Tag Archives: Sherpa Fitness

Physical Therapy With A Twist

Westport is awash in banks and nail salons.

We’ve got plenty of physical therapists too.

Saul Zion knows them, and likes them. In fact, he wishes we had more. “Lots of people need physical therapy,” he notes.

But his own practice — at 1555 Post Road East, next to Sherpa — is different from others. Zion Physical Therapy is the only one, he says, offering pelvic floor therapy.

Those exercises help women after giving birth, and men after prostate surgery (as well as those with erectile dysfunction).

Saul Zion and Josh Jordan: Zion Physical Therapy’s PTs.

In France, Zion says, the government actually subsidizes post-partum pelvic floor therapy.

But this is the US. His practice is out of network. So he worka with patients, helping ease the strains of billing that may keep them from seeking the physical therapy they need.

Zion also treats rare diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, post-COVID syndrome, and regular sports injuries.

That he’s doing it in Westport — along with his already established locations in Manhattan and Jersey City — relates back to COVID.

The Great Neck native earned a doctor of physical therapy degree from the University of Buffalo. He established his own practices in New York, worked with doctors from the Hospital for Special Surgery, and did home visits.

In July of 2020, as the pandemic raged, his friend Matt Levey — the entrepreneur who brought Field Trip beef jerky to Westport — encouraged Zion and his family to move here.

They expected to return to the city. But they loved everything about the town — restaurants, new friends, the lifestyle — and bought a house. “We’re settled here now,” Zion says.

Timing was everything. Gyms were closed, but as an essential worker — and with landlords desperate to rent space — he found a spot inside Sherpa.

Welcome to Zion Physical Therapy …

The running, cycling and triathlon personal training center was a synergistic fit. (And because Zion and his wife have done Ironman competitions, he feels connected to that world.)

Now he’s taken 500 square feet next door.

Zion Physical Therapy has 2 private rooms, and a small gym area. A door connects them with Sherpa. Zion’s patients can use their equipment; he  screens Sherpa’s clients for issues, and treats them as needed.

“Zion” was the Jerusalem hill upon which the city of David was built. This Zion — Saul — spent plenty of time in Israel. He even lived on a kibbutz.

He loves the falafel markets of Jerusalem, and befriended many Arab owners. (Having Layla’s a couple of doors away is a fantastic bonus.)

Social justice is a strong part of his identity. He knows that physical therapy can be expensive, and offers discounts as needed.

This is not France. But it is Zion.

… and a look inside.

John Daut Conquers Haute

The movie “Icarus” — about performance-enhancing drugs in the bicycle racing world — focuses on the Haute Route. The brutal 7-day, 480-mile, ride in the Pyrenees — with 60,000 feet of climbing —  is the amateur equivalent of the Tour de France.

When John Daut saw “Icarus,” his competitive juices started flowing. He’d been biking since 1998, the year a knee replacement forced the longtime athlete to find a low-impact sport for rehabilitation.

After seeing “Icarus,” the Westporter — whose day job is in airplane sales — spent 9 months training for the Haute Route. In all kinds of weather, he rode all over Connecticut and New York.

As in, all over. A typical day included a ride to Bear Mountain; biking up Bear Mountain, and a ride back to Westport. He’d be home, Daut jokes, before his kids were out of bed.

His hard work paid off. Daut just returned home (by plane, not bike) from Europe. He finished the Haute Route.

John Daut on relatively flat terrain …

But that’s like saying Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong “finished” the Tour de France. Daut won the 60+ men’s division. He was the 4th fastest of the 28 Americans who completed the course — and 61st overall out of all 280 racers.

There was no photo finish. Daut finished first in his age group every day — and won the full race in his age group by an astonishing 1 hour, 20 minutes.

This was definitely not “Breaking Away.”

… biking in spectacular scenery …

Daut trains with Westport’s two cycling centers. Eneas Freyre of Total Training & Endurance “very subtly turns people into real riders,” Daut says, while Jean Paul Desrosiers of Sherpa helps with things like heart rate and power. In June, Daut joined Desrosiers’ 410-mile ride to Montreal.

Like many bikers, Daut can’t get enough of riding. He loves the rush of endorphins and adrenaline, and the sport feeds his competitive nature.

But there’s a social aspect too. The 61-year-old enjoys riding with the 200 or so other bikers who regularly take to the local roads.

Of course, Compo Hill is hardly the Pyrenees.

Daut knew the Haute Route would be the toughest challenge of his life. Over 400 riders signed up; half were “ultra-competitive” like him.

… taking a well-deserved rest …

Going in, he admits, his mindset was “fear.”

“I’m pretty good in New England,” he says modestly. (In fact, the week before the Haute race, Daut won the Connecticut state 55+ championship.)

“I ride 1,000 miles a week, including the winter. But I do maybe 50,000 feet of climbing a month.” This was much more — in much less time.

But on Day 1, Daut realized he could compete.

He won his age group — and finished 70th overall. From then on, he says, “I got more aggressive.”

The third day was the toughest. It was cold and wet. And much of the race was downhill.

That sounds okay — until Daut explains that, going down a mountain at 35 miles an hour in those conditions, “you and your bike are shaking badly. The curves are frightening. You just want to climb, to get your heat back.”

… and this is far from the worst weather.

Day 4 started out even worse, with a torrential downpour and temperatures in the 30s. Over 60 riders abandoned the course.

Other days were “beautiful” — though “long and hard.” Daut pushed through. He flew like Icarus (thankfully, with better results).

Now, Daut is riding back in Westport. So how does the Post Road compare to the Pyrenees?

“Lots of people want to ride with me,” he says. “They sit on my wheel. I get some credit from my buddies. And a lot of guys want to beat me to the top of the hill.”

(Hat tip: Iain Bruce)