While serving as a pilot in the military, I worked my way through the USAC ranks to earn my professional mountain bike racing license. I competed nationally as a racer while working around deployments and a family. I know what it takes to develop programs that work around a job and family commitments.
I have served as a head coach at several USAC talent ID camps, and I enjoy working with junior racers. I have had the opportunity to work with several juniors who I’ve brought up from high school to collegiate racing, and ultimately to the professional ranks. Working with junior racers is very rewarding!
- 2012 head coach – USAC MTB Junior Development Camp
- 2013 head coach – USAC MTB Talent ID Camp
- 2013 coach – US Olympic Committee ParaOlympic Talent ID Camp
- 2014 head coach – USAC MTB Talent ID Camp
- Coached multiple National Championships
- ASEP Certified Coach
I started out riding mountain bikes with my family as a recreational activity. I thought I might have a chance at winning some of the local races, so I started competing. Little did I know it would have completely changed my life. After a few successful seasons in the local scene, I was thriving to get better. I met Mark Orton at the USA Cycling East Coast development camp (July 2012) where he was coaching. It turns out I was the only one at the camp that was not currently working with a coach. We learned all week how important it was to have scheduled workouts for the different levels of races, how to not under-train or over-train, and the list continues. From that moment on, I decided to start working with Mark and he has helped develop me into the athlete I am today. I had no idea what to expect. I received all my workouts through TrainingPeaks and was constantly updating Mark via email or text and uploading my Garmin files. He would analyze my files and was able to figure out where I was at with my training. All through high school, I was always busy and really stressed out trying to get my homework done. Mark understood that school always came first. If I wasn’t able to get all my workouts in for the week, we were able to work around it and adapt my training. Mark helped me climb through the ranks as a Cat 1 Junior mountain bike racer. In the 2013 National Championship, I placed 11th in Cross-Country and 3rd in Super D. The year after, I placed 6th in Cross-Country and 4th in Super D after an untimely crash.
I am now a sophomore in college riding for the #1 cycling team in the country, Marian University. I am racing in all the mountain bike disciplines (downhill, dual slalom, cross-country, and short track) along with cyclocross, road, and BMX. Mark has truly developed me as a rider and without his training plans over the years; I would not be at the level I am at now. Since my first year at Marian, I realized downhill mountain bike racing suites my style more and I have been competing well against the fastest women in the world. As a professional downhiller I hope to start entering the world race scene attending World Cups and hopefully, the World Championships. Mark has done all that he can to get me in the shape I need to be in for these events and he has truly developed me as a racer. - Angelina Palermo
Mark Orton is a dedicated coach who understands the needs and limitations of athletes who want to train like a professional but balance the responsibilities of the “real world." With fewer training hours per week I know that I have to maximize every minute. I put my trust in Mark and what I’ve received in return was 21 months of elite coaching and support. With his expertise and my hard work I got back on the podium, somewhere I hadn’t been since college a decade ago. It’s a great feeling. A funny thing happens when you put the screws to someone in a bike race; they inevitably ask, “Who’s your coach?” I smile and tell them, “Mark Orton.” - Jesse Giordano
As a junior racer who has had a few coaches, I can certainly say I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with Coach Mark. He is a phenomenal coach for many reasons. I didn’t know Mark when we first started working together but it was clear from the start that I was going to be able to trust him to help me reach my goals.
I really appreciated the flexibility he had with my workouts depending on my feedback and what I thought I needed. He trusted that I knew myself the best and never hesitated to make changes to my workouts (sometimes on the spot!). We all have those days when our legs just won’t turn the pedals no matter how hard we try. On the few occasions this happened, Mark was always available when I needed his opinion. He told me to either take the day off or just give my best effort. His assurance and having him make these decisions for me made it a lot easier to not get upset if I didn’t reach my goal. In addition, as I gained fitness and felt I needed to up my game, his training adjustments were perfect -- more difficult, yet completely achievable. It was always enough to bring my fitness to another level and my race results proved it. I was always at the top of my game in every race. I can honestly say that I have never gone into a race with “lead-filled legs” and always felt fresh. At no point was I under-trained and, more importantly, I was never over-trained. Always the perfect balance. Throughout the time we worked together, I never felt burned out at all. In fact, I just wanted to keep training and progressing.
Mark also understands that riding for fun is important for juniors. Whenever a recreational ride or something came up, he wasn’t just okay with skipping the prescribed workout, rather he supported going on the ride! It really made me feel that he knew exactly what a junior racer needs. He taught me that it’s not always about “the plan.” And I’m grateful for that.
I have not one bit of negative feedback from my experience with Coach Mark. He upped my game and made it possible for me to win two national championships! - Veda Gerasimek
Pictures and results speak a thousand words. When I first started with Mark, I weighed 240lbs and DNF’d in 3 races, and finished mid-back of the other race. My training was all over the place and I was not enjoying my bike riding at all. I had set myself a goal of competing in the 2011 Leadville Trail 100 and enlisted the help of Mark to build a plan towards that goal. We sat down and the first thing we did was build the training plan for the year to encompass other races also. I was curious as to whether or not I would stick to a regimented training plan but to my surprise I have and what a difference it has made. Mark is very good about communicating and if life happens (which it does….I have a wife and 3 kids) the weekly plans are flexible enough to be adjusted accordingly. Each week the training is varied and challenging, you are never bored.
I’ve never enjoyed my cycling more than right now and I have a newly found ability to climb like a mountain goat. The list of improvements could go on and on. - Alan White
I am an 18 year old mountain biker who has been riding since the age of 7. I started racing when I was 12 years old but stopped training and competing after I got my driving license. Right before the start of the 2010 spring race series, I received an email from Mark Orton asking if I would be interested in his coaching services. I seized the opportunity and started smart and effective training under Mark’s guidance. His rides have challenged me and pushed me harder than I ever pushed myself. Under Mark’s coaching, I have gained over 120 watts on my power test and increased my power to weight ratio from 3.23 watts per kilo to 5.07 watts per kilo. That's over 60% power increase in a year and a half! There is no way that I would have been able to achieve gains of this magnitude without the personalized training plan I receive from Mark. He has enabled me to go from being a recreational cat 2 racer to the junior cat 2 state champion and now to a 19-29 cat 1 racer (as of 2015 upgraded to Pro). If you want to get fit, get fast, win races or simply achieve a level of performance you never thought possible, I highly recommend Mark's coaching services. - Jeff Sikes, U23 professional MTB racer