Chris Carmichael Blog: New Science for Understanding What Makes Endurance Go – and Stop.

I’m tired. Really tired. And this morning while you’re reading this I’ll be on my bike tackling the hardest stage of the Amgen Tour of California: Stage 7, Claremont to Mt. Baldy. The route is only 75 miles, but it climbs Glendora Ridge Road twice, and then the second time continues up to the summit finish on Mt. Baldy. I’ve ridden the climb before, but not after a week’s worth of hard riding on the 2011 CTS Amgen Tour of California Race Experience.

But when it comes to being exhausted, no one is more of an expert than CTS Premier Coach Jason Koop. He’s run – and finished – seven 100-mile ultramarathons in the past three years, and he just returned from helping Dean Karnazes complete his 75-day run across the United States. Some new research came out this week on ultramarathon runners, and Jason wrote a great article about a study that showed gastrointestinal distress (nausea/vomiting) to be the number 1 reason athletes fail to finish an ultramarathon. Whether you’re a runner, triathlete, or cyclist – and even if you never plan on doing ultra-endurance races – this article is still a must-read.

Click here to read: Gut Check: Techniques for Keeping Your Gut From Ending Your Race Early

This week has been an incredible experience. We have a group of 22 athletes and although we didn’t get to ride Stage 1 and had to shorten Stage 2, we’ve ridden the course the rest of the way. What’s been remarkable is the unity within the group. This isn’t like a cycling tour or a training camp where athletes ride together but often have individual purposes; here we are riding as a team and we have one purpose. There’s a sense of urgency because we’re being pursued by the professional peloton, and that reinforces the unity of the group and cuts down on the lollygagging and unnecessary stops. We’re having a lot of fun, partly because we’re pushing each other so hard and supporting each other along the way. In my 40 years as a cyclist I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything quite like this, and even though I’m tired I’m already looking forward to next year!


For more about the 2011 CTS Amgen Tour of California Race Experience, visit for photos and videos, and follow me on Twitter at

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If you’re interested in joining CTS for unique training and racing experiences, I encourage you to consider signing up for our 2011 La Ruta de los Conquistadores Race Experience. It’s part of my Epic Endurance Bucket List, and I did the race last year with a group of 15 coaches and athletes, and it was an extremely challenging, life-changing experience. This year we’re taking a team down for a course-reconnaissance camp in September, followed by comprehensive race support (ground transportation, meals, accommodations, mechanics, race-day nutrition support in aid stations, etc.) for the La Ruta race in November.  

Other links to check out:
CTS Video Training Tip, brought to you by Aquaphor:
Video Clip from CTS Coach Winston Sauber at CTS Climbing Camp:

Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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