Chris Carmichael is coming to the Seattle Bike Expo (March 8 and 9; http://cascade.org/EandR/expo) to do a couple presentations on working with Lance Armstrong. (Carmichael's the dude above who's not Lance.) I wrote a piece about the expo for this Thursday's (March 6) Seattle Times Northwest Weekend section and was fortunate to spend about 20 minutes with Chris on the phone. (You don't mind if I call you Chris, do you?)
He seemed like a real nice guy who, at the time, was in the throes of dadhood. ("Connor, put that down. No, Connor come over here, please. Connor ..." And so on.) Here are excerpts from my interview with Chris. All words are his.
"I’ll be doing a couple presentations, basically presenting what it took for Lance to win the Tour de France seven times. ... What made him so special was just his approach. He was a 365-day 24-seven athlete. ... He was just meticulous about everything he did, from training to his equipment to nutrition to selecting his team to everything. As an example of how meticulous he was, in his seven Tour de France victories, he had only one flat tire—and that wasn’t by luck. It’s just an example of his approach. ... I hooked up with Lance in 1990 when I was the national team coach. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize he was special."
On how he's working with Lance these days:
"I help him with his running. Next month in Boston (Boston Marathon), he’d like to be low 2:40s, and next fall, mid 2:30s at New York (New York City Marathon). He also wants to do an ultraendurance mountain bike event--those are his three goals this year. He likes to have goals, they keep him motivated and fit."
I asked Chris if this is leading up to Lance eventually doing an Ironman triathlon.
"I doubt it. You don’t just go out and do an Ironman. He just wants to enjoy himself. The last thing he wants to do right now is follow any kind of structured program."
Then I got selfish. I asked him if he had any advice for a 46-year-old endurance athlete who's just now getting into bike racing.
"First, join a cycling club. You'll gain loads of experience on group rides and build your skills like learning how to draft--remember, where there’s a wheel there’s a way. Also, you need to get comfortable riding at higher pedal cadence--at least 90, 100, 110--that way you can adjust to the abrupt changes in speed. With experience, you'll get a feel for the ebb and flow of a race and you'll gain an understanding of tactics. You go into each race with a strategy; the strategy is your plan, the tactics are how you implement that plan. ... Also, I'll be selfish and say hire a coach—it’s going to help you with your training as well as the physical and nutritional aspects."
Nice guy; I look forward to his presentation.
Switching gears completely ... we finally got around to having Baker's 9th birthday party today--only two weeks late! But we has excuses. He was sick. Jen was sick. Etc. On video below, note that we couldn't find matches or a lighter and so couldn't light the candles.
The party was at Leading Edge North, the gymnastic place. Lots tumblin' and fun!