Plamen Ratchev

Plamen was born and grew up in a small town near the mountain areas of Bulgaria (it may be difficult to spot on the map, look North of Greece). It is a place of extreme heat and cold weather with good snowfall in the winter. Growing up he had two passions: school and sports. Math and reading/writing were his favorite subjects in school. He played and competed in variety of sports: soccer, chess, orienteering, cross country skiing (the sport he enjoyed most), and biathlon. Computers became his passion in high school and that shaped his professional life. He met his better half Val on a bus ride to his home town. Ironically, they lived very close in a small town, her cousin being his best friend, and they never met until college. He started a software consulting and development company 17 years ago and has been very fortunate to work with some very bright and talented people. His passion for computers allowed him to meet technology leaders, present at conferences, and write articles and books.

I believe Nate and Mina said you were the 1st official member to Bold City CrossFit. How did you find out about CrossFit back then?

I was practicing Krav Maga at the karate center where our twin boys Dante and Tristan were having taekwondo classes. Our instructor Erik had a passion for fitness and was torturing us with these conditioning exercises he said were the base of something called CrossFit. Burpees, running, box jumps, pull ups, and more burpees… What can I say, very exciting! I started looking for a CrossFit gym nearby and the closest location I could find was Bold City CrossFit. The only problem was that they were opening the following week… I survived.

What are some things that keep you motivated and consistent after being a member for so long?

Most definitely the people at the gym. Both coaches and athletes. Seeing people to go from struggling to do their first pull up to stringing muscle ups, or not being able to do a squat with a PVC pipe to lifting heavy weights overhead, and all that regardless of age or physical condition, what can be more motivational! The variety of exercises is also a big factor. There is always something new to learn, being a new skill or a better way of to perform a movement. When it starts getting boring there are always coaches around to challenge us (or to entertain us).

I think your son is a fan favorite in the gym, does he currently out squat you?

Funny you should point that out! Pavel most definitely is getting to the point of squatting more than me. I am not sure if I am getting old or there has been somebody coaching him behind my back at the gym… But forget squatting, his favorite movement by far is burpees! That is when somebody else does them (he always laughs at people doing burpees).

Do you have any montras or words of wisdom you live by?

Balance and patience in everything, and always find reasons to laugh! And a glass of wine.

After being a CrossFitter for so long, do you have any words of wisdom for newer people or anybody interested in trying it out?

Here are the simple rules to enjoy CrossFit: read the words on the front door mat when walking into the gym; listen to your coaches, they say things for a reason; it is usually heavier or higher than you think, go lighter or lower until you get better; cheer others; laugh at yourself when you fail, then try harder; have patience, unless you are one of those genetically gifted athletes it takes time to get better; never give up, failures are the road to success; most important - have fun, at the end of the day the numbers on the board do not matter, it matters how you feel.

Are there any accomplishments you've done in your life that you look back on that really make you proud, or any memories of really defining moments in your life?

Perhaps the most defining moment in my life is meeting Val. She is that person that will always help you to be the best that you can be. Supporting me in difficult moments, pushing me when I need pushing, being the best cheerleader, and telling me the truth in the face even if it hurts. I am proud to be her best friend and dad of our kids!

Thank you for being such a long and consistent member to Bold City CrossFit, we really enjoy having you around and hope to have you around for another 5 years! Do you have any closing thoughts or comments you'd like to add?

Only another 5 years? What do you mean, there will be no Bold City CrossFit after 5 years, or you plan to enforce some age limit for members?!Thank you Ryan and Ruben!!! Keep doing what you are doing. Your coaching, patience, and encouragement makes us all better, one WOD at a time!