Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Caffeine Boost To Performance?

I've only had one cup of coffee in my life and other than the occasional soft drink I don't do cafffeine on any type of regular basis. Maybe I should....


Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday: 1x20, Monday 3x6

Yesterday I did 1x20 at 310 and today 3x6 at 320, so some steady state efforts with tomorrow off for travel to Augusta. I'll ride the course on Wednesday and race on Thursday and ideally head to macon, GA on Friday to see The Big House where the Allman Brothers lived, then its on to Birmingham. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

5x3 minute power intervals on Heekin Avenue

Startin the taper to nationals by decreasing volume but maintaining intensity. I did 5 efforts up Heekin Avenue  (3 minutes from Eastern Avenue to just below Principio) at 449, 414, 414, 404 and 393 with about 2 minutes between. I thin did an easy hour at 170 watts. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Climbing Mistakes from CTS


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cleves Time Trial, May 23

Pretty much a carbon copy of previous weeks with power at 353 (slightly higher), cadence at 93 and speed around 27; last effort on this course prior to leaving for USAC nationals and NSG Nationals next week 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Concussion Care: CTS article

Concussion Care: What to do after you hit your head

Earlier this week Toms Skujins of the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team had a high-speed crash on a descent at the Amgen Tour of California. Because I had already finished riding the stage with CTS Athletes, I was watching the race on television. Like so many who watched it live and have since watched it in replays, I was immediately worried for Toms when he got up, struggled to remount his bike, fell over again, and continued to have trouble with balance and coordination. Over the past few days great articles have examined whether he should have continued (no), whether anything else could have been done in the moment (no), and what can be done in the future to prevent similar scenarios (good question). Rather than rehash those articles, I’d rather focus on what you should do if you suffer a concussion.
I am not a physician and therefore cannot provide medical advice, so my coaches and I follow the Medicine of Cycling concussion management guidelinesdeveloped in conjunction with USA Cycling.


In order to better understand how a head injury may be affecting you cognitively you need to have baseline data established before you hit your head. I crashed and hit my head in November 2015, but had no pre-injury data for doctors to compare to. Nevertheless, I followed the post-concussion protocol before returning to training and subsequent tests indicated improvement compared to the immediate post-injury test. Medicine of Cycling and USA Cycling recommend seeing a medical profession trained in concussion management for a SCAT2, imPACT, and/or BESS test.


Any helmet is better than no helmet, a new helmet is better than a year-old (or older) helmet, and a MIPS helmet provides greater safety than a non-MIPS helmet. In my view, best practice is to replace your helmet annually, or sooner if you are involved in a crash. You can debate whether annual replacement is strictly necessary for all cyclists, but I only have one brain so for me the peace of mind is worth the expense of a new helmet.
Why purchase a helmet with MIPS technology? MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System and it enables a helmet to slide relative the head when you impact the ground at an angle. This reduces rotational stress on your head and neck, which may reduce the amount of strain incurred by the brain as a result of a crash. It is not proprietary technology owned by any individual helmet company, so you can now find the technology in a wide range of brands. Through a long-standing relationship with Giro, my coaches and I protect our heads with Giro Synthe MIPS helmets.


The Medicine of Cycling concussion protocol includes in-race assessment tools to help anyone at a bike race – not just physicians – recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and take appropriate action. The vast majority of athletes reading this article are between the ages of 40 and 65, and virtually none of us are competing or participating in cycling events for anything other than personal goals. So let’s just make the post-crash decision ahead of time:
If you hit your head in a crash, you’re day is done.
To many of us old-school knuckleheads that might seem needlessly overcautious, but take a step back and think about it. We know so much more about the long term and cumulative effects of head injuries than we knew when we were in our teens and twenties racing and crashing without helmets. At this point in our lives and with where cycling fits in with your family, career, and lifestyle priorities, I struggle to find a justifiable reason to get back in the race or finish an event after hitting your head. If you are otherwise stranded and need to ride to get back home or to a place someone can meet you, ride slow and easy, preferably not alone.


Lack of follow-up is the biggest problem I see with athletes over 40 after they suffer a concussion. I can tell you from personal experience that following post-concussion protocols is inconvenient and frustrating, but those are not justifiable excuses for ignoring the protocols.
In my view, much of the resistance to follow through on the protocols is generational. If you are over 40 you grew up in an era when you were told to take a few days off – at most – and returned to training or racing as soon as you no longer had a headache. As usual I find it helpful to understand why experts believe prolonged rest is necessary. In a 2012 article in Velonews, neuropsychologist Eric Freitag described the mechanism of injury as a “metabolic dysfunction”. The chemical and electrical transmissions between neurons in the brain get disrupted, and the process of reestablishing homeostasis requires time and energy. Activities that require higher cognitive function direct resources away from this recovery process, which delays your return to normal function.
In the same way you have to balance stress with adequate recovery in order to create positive adaptations to physical training, you have to provide your brain with adequate cognitive recovery in order for it to return to normal function. While I realize this is probably a gross oversimplification of post-concussion recovery, as an athlete and coach I found it much easier to comply with the post-concussion protocols once I was able to relate it to physical training and recovery.


The slow-motion epidemic of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in retired football players, contact sport athletes, and combat sport athletes begs the question of whether cyclists are also at risk for this degenerative condition. Shortly after legendary BMX athlete Dave Mirra commited suicide in early 2016, Ian Dille wrote an article about cycling and traumatic brain injuries for Bicycling Magazine. In the article, Steve Broglio, director of the NeuroTrauma Researcher Laboratory at the University of Michigan reassured cyclists their risks of developing CTE are quite low. Repetitive trauma, particularly repeated trauma in an already-injured state, presents the biggest danger for developing CTE. To paraphrase Broglio’s comments, although cyclists may incur a handful of concussions over the span of many years, the long recovery intervals between head traumas dramatically reduces the risk of developing CTE.
From a purely anecdotal viewpoint my life experience in cycling leads me to agree with Broglio’s assessment of the risk. I raced as an elite amateur and professional cyclist in the 1970s and 1980s, before cycling helmets offered any significant measure of protection against brain trauma. There were a lot of crashes, a lot of concussions, and little to no post-concussion recovery. Thirty-five years later, however, I am unaware of anyone who raced in that time period who has developed symptoms suggestive of CTE. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened at all, but that at least anecdotally a population of cyclists who endured more head injuries than the average cyclist doesn’t appear to be experiencing CTE at anywhere near the rate of athletes who played full-contact sports during that same time period.
Overall I am highly encouraged by the advances in concussion assessment and treatment, as well as the advances in protective technologies like MIPS, ICE crash sensors, and Strava Beacon. Athletes like Toms Skujins benefit directly from a greater understanding of brain trauma, which reduces the pressure to return to training and competition too early. We only get one brain, so it’s crucial we do everything we can to protect it.
Be safe, wear a helmet, and have fun!
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach of CTS

Friday, May 19, 2017

Clingmans Dome Ride

To Clingmans Dome and back: I made it to the top a few weeks ago in 2:20:00. Knowing I was close to that I pushed the last mile or so and did it in 2:19:50. I think my best is about 10 minutes faster than that but I was doing steady state intervals on the way up. This was purely for fun and that it was. Even the first seven miles of the descent in a shower was ok. Great day to ride in the mountains! Temperature went from a low of 61 to a high of 81. Blue line is speed, white temperature, red is elevation.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Recovery for Multi-day events


Carbs and Fats on Rides


Spring is beautiful in Colorado! The hills are green from the early spring snowfalls and the lakes are full from runoff from the mountain snowpack. Last week I rode up to Carter Lake and back, a 3:30 jaunt that included exploring a dirt road variation. I seek out dirt roads because they are safer with much less traffic and more scenic, although the riding is harder and slower.
At the lake I kicked back at the marina, drank a Coke (not diet), ate a half-dozen fig bars and soaked in the sun and the beauty. On the way I’d eaten a banana, apple slices, a granola bar and drank a bottle of tea sweetened with white sugar, and a bottle of water. Pedaling home — it always seems farther than riding out — I drank a bottle of sports drink, another bottle of water and ate a couple more granola bars. Over the course of the 3:30 ride I ate almost all carbs.

Avoiding the Sugar Rush and Crash

Conventional wisdom is that if you eat sugary food you’ll get a sugar rush and then your blood sugar will crash and your energy will wane. I consumed a lot of sugar: the Coke and sports drink were loaded with sugar, and the cookies were 50% sugar. The granola bars were less: 25% sugar. Why didn’t I have that sugar rush and crash? Three reasons:
1. I kept eating and drinking sweets. My blood sugar didn’t crash because I kept feeding it a steady supply of sugar.
2. I consumed a mix of sugary stuff combined with starches and fat.
3. What I consumed had a moderate glycemic index.

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

GI measures how fast a food causes your blood glucose to rise. White bread with a GI of 100 is at the top of the scale against which the GI of other foods is measured. Glucose also has a GI of 100.
  • High GI 70-100
  • Moderate GI 40-70
  • Low GI <40 li="">
Table sugar, which is glucose and fructose, has a GI of only 65, so my sweetened tea had a moderate GI, as did the Coke with a GI of 63. The sports drink had a high GI of 83, and the newtons and breakfast bars had GIs in the 70s. The apple and banana had GIs in the 40s.
In general, you should eat low- to moderate-GI foods before a ride, and moderate- to high-GI foods during a ride. During a race the pros eat primarily carbohydrates with a high glycemic index for instant energy. You can eat tactically: moderate GI foods during much of the ride and then a high GI food for quick energy on a climb.
There is an explanation of GI with a comprehensive database of the GIs of different foods here.

Why Eating Carbs Is Important

When you exercise your muscles are burning a combination of fat and glucose, and the harder you exercise the higher the proportion that comes from glucose. Your body stores the glucose as glycogen, and your body can store only enough glycogen for 60 – 90 minutes of hard exercise, or two to three hours of moderate riding. Your brain can only burn sugar (glucose) for fuel, and when you run out of glucose, you bonk. Your body metabolizes all carbs into glucose, a sugar. This is another reason why eating sugar isn’t bad – your body’s going to turn carbs into sugar anyhow.
For more, see last week’s column on the Six Success Factors for Endurance Riders.

What are Carbs?

When we think of carbs we often think of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and starches like that. Carbs also include fruits and vegetables, which are almost 100% carbs. Low-fat milk is 50% carbs and low-fat yogurt is 66% carbs. Legumes (kidney beans, chili beans, etc.) are 50 to 75% carbs. Breakfast cereals without added sugar (Corn Flakes, Grape Nuts) are 100% carbs.
Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and legumes all provide essential vitamins and minerals. Whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice and potatoes with their skins also have important vitamins. You can eat a healthy high-carb diet.

Is a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet Bad?

Last week Dr. Gabe Mirkin wrote an excellent column on Low-Carbohydrate Diets Harm Athletic Performance. Several readers e-mailed me asking my thoughts — it depends on what you mean by “performance.” Dr. Mirkin explains correctly that a low-carb diet inhibits high-intensity training and performance. The 2016 Position Paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance by the American College of Sports Medicine makes the same point: low-carbohydrate availability limits the ability to train hard and race hard. If “athletic performance” for you means hard club rides, intensity training or racing, then a low-carb diet is bad.
One e-mail was from a reader who does 200 to 1200K brevets and wondered if a low-carb diet was bad for him. When he’s riding, most of his energy is coming from fat, with a smaller proportion still coming from carbs. By training on a low-carb diet he can train his body to metabolize a higher proportion of fat during an endurance ride, thus sparing precious glycogen. Some ultra runners have switched to high-fat, low-carb diets. Because they burn primarily fat, they can run 100-mile races without having to eat frequently, thus reducing GI problems.
In March I wrote about the pros and cons of a High-Carb or High-Fat Diet.

Experiment of One

I've used this phrase numerous times, but it's worth repeating that we’re each an experiment of one. When I was riding a lot of brevets in the past, one of my friends ate a lot of burritos that he bought at mini-marts. Another friend ate and drank sports nutrition products. I ate fruit, cookies, breakfast bars, pretzels, etc,. that I could buy at mini-marts. We all finished multiple brevets, including Paris-Brest-Paris several times.
Experiment with different foods and drinks to find out what works for you. What provides a steady stream of energy, tastes good and doesn’t cause GI problems? Some riders like the simplicity of pre-packaged cycling food. Others prefer to eat "real" food like the cookies, pretzels and such I prefer. Same with hydration. Go with what works for YOU.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


I did my spin class (mainly 8-10 minute efforts at 300-350), circuit class (the usual strength and plyo) and then this ride in TN with 3x1 minute at 422 and 1x7 minutes at 370. Tomorrow will be a light day with some hiking. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

This wasn't a bad time (22:50) but certainly not my best effort (339 watts). I did attack the first 3.1 miles (5k) into the wind at 365 avg watts. The last 5 miles of the course I kind of just cruised with the crosswind/tailwind doing its thing. Mentally I think I'm conserving for the races coming up. I'm excited and ready to go. Out of 40 riders tonight I was third, only being beat by two guys battling for the course record (currently #'s 1 and 2 all-time).

Sunday, May 14, 2017

4x4 power intervals

I used the climb near our house that I've used in the past for these (Heekin Avenue). Average power was 409, 404, 396 and 402. I did ride for about 30 minutes inside before I went out to do these. Felt fine other than that cut on my elbow letting me know its there with every bump on the road.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lactate and Cancer Connection?


Thursday, May 11, 2017

This week

Back riding in Tn with a short two hour ride late yesterday and then a 4.25 hour ride today (72 miles).  Did Cleves on Tuesday with temps in the upper 50's and humidity at 88%. Slow night. Same power as last week, 350, but over 30 seconds slower. Good training none the less. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

1 mile and 5 k canceled due to rain so did them inside

Held 432 for the 2:04 mile and 390 for the 6:40 5k, about the same as outside last year.

Racing at Altitude


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

First Cleves Time Trial

Rode well tonight with a 22:40, 92 rpm, 353 watts and 27.15 mph. The first half of the course was into a steady headwind (20+ mph) and the second with a nice tailwind. My power was pretty even on both halves.

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