If you were planning on riding the trainer while watching Sunday’s opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California, you were disappointed. If you have other trainer sessions planned this year, you may want to check out the CTS DVD “Amgen Tour of California, The Workout,” which will play on your television regardless of the weather.
With the snow pouring down on Lake Tahoe, where stage one of the 2011 Amgen Tour was scheduled to begin, I checked out the 2010 Tour Workout DVD from the race hotel. It’s a cool combination of race video and a structured workout.
The hour workout uses race footage shot on motos and helicopters on sunny California days, with a small informational dashboard in the corner of the screen giving you workout instructions. Many of us have ridden the trainer or rollers watching an old race on VHS or DVD, and probably just logged junk miles in the process. This video gives you specific intervals to do — based on your choice of power, heart rate and/or perceived exertion — while keeping straight-up race footage full screen as inspiration. Occasionally Carmichael will pop up on screen with some quick tips. It’s a good combination.
Besides just talking about the Tour of California on DVD, Carmichael is riding the whole course this year with a group of CTS customers. The plan is to start early each day and ride the course ahead of the race. On Sunday, they were also waylaid by the snow.
A few weeks ago I visited CTS for a lunch ride. In the bike industry, a lunch ride typically means a 70- to 90-minute venture. Sometimes hard, sometimes social, but always fitting roughly within the lunchtime frame. Little did I know I was going along for a “coaches’ meeting,” in-house parlance for a big ride. I guess watching the guys fill up three water bottles should have been a sign. In any event, what ensued was three-and-a-half-hours of steady riding on the crosswind-heavy and stop-sign-free plains south of Colorado Springs. On a Tuesday, mind you.
But the 210-minute ride wasn’t the end. Upon arrival back at the CTS shop, Carmichael started barking at me to run through a “core blast” workout, with multiple circuits of challenging stability exercises.
“When you’re 50,” Carmichael said between sets, “things start to go soft if you don’t do something about it.”
As the largest cycling coaching company out there, CTS has earned its share of customers and critics. But it’s apparent that even at 50, Carmichael practices what his company preaches.
On Monday, Carmichael and his group of campers plan to start stage two on the west side of Donner Pass (on the far side from the day’s scheduled start in Squaw Valley), and descend the remaining 110 or so miles into Sacramento.
For those who’d like to ride along indoors, The Amgen Tour of California, The Workout, is available on the race website, at the official merchandise kiosks at the race and on trainright.com.