Picking up where Carmichael left off
ASPEN Conventional wisdom would suggest Carmichael Training System’s departure from The Aspen Club in January would signal a death knell for any program attempting to take its place.Club founder and CEO Michael Fox said he was sorry to see Chris Carmichael go – Lance Armstrong’s longtime coach’s notoriety and proven track record of marketing success were undoubtedly a large draw. But he saw a split, by all accounts an amicable one, as an opportunity.The new Aspen Club Health and Performance Center is already paying dividends six months later.”If anything, it’s taken off since January,” Fox said Tuesday. “People come here for the great trainers, the great coaches and the great programs. The Carmichael name does a great thing, but Chris has so much on his plate and, as he got busier and busier, he wasn’t really as active.”Now, the program has all the resources of The Aspen Club behind it.”When the club and CTS sat down last year to discuss the partnership’s future, Fox and others decided to pursue a more efficient collaboration. Instead of working with a separate organization, one which had little affiliation with the club other than occupying the same building, it made more sense to go in a new direction and create its own center, Fox said. In doing so, they could build on what CTS developed and take full advantage of the myriad resources the club has to offer. “CTS was a separate entity that was renting space,” Fox said. “We all got together and said there’s so much more we can do if we work together.”CTS, which currently runs training centers in Colorado Springs, Louisville, Ky., and Asheville, N.C., did not wish to comment, spokesman Jason Koop said.The club continues to follow CTS’ lead, offering a wide range of programs. It provides customized workout packages for all athletes, novices or experts. In addition, athletes can undergo extensive physiological programs and take advantage of the center’s newly-developed orthotics program. There are also new seminars, including one that focuses on bike maintenance and repair.CTS’ name is gone, but its footprints abound, Fox said. The Health and Performance Center is predicated on individualized attention, as is CTS’ hallmark. And lead cycling instructor Mark Alderdice is one of many employees CTS trained and employed who is still involved.”I was already certified as a cycling coach, but it was great working with them, and I learned a lot,” Alderdice said. Positive early returns can in part be attributed to a growing number of novice clients, Alderdice said. Those people, who harbored preconceived notions about CTS and were hesitant to take part, are now expressing interest.”Because of the association with Lance, perhaps people think they are just a beginner or an average-level cyclist who thought it’d be too hard-core for them,” Alderdice said. “That wasn’t true by any means, but that’s the impression people have. As far as anyone here is concerned, we just have a different name and perhaps a different image.”The center has a different name – and perhaps a new image – but Fox hopes the club’s relationship with Carmichael continues. Carmichael is expected to be in Aspen for July 21’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.”He’s such a superstar and things are running so fast for him that he didn’t have time on a specific center. Chris and I have communicated, we’re working on a project, and he’ll always be involved,” Fox said. We love Chris, and I think Chris loves Aspen.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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