Celebrate Technology: Entrepreneur of the Year:

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Carmichael ‘trains right’

Chris Carmichael caught his first glimpse of the technology field in the early 1990s.

As head coach at USA Cycling, he discovered that coaching cyclists from a remote location was a challenge. Carmichael realized he would need to find a technology that could help coaches provide athletes with their prescribed, personal workouts.

He brainstormed about an Internet coaching tool of some kind, something that could be accessed, literally, anywhere.

“I started Carmichael Training Systems in 1999, when it became apparent that coaching services needed to reach out to athletes who were not in the geological area where the coaches were,” Carmichael said.

“Working with my wife [Paige] and a close friend, we created a plan to deliver the coaching to athletes from any location through the Internet.”

Carmichael is Entrepreneur of the Year for Celebrate Technology 2004, an honor based on the achievement of an individual in the high-tech industry in the Front Range region.

CTS has 40 employees in Colorado Springs-30 of whom are coaches-and has an additional 70 coaches throughout the United States. The company trains more than 3,000 athletes in various disciplines. Members live in places as far-reaching as the Internet itself.

“We have members in North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa,” Carmichael said. “One of the reasons for having our service is that it’s available to anybody at any location that can support basic Internet technology.”

Cycling, training for multi-sport competitions, running and aerobic preparedness-for high-endurance sports such as soccer and swimming-are the arenas in which CTS specializes.

“What set us apart from others is the ability to use technology to deliver world-class coaching to individuals of all levels and abilities, regardless of where they are,” Carmichael said. “Athletes can now have unlimited access to the best coaches in the world, where in the past they were extremely limited.”

The CTS approach: coaching methodologies that individually target energy systems, specifically focusing on the body’s ability to absorb, deliver and transport oxygen.

The development of the “aerobic engine.”

Success in all endurance activities requires a well-developed aerobic system, as six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong would know.

Carmichael is Armstrong’s personal coach.

“I met Lance in 1990 when he was part of the USA Cycling Team, and have coached him ever since,” Carmichael said. “Lance is a very popular athlete and having him among our high-profile athletes at CTS has brought some assumed credibility to our company.”

The businessman spent more than two decades in the sport, fulfilling a boyhood dream of becoming a professional cyclist. He was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic cycling team, and was part of the first American team to ride in the Tour de France in 1986.

Now, he teaches others what he has learned.

Using cutting-edge sports technology.

“I enjoy looking forward to what improvements we can make to deliver coaching and other services to the individuals who are looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle,” he said.

In May 2003, Carmichael was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and is the author of “The Ultimate Ride,” a book of tips and nutrition advice for competitive and recreational cyclists.

Athletes under his direction have won 33 Olympic, World Championships and Pan American Games medals. Clients who use one of the Performance Centers-there is one in Aspen and one in Philadelphia-have access to some of the most sophisticated equipment available.

Tests and assessments are given by a team of physicians, physiologists, biomechanical specialists and nutritionists. In other words, the needs of the individual client are met through the team-oriented approach. Like the address of his company’s Web site, Trainright.com, Carmichael’s approach to athleticism is more than “practice makes perfect”-it’s practicing practice, to ensure the practice itself is effective.

The entrepreneur is proud of his dynamic, thriving business. “There are many contributing factors [to the company’s success], but one in particular would be our ever-evolving coaching tool, which delivers the coach individualized workouts to member athletes.”

Carmichael said he respects Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour Clothing Co., a sports attire firm. “I first met Kevin at a conference. Shortly after, he signed up with Carmichael Training Systems and completed his first triathlon,” Carmichael said. “He started a company with a unique idea and little starting capital, and was able to build it up, creating a brand that was as high-profile as Nike.” Carmichael is married to Paige, and has one daughter, Anna, 11, and one son, Conner, 2.