Armstrong’s coach rides into Aspen
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Lance Armstrong is so finely tuned and conditioned that his training routine is revered by cyclists around the globe.
The man responsible for the training method is Chris Carmichael, Armstrong’s coach for the last 13 years.
Carmichael will pay a visit to the Aspen Hub today, where he’ll be signing his new book, “The Ultimate Ride: Get Fit, Get Fast and Start Winning with the World’s Top Cycling Coach.” On Sunday, he’ll lead a bike ride up to the Maroon Bells.
“Basically, [the book] describes the training methodology we use at Carmichael Training Systems,” Carmichael said. “Not only physical but psychological components to increasing performance.”
Years ago, while Armstrong was overcoming a battle with cancer, Carmichael developed CTS to put Armstrong on the road to recovery.
“It takes into consideration the stresses and motivation in a person’s life,” Carmichael said. [It strives] to make a long-term change in their life that will make their cycling more enjoyable.”
Carmichael was a member of the 1984 Olympic team and the 1986 7-Eleven Team – the first American squad to compete in the Tour De France. He is regarded as one of the best cycling coaches in the world.
Carmichael lives in Colorado Springs and monitors Armstrong’s training via a computer. Armstrong splits his time between Spain, in the summer, and Texas in the winter.
The two met in 1990, when Carmichael was a developmental coach and Armstrong was an up-and-coming cyclist.
“It doesn’t take a real sophisticated eye to see how good he was, everybody could see he was a gifted athlete,” Carmichael said.
Throughout that time they’ve become very close, but Carmichael maintains that it takes a lot of work to balance their professional and personal relationship.
“We’ve worked together so long, now – at this time when the Tour’s over – he doesn’t want to hear from me, and I don’t want to hear from him,” Carmichael said. “He’s burned out, I’m burned out. Distance is helpful and healthy.
“It’s important to have some distance at the right times.”.
Throughout the course of the year, Carmichael spends about three months with Armstrong. Although Armstrong has a few races left this summer, he’s starting to wind down, Carmichael said.
“It’s more of a maintenance type of phase [now],” Carmichael said. “In November, he’ll start gearing up again.”
This year’s Tour De France was a closer race than in years past, which Carmichael attributes to a combination of factors. Armstrong took a bad crash before the Tour and was also overcoming a stomach sickness from a reaction to an antibiotic he was taking.
Carmichael will be at the Aspen Hub today from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Contact the Aspen Club to reserve a spot for Sunday’s 10 a.m. ride to the Bells.
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