Carmichael Training Systems
Carmichael Training SystemsTM

Matching Nutrition to Your Evolving Training This Spring

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems.

Carmichael Training Systems

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Congratulations! Those long, often cold miles that predominate your winter foundation training are coming to an end. For many of us, the coming spring and summer indicates that it’s time for some real preparatory work to begin.

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

The concept of periodization divides your training into small, distinct, goal-oriented segments. These dynamic training phases (Foundation, Preparation, Specialization, and Transition) all place different demands on your mind and body. This type of program focuses on gradually reaching peak performance through a planned series of steps and the philosophy behind it applies to all aspects of your training, including nutrition.

Because your training load is changing, your nutritional demands need to change accordingly. Your nutrition plan must meet the energy, nutrition, and repair demands your training imposes on your body. When you’re eating enough of the right foods, the carbohydrate stores that supply so much energy for workout performance will be replenished between the end of the day’s workout and the beginning of the next day’s. Similarly, matching your food intake to your training helps ensure you’re getting enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to maximize both performance and health.

As the name implies, the Preparation Period of your periodized training program prepares you for competition or a specific goal. For most people who have summer sports goals, the Preparation Period applies to the spring months (March to May/June). While the previous Foundation Period focuses on longer, lower-intensity workouts that develop aerobic conditioning, the Preparation Period is characterized by interval efforts near your maximum sustainable pace or intensity. You have developed a strong aerobic base, and now it’s time to push the pace in training so you can go faster and longer.

Your typical weekend rides or runs will still be long, if not longer, than your winter outings, and will include periods of higher intensity. These increased workloads mean you will have increased carbohydrate needs. How much? Likely around 3.0 to 3.5 grams per pound of body weight. Your protein requirement will go up as well to the 0.6 to 0.7 grams per pound range. Overall, your total caloric intake should only increase by about 15 percent over your nutrition program from the winter. The relative ratios of carbohydrate, protein, and fat don’t need to change, and this 15 percent increase in energy intake can simply come from making small increases in portion size.

While these guidelines address the issue of macronutrient demands, they do not consider the importance of choosing quality macronutrients. The question remains: Which food choices are the healthiest examples of carbohydrate, protein, and fat?

When we consume food, we get everything within that food product, good and bad. While the sugars in a doughnut and an orange both potentially end up as liver and muscle glycogen, the fruit has several advantages over the doughnut. It is rich in antioxidants and free of saturated fats. It also contains much more fiber. Here are some examples of excellent food choices for all three macronutrients:

Quality Carbohydrates:
Cooked potato with skin: 50 grams/cup
Brown rice: 45 grams/cup
Pasta: 40 grams/cup
Black beans: 40 grams/cup
Large banana: 30 grams
Large pear: 25 grams
Watermelon: 11 grams/cup

Quality Protein:
Soybeans: 29 grams/cup (the only vegetable source of complete protein)
Lean red meats: 7 grams/ounce
White meat chicken and turkey: 7 grams/ounce
Fish: 7 grams/ounce
Egg: approx. 6 grams per egg

Quality Fat:
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews
Seeds: flaxseed, sunflower, safflower, sesame
Oils: olive, sunflower, flaxseed

Be careful not to be overly clinical about nutrition. This is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle, mentally or physically. However, a little thought can go a long way in aiding your recovery and boosting the benefits of your training program. Nutrition should support the activities you spend so much time and energy training for, so listen to your body when you find yourself craving more food as the volume and intensity of your training increases this spring.

One more tip: don’t pay so much attention to your desire to lose weight right away. Matching your nutrition program to your training will gradually bring you down to your ideal weight, but it won’t destroy your performance the way that a combination of drastic dieting and hard training can. Your sedentary friends can afford to lose weight quickly because they place almost no demand on their body to perform. Focusing on weight loss first and quality training second will leave you lighter, but slower. Focusing on quality training and proper nutritional support enables you to get faster and leaner at the same time.

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Get Back On Track and Accomplish Your Season Goals

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

With spring kicking off, now is a great time to get back into your training routine. But don’t let your ambitions get the best of you—when returning to a fitness program, it’s important not to jump back into heavy training too quickly. Instead, target a well-designed program that will have you healthy and ready to knock off your spring fitness goals. Here’s a regimen for getting you on the right track:

Build a Strong Foundation
A strong aerobic base needs to be established early in the season to act as a foundation on which build the rest of your training. Many athletes ignore the importance of this period and want to immediately train at their highest intensity. They will soon find that they are unable to sustain their intensity for very long, and, in the process, they’ll increase the likelihood of injury. Incorporating lower-intensity workouts that focus on building your aerobic energy system will help build a solid base and reduce the likelihood of injury in the first two weeks of training.

This is also a great time to work on transferring any gains from resistance training to your specific sport. This is accomplished by incorporating strength drill workouts into your program. For cyclists, this can mean over-geared intervals, like powering up to speed from a near standstill, or climbing a long, gradual hill with a very slow cadence and high resistance. For runners it can mean uphill intervals. By teaching your muscles to use the increased strength in a more functional manner, your training benefits much more.

Working on required skills that might be rusty from the previous year is also a good idea at this point in the season. Incorporating workouts that focus on form and technique will help you to optimize your efficiency and keep you performing smoothly throughout the season.

Optimal Training Progression
Oftentimes, athletes increase their training stimulus too quickly and end up paying for it later in the season. Overtraining, fatigue, and injury can be the result of poorly timed training progression. Gradually progressing through your fitness training will not only help you adapt to increasing exercise intensities, it will also decrease the likelihood of injury, and help maximize your fitness. The following are one-week cycling and running recommendations you can use for the first one to two weeks of your return to training.

Cycling – Sample Week
Monday – Off Day
Tuesday – 45-minute FoundationMilesTM, include 3 x 1-minute FastPedalsTM with 3 minutes rest between efforts.
Wednesday – 30-minute FoundationMiles, include 3 x 20-second StompsTM with 5 minutes rest between efforts.
Thursday – 45-minute FoundationMiles, include 3 x 1-minute FastPedals with 3 minutes rest between efforts.
Friday – Off Day or 30 minute RecoveryMilesTM
Saturday – 45-minute FoundationMiles, include 2 x 12-second PowerStartsTM with 5 minutes rest between efforts.
Sunday – 1-hour FoundationMiles

• FoundationMiles – This is a low-intensity workout utilizing the aerobic energy system. Use lighter gearing and keep pedal cadence between 85-95 rpm.

• PowerStarts – This is a short, maximal burst, designed to develop power and convert the strength gained from resistance training to your cycling. Use large gearing and begin the effort at a low speed and near standstill, jump up on the pedals, and perform the exercise standing out of the saddle.

• FastPedals – This is a workout focusing on improving pedaling stroke and efficiency. Use light gearing and keep pedal cadence very high, 105-130+. While staying in the saddle, work on applying pressure through the entire pedal stroke, pulling through the bottom and over the top. Avoid bouncing and rocking your hips.

• Stomps – This is a workout designed to improve muscular strength and power. It converts the strength gained from resistance training to your cycling. Use large gearing and begin the effort at a moderate speed. While staying in the saddle, begin stomping the pedals as hard as possible.

• RecoveryMiles – This is a low-intensity workout, designed to assist training adaptations. Use light gearing and keep cadence between 75-85 rpm. Relax and keep the effort light to help promote the active recovery process.

Running – Sample Week
Monday – Off Day
Tuesday – 30-minute FoundationRunTM, include 4 x 10-second RunningStridesTM with 2 minutes rest between efforts completed before or after the FoundationRun
Wednesday – 25-minute RecoveryRunTM
Thursday – 30-minute FoundationRun, include 2 sets of 3 x 25-second RunningDrillsTM completed before or after the Foundation Run
Friday – Off Day or 25-minute RecoveryRun
Saturday – 30-minute FoundationRun, include 1 set of 2 x 25-second StrengthDrillsTM completed after the FoundationRun
Sunday – 35-minute FoundationRun, include 1 x 15-minute SteadyStateRunTM completed within the FoundationRun

• FoundationRun – This is a low-intensity workout, utilizing the aerobic energy system. Keep your heart rate low and run at a steady pace.

• SteadyStateRun – This is a workout designed to improve sustainable pace at lactate threshold by training just below this point. Run at a steady pace while keeping your heart rate just below your heart rate at lactate threshold.

• RecoveryRun – This is a low-intensity workout, designed to assist training adaptations. Relax and keep the effort light to help promote the active recovery process.

• RunningStrides – This is a workout used to keep the fast-twitch muscle fibers activated, and to teach your body to be more dynamic. Run at a pace 30-60 seconds below your 5-kilometer race pace, focusing on your running mechanics.

• StrengthDrills – This is a workout designed to improve and maintain muscular strength and power and converts the strength gained from resistance training to your running. There are two drills that should be incorporated into this workout.

• Two-Legged Hopping: Start with both feet and legs together. Hop a comfortable distance forward (2-3 feet).

• Freehand Front Lunge: Stand with your hands on your hips, your back straight, head up, and feet 30 cm apart. Step forward as far as possible with the right leg, until upper right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Keep the left leg straight as possible. Step forward with the left leg until you are back in the starting position. Continue to alternate right and left.

• RunningDrills – This is a workout designed to improve running stride, coordination, and neuromuscular recruitment of specific muscle fibers. There are three drills that should be incorporated into this workout, A’s, B’s, and C’s;

• A’s: Performed by marching, skipping, or running. Keep your head up, get high knee lift, coordinate opposite arm with opposite leg, and snap your leg back down into position.

• B’s: Performed by marching or skipping. This is an extension of A’s, where you lift your knee like you are doing an ‘A’ and then kick your foot out forward, finish by a quick acceleration of the ball of the foot to the ground (like you are scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe).

• C’s: Performed by running. Run with high heel lift, tapping your heels lightly and quickly to your butt (also known as “butt kicks”).

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Frozen Foods: They’re Convenient, but Are They Healthy?

Carmichael Training SystemsTM Carmichael Training SystemsTM

Most people know that fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats are solid nutritional bets, but not many people have the time to prepare these items on a daily basis. Because of our constant on-the-go lifestyle, frozen foods have become a staple in the diets of many Americans. But in the age of “the quicker the better,” quick doesn’t have to mean unhealthy.

Like every section of the supermarket, the frozen food aisles are packed with good nutrition positives and pitfalls. It’s just a matter of being choosy.

On the whole, buying frozen foods can have its upside. For example, you can buy foods such as berries and vegetables all year round. Since they’re flash-frozen right in the fields or close by, the freshness is preserved, and nutritional benefits are still intact. Simply thaw and eat the berries, or lightly steam the vegetables instead of boiling them, but watch out for added sauces and syrups that can bring unhealthy elements to the table.

Although frozen dinners usually get a bad rap, more and more companies are coming up with healthier versions of your traditional TV dinner. The one good quality all frozen meals have is portion control. You can sit down to a meal and know exactly how much you’re eating. However, you have to pay close attention to the nutrition labels on frozen meals. Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are good for you. Here’s what to look for:

1. Number of Servings: Most people eat a frozen meal in one sitting; however, many of the smaller meals are actually more than one serving. This means that when you are looking at the calories, fat, or anything else on the label, you’ll have to multiply it by the number of servings.

2. Calories: Remember, if it’s your meal, lower isn’t always better. A very low-calorie meal (200 to 300 cals) will leave you hungry and more likely to snack later. Since many frozen meals are low in calories, add some veggies, whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice to them. Of course, also watch the calories on the high end, too. Most frozen meals that are high in calories are also very high in fat.

3. Fat and Saturated Fat: It is common for frozen meals to be very high in fat and saturated fat. Make sure you choose meals that contain less than 30 percent of their calories coming from total fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat.

4. Sodium: As with any processed foods, sodium is something to watch carefully. Choose frozen meals with no more than 200mg of sodium for every 100 calories.

Smart Choices

Amy’s Black Bean Burrito
Calories: 280
Fat (g): 8
Sat Fat (g): 1
Sodium (mg): 580

Amy’s Brown Rice and Vegetables
Calories: 250
Fat (g): 8
Sat Fat (g): 1
Sodium (mg): 250

Michelina’s Lean Gormet – Roasted Red Pepper Spaghetti (100 percent whole wheat pasta)
Calories: 230
Fat (g): 4.5
Sat Fat (g): 2
Sodium (mg): 380

Healthy Choice Grilled Turkey Breast
Calories: 250
Fat (g): 5
Sat Fat (g): 2
Sodium (mg): 500

Lean Cuisine Dinnertime Selections – Grilled Chicken & Penne Pasta
Calories: 340
Fat (g): 6
Sat Fat (g): 2.5
Sodium (mg): 680

Lean Cuisine Dinnertime Selections – Teriyaki Steak
Calories: 340
Fat (g): 7
Sat Fat (g): 2.5
Sodium (mg): 690

Steer Clear

Little Juan’s Beef and Bean Burrito
Calories: 350
Fat (g): 14
Sat Fat (g): 5
Sodium (mg): 570

Hungryman Mexican Style Fiesta
Calories: 870
Fat (g): 38
Sat Fat (g): 10
Sodium (mg): 2230

Stouffer’s White Meat Chicken Pot Pie
Calories: 1260
Fat (g): 70
Sat Fat (g): 30
Sodium (mg): 1920

Marie Calander’s Meat Lasagna
Calories: 600
Fat (g): 23
Sat Fat (g): 13
Sodium (mg): 2375

Hungryman XXL – Roasted Carved Turkey
Calories: 1450
Fat (g): 58
Sat Fat (g): 26
Sodium (mg): 5410

Swanson’s Sports Grill, Pulled Pork with BBQ Sauce in Flatbread & Cheese Fries
Calories: 810
Fat (g): 44
Sat Fat (g): 18
Sodium (mg): 1820

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Down to the Core: Three Exercises to Save Your Strength Gains

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

Watch a
video of core conditioning exercises on Outside Television.

As summer begins to heat up, you’re likely to spend more time training outside and participating in events, but for many active people and summer sports athletes, strength training declines during the warmer months of the year. However, instead of completely turning your back on strength training, enhance your training and competitive performances throughout the season by holding on to a few key core strength exercises.

We’ve all heard the buzzwords “core strength.” Although we get bombarded by late-night infomercials and consumer marketing that hype this catchphrase, this is one case where the benefits actually live up to the hype. A strong core plays an important role in helping you maintain proper posture during daily activities and exercise. As a result, it helps prevent injuries and enhances performance in almost every sport. Take a couple minutes a week to continue your focus on core training, and it will pay off.

Listed below are three exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home in as little as 20 minutes a day. Try to do them two to three times a week during the summer and this routine will help you keep your core strong, which is important for running, riding, swimming, and climbing faster and more comfortably. Make sure to focus on good posture and technique throughout, and always warm up before you begin.

Summer Maintenance Core Strength Workout
Warm-Up: Ten to15 minutes of aerobic activity to raise heart rate and increase blood flow to muscles before you begin your circuit
Sets: Three times through the circuit of the following exercises
Reps: 15 reps per exercise
Breathing: Exhale on the abdominal contraction and inhale on the stretch phase
Rest: 90 seconds after each circuit
Cool-Down: Five to ten minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (walking) to aid in muscle recovery
Frequency: Two to three times per week

1. Russian Twist

How: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, your heels on the ground, and a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate held about six to 12 inches away from your chest. Beginners can do these without added weight by clasping your hands in front of your chest. Lean back until you feel your abdominal muscles engage (your back will be at about a 45-degree angle with the floor). Rotate your upper body as far as you can to the right, focusing on rotating your whole upper body, not just your arms. Return to the center and then twist to the other side. One repetition is a twist to each side. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions in one set.

2. Stability Ball Knee Tuck
How: Start in a push-up position with the front side of your shins on the top of a stability ball and your body parallel to the floor. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. You’ll feel your torso muscles engage just to maintain this plank position. To start the knee tuck, use your stomach muscles to curl your knees up toward your chest. Pause for one second and then extend your legs to return to the starting position. Repeat for 12 to 15 repetitions.

3. Reverse Crunch
How: Lie on your back with your legs straight, feet together. Hold your arms straight at a 45-degree angle out from your torso, palms facing down. Bend your knees and bring them to your chest by tightening your abdominal muscles and curling your hips off the ground. Be careful to engage your abdominal muscles to produce the movement instead of relying on the muscles in the front of your hips and legs. When the knees have reached the chest, or as close as you can get, curl back down and return to the start position.

Core Training Tip
Resist arching your back. Your abdominals support your entire mid-section and are utilized in every sport. Use your abdominals to maintain your posture through every exercise and you will be injury free and strong through the season.

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Under Pressure: Using Your Watch Barometer

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

One question we hear a lot from people who buy a heart-rate monitor like Suunto’s t6 is, “Why the hell do I need a barometer on this thing?” Well, it’s there—among other reasons—because it could save your hide from a torrential afternoon downpour.

Think about it: If you’re on an all-day bike ride, hike, or multi-hour training run, you’d like some advance warning that the darkening skies overhead are indeed going to dump instead of pass on. That way, you can seek shelter or head home sooner rather than when it’s too late. That’s where the barometer comes in.

By checking the barometric pressure (a number usually between 28.00 and 31.00 Hg, or inches of mercury) throughout your workout, you can get a good sense of how the weather’s going to play out. According to Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a rapid fall in pressure—up to one tenth of an inch in less than an hour—may signify the impending approach of a strong to severe thunderstorm. If the Hg reading holds steady or rises, then the weather is getting better, and you may be alright.

As another reference, NOAA still refers to the rough observations from the British Rev. Dr. Brewer’s 1848 tome, A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar, which states the following:

• In very hot weather, a falling barometer denotes thunder or high winds.
• In sub-freezing weather, a falling barometer denotes thaw.
• In already wet weather, a falling barometer means much more wet.
• In fair weather, a barometer that falls and remains low means much wet in a few days.
• In sub-freezing weather, the rise of a barometer presages snow.
• In a dry period right after rain, if the pressure rises suddenly, fine weather will not last long.

To give you an idea of the extreme ends of the Hg band, check out these records listed by NOAA: The lowest recorded Hg reading was 25.69 Hg found in the eye of a typhoon over the Pacific Ocean. The highest recorded reading was found in Siberia at 32.06 Hg. So what pressure is “just right”? Well, that would be the mean sea-level pressure, which is a constant of 29.92.

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Recipe: Roast Salmon with Spinach and Figs

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

Salmon is one of the best foods for active individuals. It’s packed with high-quality protein for recovery and muscle maintenance, as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Not only have these fats been associated with reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, they may also play a protective role for brain cells. Some experts suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to slow the age-related degeneration of brain cells—and may even be able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Roast Salmon with Spinach and Figs
Serves four
Prep time start to finish 25 minutes

4 six oz. boneless and skinless salmon filets VEGAN: Substitute 4 bricks fresh tofu
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Spinach and Figs:
1 lb. fresh spinach: Rinsed, dried, and torn into smaller pieces (remove the large stems).
1/2 medium onion: Peeled, root and tip discarded, and cut into ten even sections.
3 Tablespoons olive oil (substituting 4 oz /1 stick unsalted butter will make it richer)
6 oz. (3/4 cup) dried figs, chopped into pieces
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Arrange the salmon on a baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Cook for 15 minutes.
5. Turn the broiler setting on high.
6. Place under the broiler for four minutes.
Note: It’s good to have the salmon golden brown to the top; it is important to cook salmon through as it will be more tender.

Spinach and Figs:
1. Place a large four-quart saucepan over medium heat.
2. When hot add the butter and onion at the same time and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
3. Turn heat down slightly then cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until spinach begins to soften.
5. Remove from heat and season.

To Serve
Arrange plate with the spinach as base and salmon on top.

Calories (kcal): 424
Carbohydrates (g): 31
Protein (g): 39
Fat (g): 16
Total Dietary Fiber (g): 8

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at

Why try Cyclocross?

Carmichael Training Systems

Carmichael Training Systems Carmichael Training SystemsTM

Sven Nijs, Bart Wellens, Erwin Vervecken… These names mean very little to anyone outside the world of cyclocross, but to those who know them, they conjure images of the gods of the barriers floating with grace through muddy run-ups… dismounting with precision into a full-on sprint over the obstacles in front of them in a lung-searing, leg burning hour of pain. Sound like fun? You bet it is!

So this begs the question, why should you try cyclocross? You’re perfectly content sitting there on your trainer in your heated house, why would you want to go outside and play in the mud? Here are a few reasons:

• improved handling skills in all conditions
• a high-intensity workout in a short amount of time
• a change of workout routine
• it’s a weight-bearing exercise
• it’s a great opportunity for outdoor socializing in the middle of winter

As a staunch track racer, I spent more than half of my life on the banked corners of a velodrome until about ten years ago, when I started cyclocross. My track racing results were improving, which put me in the higher categories, and I needed to find a way to continue to improve my fitness over the winter to be competitive with my pro counterparts come spring.

Cyclocross, in which racers ride, run with, and carry modified road bikes over a combination of road, gravel, and grass, combines the speed of road racing with the technical difficulties of mountain biking and the intensity of track racing. It was the perfect solution to my winter training dilemma.

Among the many reasons for racing ‘cross (and I must admit, I was never a contender for the win) I found it to be an amazing way to improve my bike handling skills and balance. There’s nothing like slipping and sliding through mud, grass, and leaves on relatively narrow tires to teach you how to stay upright. Combine this with 40 or 50 other wackos all attempting to do the same thing, and you’ve got some quality comedy for those standing on the sidelines!

If you’re already a cyclist, your skills and fitness give you advantages in some areas of cyclocross, and possibly disadvantages in others. Mountain bikers feel really comfortable and confident riding in the dirt, but sometimes fall behind the road and track racers on the smoother sections of the course.

The workout itself is a vital reason for racing ‘cross. Athletes in cold climates often struggle to complete high-quality, high-intensity workouts in the dead of winter. Cyclocross solves that problem beautifully, and in less than an hour. From the word “go,” races are full-tilt battles to get the holeshot, and then an hour’s worth of near maximal effort to maintain your position.

More often than not, leaders quickly separate themselves from the rest of the pack and work together to maintain that lead. In actuality though, everyone in the race is looking for any opportunity to exploit weaknesses in their counterparts, whether it’s in dismounting the bike, running over the barriers, or jumping back on the bike.

The pace is high, reactions are quick, and when you’re finished, you’ve done more work in 30 to 60 minutes than you would have in three hours or more riding on your own or in your basement.

Because of the weight bearing nature of cyclocross (due to the running), you should give some thought to putting in a bit of training before jumping into your first race. A solid two to three weeks of steady-pace running two to three times a week should allow your body to adapt to the movements of the sport. Trail running is ideal, as it very closely simulates the type of terrain you’ll encounter in any race. Plus, be sure to take some time to practice your dismounts and barriers, as you’ll find the race situation a little more forgiving than if you had just jumped in with no practice.

Don’t know where to start? Talk with your local bike shop or cycling club–many often hold mid-week practice sessions in local parks.

Train right with tips and tricks and of the trade from Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems, at