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!

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Joanne (JoJo) Perrotti

JoJo is from a small town in NE Ohio on a farm with her 50+ first cousins. She's from a large family that routinely spent a lot of time together. From getting together on Sunday's for church to hanging out at the farm and eating trays of Grandma's Cinnamon Buns, family was a big part of her childhood. With all these kids, naturally the family was very active in sports. Her family built an ice hockey rink in her back yard fully equipped with  goals and everything. They also had a basketball court, did gymnastics in the barn, water skied in the summer, you name it.

JoJo was a great athlete herself and dabbled with Softball, Gymnastics (placing 10th in Junior Nationals), ran the 800m in track and even took Jazz and Tap dancing on the side. Fast forward to today, JoJo has a family of her own with four tremendous kids. She moved to Jacksonville in 1995 and that's where she met the love of her life, Paul F. Perrotti whom she says is "the most amazing and generous man she has ever known."





The coaches have really noticed a difference in the way you're training lately. You seem to be determined to get better everyday. What's been motivating that?

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I have to give credit to my brother in law, Danny Perrotti, for introducing me to CrossFit. I didn't even know what a barbell was and here I am 1 and a half years later! Last year I signed up for the 2016 CrossFit Open and was satisfied just being able to complete all the scaled workouts. This year my goal was to do better than last year and I was happy to do just that. When I joined Bold City it was like becoming a part of a family. I enjoy the friendships and there's a comfort in working out with others who share your pain (a.k.a Old City CrossFit). 

Who is someone in your life that inspires you?

My mother is my biggest inspiration. We experienced some of the same struggles at similar ages. Her drive to always push through whatever difficulty in life she was experiencing gives me strength to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She sets specific goals and is persistent in achieving them. She has this magical presence about herself that motivates others to achieve more in life.

What are some things you enjoy outside the gym?

Spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy attending sporting events and traveling.

If you owned a billboard on I95, what would you want it so say?

"Thank you Jax for welcoming my family to yours, wrapping your arms around me, and supporting the growth of my children. I couldn't have done it so well without all of you. Thank you, my friends."

What are some future goals you have regarding your fitness?

I just want to keep improving me endurance and strength. I'd like to strengthen the muscles needed to do a pull up. When I pass the series seven securities exam this year, I'd like to start learning more about nutrition. I may even try the Barbell Club so I can hang out with Yee and John. 

What's something in your life that you're most proud of?

I am so very proud of the success of my children. They light up my life, exceed my expectations and continue to amaze me. We have so much fun when we get together. They're good kids and they're proud of me too.

Thanks for letting us do this piece on you. Do you have any closing comments or thoughts you'd like to share?

Ryan and Ruben, keep doing what you're doing. I love you guys!

Shaun Hayes

Shaun was born in LA but he grew up in Cocoa and Palm Bay. He has a twin brother and when he was younger he even played in a band. After that faded away Shaun realized it was time to get a real job and he's been a workaholic ever since. Shaun has held various positions from managing a Panera Bread, Managing the Apple store in the Town Center and is now the manager of a new company Carvana which is changing the way people buy cars.

It's obvious that Shaun is an entrepreneur and when asked why he's made so many career changes in the past few years he said "I'm always looking for an opportunity that will provide professional development. Each change I've made has provided growth in an area I felt I was lacking." One of Shaun's ideal career's would be to mentor people on how to manage people, build their own careers and develop talent. Throughout his career Shaun used one simple statement to gauge his impact on the teams he's lead "those teams that are the most successful, are those that are brilliant with the basics." I think this really applies to life and even CrossFit. Let's get to know Shaun a little more through a few questions we wanted to ask him.

There's a rumor that you have a world record sized Dachshund, can you tell us about that and your buddy J-Mo?
Jameson may also have the record for being the sleepiest and easiest dog ever. Jameson gets a lot of attention when we go places, so one time at a Beer Festival some friends thought it would be funny to tell people he was a world record sized Dachshund (which he's not). Some people believe us and other people know we were lying pretty instantly. 

You've been really consistent with both the group classes and following the barbell club. What is different now than previous times where coming to the gym in general was tough to do consistently?
Like most people, I was pretty unsure about CrossFit in the beginning. I have a lot of friends that have been into it for a while. When I took a year off in 2016, I felt a pretty quick drop in how active I was as well as my eating habits. From there I decided that I wouldn’t choose what work outs I felt good about and what ones I did not. This has caused me to improve in areas that I found intimidating or frustrating. Its tough to figure out a schedule that works, but its possible!

What have you enjoyed the most about Barbell Club so far?
The barbell club has helped me understand the basics and the impact good foundation can have on the lifts. Yee and John are great.

What physical goals do you have at the gym that you'd like to accomplish in the next year?
My goal this year is to compete at "Rep Your Box" as long as my job will allow it!

It's been really nice to see you so consistent in the gym and to even hear your hard work has paid off with PR's in both of the Olympic Lifts! Thanks for taking some time to answer our questions and let everybody get to know you a little better!

Minchele and Janeca Cua

Minchele and Janeca are one of two mother daughter combo at Bold City CrossFit. It's a very special thing that I'm sure most of us envy, but through their positive attitudes, dedication to improving every time they come through the door and inspiration they offer all of us, we have chosen them both as February's Member of the Month!

Janeca was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL and growing up was involved in a little bit of everything. She played a variety of sports like soccer, volleyball, track and field, and swimming. Her true passion although was dance, ballet in particular, enjoying it for 12 years. With all these sports it was obvious that Janeca just loved to stay active and had to give a lot of credit to her mother Minchele for that. Minchele is also very active and enjoys staying fit. She's happy to be able to instill this idea in her daughter that health and fitness are important pieces to your life that also help to teach discipline. More than anything she loves the extra quality time with her daughter. When asked about her mother Janeca said she's "one of the most selfless people she's ever known" and "is lucky to be able to call her "Mom.""

How did you guys get started doing CrossFit?
Minchele: Heard many rumors about CrossFit that changes one’s life and that it was incredibly hard. I was challenged and looked it up online and found a groupon deal that Bold City CrossFit was offering then and the rest is history.
Janeca: I had never even heard the word CrossFit up until my uncle brought it up to my mom. I was only a junior in high school when I first started going and never thought I would make it this far in this sport.

Janeca, what's it like being able to workout side by side with your mom?
Working out with my mom is honestly the best part of my day. Ever since I was a child I have watched my mom workout. She is the reason why I have a passion for exercising. If it was not for her I would probably be a couch potato (lol jk but really tho). Seeing her do the same movements and lifts as me is seriously so awesome. I find myself bragging more about my mom than about myself. People are always so amazed when I say I workout with my mom because not a lot of people get to experience that and I am so blessed to know she is able to do CrossFit with me. 

Are you guys competitive with each other during workouts?
Minchele: At times, I have that rivalry against her, trying to tease or intimidate her. But by no means anywhere close to her skills, lol!
Janeca: Yeah in a way I am, ESPECIALLY when it comes to rowing because she is a total beast at it! Although we may have different weights and modifications seeing her excel and improve is all that matters to me.

Janeca, would you tell someone your age who might be intimidated or nervous to try CrossFit?
Well just like all the elite athletes, they started somewhere. Walking into a CrossFit box is definitely intimidating but what everyone needs to remember is that there should be no fear of judgment. People need to understand that everyone is there for the benefit of themselves whether it be for health or competition. As the saying goes, "no pain, no gain." How else are you going to excel and improve if one does not push themselves to their greatest ability which is why I love this sport.

Minchele, I don't think you know how inspiring you are to other people in being a mother who comes to do CrossFit with their daughter. What would you tell someone your age who might be intimated or nervous in trying CrossFit?
Everyone starts somewhere, don’t put yourself under pressure, give your best effort each time and don’t be afraid. But most of all…have fun! This is by far the most effective workout along with proper diet and GREAT coaching you can do for overall fitness…hands down.

Janeca, tell us a little bit about the sorority you're a part of. Can we maybe get some embarrassing pledge stories?
I am in Alpha Chi Omega at the University of North Florida. Our philanthropy is raising awareness against Domestic Violence. We host many events on and off campus collecting donations that go towards the Hubbard House which is the first domestic violence shelter in Florida. Prior to these events I went through initiation. Initiation week is definitely an interesting experience. Although I cannot say too much all I can say is during the process I felt like I was in a cult which was the weirdest thing ever...I absolutely love my sorority and wouldn't trade my sisters for the world.

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Janeca, you seem to be the "Instagram Queen," what can the gym do to get as many followers and likes as you?!
Honestly it's definitely taken me time to get where I am with my Instagram page. I've had it since I was a sophomore in high school. One thing I could say is definitely use and take advantage of popular hashtags that could be trending. Some brands sponsor me that have helped me boost my followers and likes. Overall though it's all about networking. Also I'm in a sorority so a majority of my followers and likes are from my sisters.

Minchele, what are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time outside working out?
I love spending time with friends and family, cooking, reading, and going to the beach!

Thank you both for being such great members and allowing us a little bit into your personal lives. Is there anything else you would like to add before we close out?
We both just want to thank everyone for all the support at competitions and also at the box. You guys are like family to us and we do not know what we would do without you guys. We love Bold City CrossFit! 

Waylon Rivers

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Waylon is a native to Jacksonville, FL. He attended Mandarin High School and grew up playing baseball and football. After High School Waylon attended FSCJ and got a degree in the Culinary Arts. During that time he met his wife Kasey and they currently have two beautiful kids Nora (3) and Bonham (1). After college Waylon worked for a variety of chain restaurants and ended up landing a job at the "Black Sheep" Restaurant. Over time he worked his way up in rank and is currently the Executive Chef at the Riverside location as well as the newly built bar "Intuition" by the Jags stadium, which serves more of a bar food but still under the Black Sheep umbrella.

Waylon has been very consistent in his training and has all the excuses necessary to potentially be inconsistent. He has a demanding job, family with two kids and gets home late at night. Instead of using those excuses Waylon comes 3-5 times a week and consistently works hard, pays attention to the small details, and looks like he has some fun doing it! We had a chance to ask him a few questions and here's what he had to say!

How did you get started doing CrossFit?

I got started in CrossFit about 3 years ago through some friends of mine who recommended it.

What is your Favorite WOD or Exercise?

I'm not sure I have a favorite wod, I just like crossfit wods in general because they always change it up and it never gets any easier, therefore it doesn't get boring.

What is your Least Favorite WOD or Exercise?

I'd say some of my least favorite things to do are thrusters. They are soul crushers for me!

How do you find time to be consistent at the gym?

Some of my cooks ask me how I am able to work my hours and still go to the gym, I just know that if I didn't go to the gym I wouldn't be able to work like I do.  

What do you do as a career, and what got you there?

I am an executive chef.  I feel I got to that position because of my willingness to constantly keep learning and being dedicated to the craft. Being a cook means sacrificing a lot in your personal and social life, but if you love doing it then it's worth it.  I feel I still have a lot to learn and keep working on it every day. 

If you had some tips you could give us about cooking, what would they be?

Some tips about cooking I would give are:
- Taste as you go. Season in layers.
- Try everything at least once, your pallet changes as you age. You may like something you once hated to eat.
- Good cooking comes with practice and repetition. 

Thanks for being such a great member and letting us do this piece on you, is there anything else you would like to add?

The only thing else I would add is that it's great to be a part of a great community at Bold City. It's awesome to see so many people pushing each other to be better every day.