Contrary to what most people think, California does indeed have four seasons and heading out to ride in winter can be a bone-chilling experience. But if you dress appropriately from head to toe, the Golden State is one of the few states where you can enjoy riding outdoors year round. After returning from a ride, I thought of a few suggestions to help you ride comfortably in California this season.
In previous off-season training columns posted by The Amgen TOC Insider, I mentioned the training camps that teams conduct to help get the riders ready for the coming racing season. The first of two camps– held usually in late November or the first half of December – unites the athletes for training rides, baseline fitness tests, off the bike strength and stability workouts, team-building exercises and promotions & publicity duties (photo sessions). Take a look inside the Ettix-Quick-Step camp held December 8-18, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.
In my recent training column (http://amgentourofcalifornia.com/insider/114/Take-a-break), we looked at the break the riders take at the end of the racing season. After some well-deserved time off the bike, what kind of training do they do in the fall and winter if they want to peak for the Amgen Tour of California in May? The athletes work closely with their coach and/or team director to create a training program based upon their goals for the season ahead. One of the best known cycling coaches in the world is Chris Carmichael, a former U.S. Olympian, pro rider and U.S. Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year who has coached some of the most accomplished pro cyclists. The founder and CEO of coaching empire Carmichael Training Systems (http://trainright.com/), who is also a best-selling author and motivational speaker, was kind to make time to discuss the off-season and how riders begin preparing for the upcoming racing season. Carmichael answered questions about building strength, cross-training, the purpose of off-season training camps and how the athletes approach the holidays.
The long racing season that began back in January has finally concluded. The athletes have ridden thousands upon thousands of miles and traveled even further globetrotting to race their bike. It’s a long grind that takes its toll physically and mentally leaving riders exhausted and depleted. The world’s greatest races like America’s Greatest Race, the Amgen Tour of California, have begun revealing 2015 host cities and routes. If a rider wants to do well in those races, the best thing they can do at the end of the season is hit the couch.
There is nowhere to hide when riding a time trial. It is a supreme all-out effort thus the rider must start “hot.” One cannot overstate the importance of the pre-time trial warm-up to get the legs and lungs open. Prior to today’s crucial 12.5-mile Stage 2 time trial in Folsom, I visited the Team Sky base camp. Posted on the team bus where the riders warmed up on trainers, I spotted this set of instructions used by Sir Bradley Wiggins ahead of his stage winning ride.
The founder of the 15-year-old Carmichael Training Systems (CTS), Chris Carmichael is perhaps the best known coach in all of cycling. His multimillion dollar CTS empire provides world-class athletic and life coaching for thousands of athletes from professionals and Olympians to anyone pursuing peak performances in sports and beyond. A former pro and Olympic cyclist and an award-winning coach who was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, Carmichael is recognized and respected as an innovator who has pioneered and furthered technological advancements such as power meters, aerodynamic testing, altitude training and online coaching tools while helping his athletes achieve their goals and reach beyond their capabilities. His immense knowledge and revolutionary methods and philosophies have filled the pages of eight top-selling books. Carmichael has inspired athletes as well as the business world and academia by delivering motivational talks for Fortune 500 companies, Ivy League universities and international coaching conferences. From being a member of the first American team to compete in the Tour de France to coaching Tour de France overall and stage winners, there is no one better than Carmichael to tell us how Amgen Tour of California riders prepare for next month’s race as well as shed light on how these extraordinary athletes train and live.