredibly rewarding moments and that is the energy behind a lot of what I do. I have helped many triathletes make it to Ironman Hawaii. I have helped triathletes go from age grouper to professional, I have helped athletes win races. I have helped cyclists have strong confident races at Unbound 200, Leadville 100 MTB, Vermont Overland and the Vermont 50.  In the past 14 years I have done around 50 bike fits that led to more power and comfort, using a method I learned from multiple gurus. I have trained ultra-runners for single and multi-day events. I have trained beginner through elite marathoners. I have trained someone attempting to set an unsupported Long Trail Fastest Known Time. I have mentored new coaches. In these 14 years I have learned so much but one of the most significant areas in my coaching that I have developed over the years is my holistic approach to addressing all things that impact physical performance and long term progress- recovery (using HRV), importance of mobility, dealing with tight adhered muscles and overuse injuries, cramp prevention, metabolic health, reaching optimal muscle mass with nutrition and functional strength work, bike fit, run form, addressing vitamin and mineral imbalances, glycogen awareness, and mindset work *not an exhaustive list.

As an athlete I have 30 years of racing experience across triathlon, cycling, running, and skiing. During this time I had access to amazing coaches that improved my knowledge and exposure to differing training philosophies. In 2008 when I started coaching professionally, I was mentored by one of the best endurance coaches in the country. I’ve had a lot of time to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve seen what it takes to create success in endurance sports.

Notable accomplishments as an athlete and a coach

As an athlete, John has competed in over 200 triathlons including 13 full iron distance races and 35 half iron distance races. John has gone under 10 hours at the iron distance 6 times including at Ironman Hawaii and has gone under 4:20 many times at the half iron distance. John’s iron distance PR is 9:32 (Ironman Tremblant) and his half iron PR is 4:09 (Montreal Esprit Half Iron).

John has done hundreds of bike races (road, gravel, mountain bike) and was a former USCF Cat 2 road cyclist in the 90s. Additionally John raced what at the time was called Dirty Kanza 200 in 2018. Although retired now from racing, his favorite bike race of all time is the Vermont Overland.

John ran cross country in high school (Brattleboro Union High School) and college (Johnson State College) and competed in collegiate national XC championships multiple times (NAIA). John has competed in hundreds of running races of varying distances including mountain running races. In 2009 John was inducted into the Johnson State College athletic hall of fame.
John has run many half marathons under 1:20 with a PR of 1:16:57 for a USATF certified half marathon course.

John has extensive experience teaching and coaching alpine skiing for youth and adults that dates back to the early 90s teaching skiing for Maple Valley in southern Vermont and in college teaching skiing at Smuggler’s Notch. After that John worked as a full time freestyle/mogul coach at Waterville Valley Academy working for Nick Preston (one of the Godfathers of freestyle coaching in the US) and after that was a freestyle coach (moguls) for the Diamond Dogs at Sugarbush. John has extensive experience teaching technical alpine skills and issuing skill building drill work for skiers to improve. John also has a great deal of experience doing video analysis with alpine skiers and providing feedback to help them get to the next level.

Other notable items -

  • Founder/Creator of Stowe Gravel Worlds Saturday ride.
  • Founder of the original Vermont Gravel camp in Stowe, Vermont
  • John coached a Masters swim program for over 8 years, working with swimmers of all levels.
  • Lastly John has over 10 years of experience working and running training camps for age group and professional triathletes.