I attended my first Carmichael Training Systems climbing camp in October of 2007. I was terrified. I had trained all summer just to be ready to survive the three day camp. I thought I was doing pretty well at the camp until the last day when we went out for a long group ride that included a fairly long climb. I was happy to be hanging out in front with the big boys on the bottom part of the climb. That didn`t last long. It took only a moment and I couldn`t see them anymore. Once I got to the top the front group was ready to go down. Imagine.

My CTS coach was there at the camp. I remember our conversation at the top of the hill before coming back down. “Tim, if these guys just keep training the way they normally train and if I train the way you tell  me to train according to the CTS protocols, could I ever beat them?” Tim quickly answered: “Absolutely.”

Fast forward to today. I am still being coached by CTS and I have attended more of their climbing camps. As we got going this morning on Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, the first mountain stage of the week, I was hoping that all the hard work would pay off. Again we had to cut 15 miles out of the stage in order to finish ahead of the pros. We still ended up riding 100 miles and we climbed 12,595 feet. On the first big climb of the day, a Category 1 climb, most of the group rode the first 14 kilometers together. It is when we saw the “5 kilometer to the top” sign that people started positioning themselves. The pace increased and we drop a few guys. A bunch of us battled it out and the pace got even higher as we passed the “1 kilometer to go” sign. I did cross the KOM (King of the Mountain) line in first place.

There is no question in my mind that CTS was instrumental in getting me from last on the climb to first on the climb. They have helped me raise my power, drop my weight, learn how to climb, climbing tactics and a whole lot more.  Climbing well is something most cyclists wish they could do. I know that most of my friends who ride bikes feel that way.

I have spent quite a bit of time this week riding with CTS coach Kirk Nordgren who is the General Manager of CTS’ Santa Ynez, CA training facility. I have known Kirk for a few years and I truly value his advice while we ride together, not to mention I enjoy being in his draft.

Well, because I want to share my passion for climbing with my friends and all of the readers of this blog, I was able to convince coach Kirk to offer a 15% discount to the readers of my blog on the next two CTS climbing camps in Santa Ynez, CA. The dates are June 13-16, 2012 and July 11-14, 2012. To obtain more information on these camps please click on the following links:



To get the 15% discount to these camps simply call Carmichael Training Systems Athlete Services at 866-355-0645 and let them know you were reading my blog.

Tomorrow is another mountain stage which includes a mountain top finish on Mount Baldy.  This will be another very epic day. I am not sure I can climb another 12,000 feet tomorrow but what the heck, let’s try.

Stage 6 Description

After a hiatus during the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, Big Bear Lake is back on the race map, challenging riders to face a daunting Stage 6, which will feature the first of the race’s “Daily Double”: Big Bear Climb and Mt. Baldy. If the 2010 route was a killer, this slightly toned down route will be a crusher. Stage 6 will be all about strategy as the riders will still be feeling the sting of the Bakersfield Time Trial from the day before. Will riders leave it all on the mountain climbs on Friday in hopes they can survive the brutal ascent to Mt. Baldy on Saturday? Or will they match the move of their nearest rivals and let Mt. Baldy decide the ultimate winner of the Amgen Leader Jersey? Or will there be a standout star that is capable of attacking both the Big Bear Climb and Mt. Baldy?

After a cruise down historic Sierra Highway, the racers will head into the Angeles National Forest. After a short stretch on Angeles Forest Highway, the route will turn onto Mt. Emma Road. Following the first climb of the day and then a descent to Fort Tejon Road, the first KOM at Mountain High ski area will be reached via a 12-mile climb to a 7,000-foot summit at Angeles Crest Highway. There will be a brief respite as the riders descend into Wrightwood and then over to Highway 138. The route will once again go vertical as it passes through Crestline and Lake Arrowhead, and then onto the Rim of the World Highway. Entering the Big Bear area, the riders will take the northern route around Big Bear Lake and then tackle the last ascent to the finish at a more than 7,000-foot elevation at the Snow Summit ski area.

Map of stage 6:


Profile of stage 6: