Train like a pro at Vail Racquet Club |

Train like a pro at Vail Racquet Club

Daily Staff Report

VAIL – As a recent addition to the Vail Athletic Club training team, Andy Lapkass of Summit Cycling Performance Center, provides his expertise to Vail Valley cyclists.

“Andy is a Carmichael Training Systems Senior Coach and a USA Cycling level III Coach,” says Shannon Smith, club manager of the VAC. “The Carmichael training program was made popular a few years ago when Lance Armstrong used it in his training.”

Lapkass uses a combination of lactate threshold testing, pedal stroke analysis and bicycle fitting to help cyclists strategically train for maximum performance.

By determining the exercise intensity at which a cyclist’s lactate threshold occurs and correlating it to heart rate, perceived exertion and power, it’s possible to individualize a training regimen. With periodic re-testing, an athlete can follow performance and fitness gains and ensure that training is on track.

Unlike Maximal Oxygen Consumption (VO2 max), which is largely genetically determined, a person’s lactate threshold (LT) is highly trainable and correlates exceptionally well with endurance performance.

Lapkass explains that “LT testing is a terrific way to establish a baseline for fitness, set heart rate and/or power ranges for training specific energy systems, pacing race efforts, and following the effectiveness of training. All athletes put a lot of ‘sweat equity’ into their training, so it stands to reason that it should be both individualized and optimal.”

In addition to lactate threshold testing, Lapkass helps cyclists to fit their bikes to their specific build.

He says, “A bike should be comfortable and allow the rider to be efficient aerobically and in pedal stroke. A properly adjusted bike is also more responsive, making it safer to ride. Cycling should be pain free and enjoyable to people of all ages and abilities.”

The computerized “Spin Scan” program allows Andy to look at force production through the full 360 degrees of a cyclist’s pedal stroke to identify “dead” spots, areas of weakness and asymmetries.

Lapkass explains, “All cyclists can benefit from a more efficient pedal stroke and it’s amazing how speed, power and endurance increase as the pedal stroke rounds out.”

“The Vail Valley has an enormous number of cyclists, many of which are VAC members. Providing them with the tools to train for their goals efficiently and effectively is our objective in joining with Andy,” said Shannon Smith.

Carmichael Training Systems (CTS), developed in 1999 by celebrated coach and cyclist Chris Carmichael, has helped to train thousands for their athletic goals. World-class athletes and those wishing to train recreationally benefit from testing and training with a CTS certified coach. For more information on Carmichael Training Systems visit

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