Dispatch: Go Back To School With Carmichael Training Systems

With 2012 nearly a wrap, many athletes are already feeling a bit fidgety from inactivity and wondering how to strategize an optimal 2013.

With 2012 nearly a wrap, many athletes are already feeling a bit fidgety from inactivity and wondering how to strategize an optimal 2013 season. The folks at Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) have a fresh offering on their calendar that’s sure to draw interest from triathletes looking for the best way to build base fitness or gain a speedy leg up on the competition.

The newly formed CTS Triathlon School, based in Tucson, Ariz. will welcome its first students in January of 2013. The school concept offers a unique twist to the traditional triathlon camp model, wherein athletes often spend a long weekend or a full week under the guidance of a coach. Instead, the CTS Triathlon School will run for three consecutive months (January 15 – April 14), allowing athletes to attend for any duration of their choosing (a three-day minimum stay is required), and begin and end their school session any day of the week. Workouts will progress over the course of the three months and will be tailored to all levels of athletic ability.

I spoke with Steve Karlsson,
Business Development Manager
 at CTS and the driving force behind the new triathlon school to learn more about what will set the program apart. From A to Z, the CTS Triathlon School will focus on providing a flawless experience for students, maintaining the same high standards and level of service across all three months as CTS is known for in their shorter three-day camps.

“That means fully supported,” said Karlsson, who joined CTS in October of 2012 specifically to spearhead the new program. “Everything from having a chef in the house making high-quality nutritious meals to being out there on the bike rides with our support truck, with cold bottles of electrolyte drink and GU products, riding along with the athletes to make sure they have everything they need. It means picking them up at the airport and dropping them off – making sure they don’t have to do anything other than come down to Tucson and workout.”

In terms of the school’s chef, CTS seems to have scored a perfect fit in hiring Ken Montaney, a culinary professional trained at the Ritz Carlton resort. Montaney also has a passion for endurance sports, with a background in both triathlon and bike racing and a USAC Level 3 coaching license. He’s ideally equipped to understand the needs of hungry CTS Triathlon School students and will cook up fresh meals to fuel their training and recovery. Student housing will consist of two comfortably furnished homes in the Pinnacle Canyons Resort, including fully-stocked food pantries.

“Athletes will get up and make what they like for breakfast. We’ll have the house stocked with cereals, oatmeal, fruits and yogurts, coffee and tea – whatever people want. And then Ken will make the lunches and dinners,” said Karlsson.

The athlete houses will serve as the central location for the school, in close proximity to Tucson’s renowned Mt. Lemmon and Sabino Canyon roads and trails. The Skyline Country Club will provide a stunning setting for lap swimming just a few miles from the school’s home base.

Athletes can expect daily training sessions led by CTS coaches in at least two out of three triathlon disciplines, with workouts customized based on initial field test results, individual goals and the size and fitness-makeup of the student body. Additionally, a variety of other opportunities – including strength and conditioning classes, yoga, nutrition talks and training discussions – will be scheduled throughout the week. Students will have access to a CTS mechanic for any bike technical issues and will benefit from CTS’ network of partnerships and their high performance products, such as PowerTap, GU Energy Labs nutrition and Hincapie Sportswear. Also available will be a range of a la carte services (discounted for Triathlon School students) at the nearby CTS Training Center’s exercise physiology lab and Retul bike fit room, along with massage and chiropractic care.

All level of athletes are encouraged to attend the school, says Karlsson. “It will be a three month progressive training program, but that being said we’ll be able to accommodate a varied group. We’re used to working with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes and tailoring workouts on the fly – that’s what our coaches do day in and day out. We do field test assessments to get some basic information, then we know where each person’s threshold is and we understand which group they should be in.”

Anyone lucky enough to be on hand at the Ironman Arizona expo next week will be eligible for a promotional discount during the school’s inaugural season (stop by the CTS expo booth for details). Tuition rates are also discounted according to length of stay or for coaches and clubs bringing multiple students.

For complete details on the CTS Triathlon School, visit

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