My life with Lance; Carmichael Training Program |

My life with Lance; Carmichael Training Program

Kira Horvath/Vail DailyRandy Wyrick declares, "I am Lance Armstrong" as he participates in the Carmichael Training Program at the Vail Athletic Club on Wednesday.

I generally don’t hang around athletic clubs because they don’t let you drink bourbon or smoke cigars in there.

OK, I’ll admit that my idea of a hike is walking across the room to change the channel on the TV because I can’t find the remote control.

Once upon a time long ago in a galaxy far away I was an athlete, one of those people who run like the wind the jump to the sky.

A deity in denim.

These days, I’ve plummeted from basketball to basket case. Not so much a lord in Lycra as a Spam-in-a-trashbag kind of thing.

Occasionally, though, you determine to do something to reverse the damage, or at least slow it down.

Which is how I wandered into the Vail Athletic Club in Vail Village to be poked and prodded in every proper way an athletic trainer should.

I placed myself in the tender care of Andy Lapkass, who did not giggle when I strolled into the room in my basketball shorts and Converse All Stars. Andy is the only one in this region doing Carmichael training, the same method that bicycle stud Lance Armstrong rode to victory in seven straight Tours de France. That still has France’s undies in a bunch and anything what keeps the French cranked up is worth trying.

I ambled into the VAC and they assigned me Locker 327, which is the same number attached to the V-8 engine in all those hot rods we had when we were kids.

Obviously, these folks understand what a finely-tuned machine I am.

Basically, the deal with Carmichael training is figuring out how hard and how long you can work until you hit your maximum lactic acid threshold. That’s the burn you feel in your arms and legs when you’re working hard. Andy finds your threshold and makes you ride at that level for 10 minutes. Once all the data is collected, he sets you up with a workout schedule that’s not designed to kill you right away, it’s more like an untimely demise. The object is to raise and lengthen that threshold.

If Lance can do it, I can do it. Lance and I are Carmichael Comrades.

For moral support, I hauled along my teenage daughter, who chanted while I pedaled ” “You’re fat, you’re old, you’re fat, you’re old” … One of those special father/daughter bonding moments when dads wonder why kids don’t come with a remote control and a mute button. But that’s the deal ” you teach them to be strong and independent-minded and they try it out on you.

Ten minutes is forever when your legs are on fire and the timer is ticking the seconds away just inches from your nose, especially after you’re already been on the bike for an hour running the tests.

About six minutes into your 10-minute test, you remember why you traded your Schwinn for a Suzuki when you were 15 years old. It’s not that you’re exhausted, it’s sitting on a bicycle seat for that long. It’s the blunt end of a baseball bat.

It’s about then that you begin to believe cycle seats were invented by Arab terrorists as torture devices, and that if you have to spend much more time on this one you’ll make stuff up to confess to.

By seven or eight minutes you sympathize with cyclists who use performance-enhancing drugs ” they’d do almost anything to get off this thing sooner.

And then you’re done.

You didn’t die and you feel like you could have gone further, which is how you’re supposed to feel.

Andy tells you to lay off the double cheeseburgers and give you a workout schedule. If you don’t stick to it, he’ll know immediately and Andy is really a pretty sweet guy, once you’re off the bike.

Andy made my body-nazi teenage daughter do it, too.

For the record, in her 10-minute test she beat me by a full mile, which is how it should be ” especially since I still control the car keys.

Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism