Chris Carmichael may be retired, but he's still fast! Carmichael on a road bicycle.

Featured Story: Riding for Solutions

By Tracy Corral

When most people retire, they put their feet up, take life at a slower pace. Yet, when fitness and cycling have been part of a life, more rides come to the fore. Chris Carmichael, former Olympic racer and fitness coach, has turned over the reigns of his training company, and is looking forward to taking on bike challenges for fun. One of these fun events is the Ride to End Homelessness on September 10.

A Life of Training

Carmichael's career began as an Olympian who saw action in the 1984 games held in Los Angeles. He then took his racing experience and branched out into training young racers for the organization formerly known as United States Cycling Federation (USCF), now known as USA Cycling. He moved on to found his own company Carmichael Training Systems, coaching athletes who play on the world stage as well as the average weekend warrior.

Advocating for Housing

The Ride to End Homelessness is a fundraiser for LifeMoves, an organization that addresses issues of the unhoused. LifeMoves is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and its mission is to find solutions to homelessness in Silicon Valley.

Carmichael became aware of the organization through his partner, Sarah, whose company was one of the ride's corporate sponsors. He believes homelessness is an important issue in the Bay Area and around the country. “A stable living space provides a foundation that enables people to get back on their feet and make lasting positive changes in their lives.”

Keys to Training

The routes for Ride to End Homelessness feature iconic roads around the San Francisco peninsula. Starting in Menlo Park at Flood Park, riders take on the hills and valleys of the San Francisco Peninsula.

For some participants, these routes are the longest they will tackle all year. Regarding training for the big day, Carmichael believes consistency is the most important component of endurance training. If the athlete is self-coached or using a static training plan, “Consistency is going to be more important than any of the specific workouts in the plan.”

Carmichael has a few keys for the day-of riding. The first is pacing. “One of the biggest mistakes first-timers make is to start too fast,” he explained. “You want to go easier than you think you should be going for the first 30 to 50 miles so you conserve energy for the second half of the ride.” When riders start too fast, they burn through their energy reserves and struggle in the last miles of their ride.

The next two keys go together, really. They are hydration and nutrition.

“It’s smart to have a plan,” Carmichael said. The plan doesn’t need to be complicated, but “…eating and drinking behaviors should be practiced in training so you know what works for you and you can repeat those behaviors” on event day.

Ride with an Olympian

Finally, if you want to ride with a former Olympian, this is your chance! “I plan to ride with everyone! Meeting cyclists is what I love most about organized rides and cycling events!” He will be doing the metric century, “…a great route through La Honda and up Tunitas Creek.” Although there is no promise you will be able to hang with Carmichael on the uphills, you might be able to start with him or meet up at a rest stop!