Chris Carmichael Blog: Speed Counts

This weekend’s email/blog is going to be short and to the point, because the weather here in Colorado Springs is tremendous and I’m going out to take advantage of it! I hope the spring weather has turned beautiful in your area as well. But before I head out, a few tips and an article link:

For all you triathletes, check out this article from CTS Senior Coach Natalie Bojko. She works in our Tucson Regional Center and wrote a great piece about Perfecting Your Flip Turn.

Cycling Tip: Speed Counts
If you’re preparing for criteriums or the fast finishes in road races, you need to be doing some high-power, very-high intensity interval work. One way that people often do these on a hill, because the incline helps increase the resistance and enables them to get to the power outputs and effort levels required.

When you’re targeting the VO2 max energy system, this strategy works very well. But you also have to remember the Specificity Principle: your training needs to address the demands of your competition as closely as possible. In the high-speed, high-intensity environment of the final 2 miles of a criterium or road race, your speed, gearing, and cadence will likely be a lot higher than they are during uphill intervals in training. The energy system demand might be similar, but instead of producing 350 watts at 70-80 rpm as you charge uphill in the small chainring, you’ll be doing it with your hands in the drops and pedaling a huge gear at 110+ rpm. The uphill intervals have their place in your training program, but remember that you also need to incorporate some high-intensity intervals that incorporate the speed, gearing, and body position that you will face in competition.

If video training tips are more your style, the video training tips we produced this spring in cooperation with our partners at Aquaphor are online now and featured on as part of the Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge. From now through the end of the Tour de France, we’ll be posting a weekly training tip on Map My Ride, and those tips will also be posted on Go to to check out the Challenge. Sign up and become eligible to win weekly or grand prizes just for riding your bike! And check out the first of 15 Video Training Tips.

And if you haven’t already checked it out, here’s the link to the new “Amgen Tour of California: The Workout” DVD: We were only able to produce a limited quantity, so even if you’re not going to be indoors much more this Spring, I’d suggest purchasing a copy. They may not be available at all in the Fall.

Chris Carmichael
Founder/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

Additional Links for upcoming Camps and Events
I’ll be coaching at the following training camps and riding the following events. If you’re interested in any of these camps, please call our Athlete Services department at 866-355-0645 or email

Triathlon Performance Camp, July 21-23, in Asheville, NC (Training Camp)

Triple Bypass (East to West), July 9, in Evergreen, CO (Event)

High-Altitude Performance Camp, June 21-25, in Vail, CO (Training Camp)

King Ridge Gran Fondo Training Camps, August 25-27 and 28-30, in Santa Rosa, CA (Training/Recon Camp)