The Strava Challenge

A regular follower of Carbon Addiction contacted me about a week ago, concerned with the latest Strava cycling challenge. So of course I checked it out. On the surface it all seemed pretty innocuous; the ‘CTS Bucket List Challenge’ asks riders to cover 924km in 2 weeks to coincide with the USA ProCycling Challenge. A tall order for most of us part-timers, but not impossible. At the time of writing over 13,000 riders had accepted the challenge, including plenty of people I know and ride with.

Carmichael and Armstrong achieved some pretty amazing things together, too amazing as we've since found out.
Carmichael and Armstrong achieved some pretty amazing things together – too amazing as we’ve since found out.

Where it all became murkier, however, is when you look a little deeper into who’s actually behind the challenge, CTS: the training systems business run by none other than Chris Carmichael, ex-pro cyclist and, wait for it, Lance Armstrong’s rather controversial long time coach. I wont go into the background detail here, but you can read most of it at the following link if you’re interested.

Now whether Carmichael is guilty of knowingly aiding Lance and other USA riders like Hincapie and Jullich dope, or his crime consists simply of being so blindly out of touch that he had no idea what the Texan was actually up to, the reader’s point to me was that either way his training methods and the highest profile results* they achieved are totally flawed. Regardless if Carmichael knew about the rampant doping or not, everything he achieved as Armstrong’s coach – the fame, the books, the money, the glory, the business empire – was essentially built on ill-gotten, PED-fuelled gains. Not some genius new training regime, but effectively an illegal one.

Given this, he argues with some logic that all this surely paints CTS as a highly dubious business partner for Strava to hop into bed with; one that hardly sends a strong message to the wider cycling community.

One can only assume CTS has paid very handsomely for the privilege.



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