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Cycling guru books visit to Folsom

By: Cecil Conley
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Cycling is not as simple as slipping on a pair of tennis shoes and taking a few trips around the block. Time is of the essence for a cyclist, from inflating tires and filling water bottles to actually hitting the road. Chris Carmichael offers time advice in his latest book, “The Time-Crunched Cyclist.” “A lot of training boils down to manipulating time and intensity,” Carmichael wrote in an e-mail interview. “We’ve shown that with just two one-hour workouts during the week and two rides on the weekends, you can be fit, fast, and powerful Carmichael has produced books and DVDs in which he shares the same words of wisdom and training methods that he has used in working with Lance Armstrong and other elite cyclists. On Friday, Carmichael will sign copies of his latest book from 3 to 7 p.m. at Bicycles Plus, 705 Gold Lake Drive in Folsom. His appearance is in conjunction with Connect 4 a Cure‘s cycling fundraiser Saturday. For information about the organization and the event, go to www.connect4acure.org. Carmichael will be pedaling in the event Saturday, when cyclists can choose to go 30, 69 or 102 miles. On his way to Northern California, he shared a few thoughts about cycling and his career. Q: Are you surprised by the popularity of cycling, both professional and recreational, in the United States? A: Cycling is one of the most popular recreational activities for people of all ages, and it’s natural that a large number of people enjoy watching top athletes compete in cycling events. Lance’s story and Tour de France wins certainly helped increase the popularity of cycling and the Tour de France in the U.S., but it’s important to note that the sport remained popular during the years (2005-2008) when he first retired. Q: The Tour of California has gone from organizers begging cities to participate to cities bidding to be involved. What has made the event successful and will there be more such events in the future? A: It’s a very well-run event, first of all. The organizers are professionals who are very good at working with communities to maximize the economic benefit the race can deliver to their cities, all while putting on a top-tier race that’s exciting and safe for the riders. Q: More and more people are climbing aboard bikes. What would be your advice for a beginner? A: Cycling can be a lifelong activity and you don’t have to go from your first ride to riding a 100-mile ride in a few weeks. Ride a few times a week for at least 30 minutes in the beginning, and you’ll soon see significant improvements in the effort required for those rides and the pace you can sustain. After that, you can increase the length and intensity of your rides to target whatever fitness, weight management, or performance goals you have. Q: Technology has turned bikes into machines worth thousands of dollars. What are the key items to consider in buying a bike? A: Local bikes shops are incredibly important for getting new cyclists involved in the sport, and that’s why it’s important to find a good shop staffed with knowledgeable people who understand and can relate to where you are as a cyclist. Q: What is the secret to your success as a cycling coach? A: There are no secrets. One of the reasons I’ve been successful as a coach is that I respect sports science, but I’m not a slave to it. There’s no doubt that a deep knowledge of sports science is important for helping athletes reach their goals, but coaching is about more than analyzing power files and studying lab test results. You have to understand athletes and learn to evaluate their response to training and what motivates them. Q: How has your relationship with Armstrong benefited you? A: I’ve known Lance for more than 20 years, and I’m happy to have played a role – along with many others – in his success. Working with Lance during his recovery from cancer changed the way I approached coaching, which was instrumental in the development of the coaching methods I use with Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) athletes and teach to CTS coaches.