UCI Team Time Trial World Champion
Carmen has won the coveted rainbow jersey not once, but twice in the team time trial, earning it with the Specialized-lululemon team in 2013 and 2014.
Carmen has won the coveted rainbow jersey not once, but twice in the team time trial, earning it with the Specialized-lululemon team in 2013 and 2014.
Carmen was the fastest woman against the clock in the United States in 2013.
Carmen manages a professional coaching business for cyclists of all skill levels, sizes, and ages.
(Teammates in Sweden, before the TTT World Cup)
Do you think the media coverage in Europe is better than America for women’s cycling? Please describe. This question is very important because we can use this information to find more sponsorship for women’s teams. Can you find more media about your races? More print? More internet? More TV? More photos? More fans watching? (When I raced in Belgium in the 1990s, I was surrounded by spectators after races; tons of press in The Netherlands and France also.)
I actually think the American races sometimes do a better job, especially when it comes to the live streaming. The European races do a good job of social media and updates but sadly I think it’s coming from individuals who are interested in the races. So photographers, journalists, team Directors and a teams social media persons. I think this could be vastly improved both in Europe and in the US. Right now this is the million dollar questions. How do we get our races live broadcast and who do the TV right belong to? It should belong to the riders and the teams but correct me if I’m wrong please. I think the last thing I read was that the rights belong to the race promotor and maybe the UCI as well? Not clear on that because I read two different articles on it and it wasn’t very clear….
Velocio-SRAM announced this is their last year. In doing some quick research about Euro-based UCI women’s teams, all seem to be run by men. Are you seeing any female coaches or directors among your competitors’ teams?
This is a good questions and I have been asking myself this a lot. There isn’t a lot of women in the sport. This is very concerning to me. I understand why there for the most part there isn’t but really there should huge involvement in women in our sport. How can we improve this? A lot of women leave the sport after retiring and don’t come back. Maybe this is because they start a family and therefor they can’t continue in the sport because they need to take car of there baby. They can’t be gone for long period of time, it’s much easier for a man to do this. Also, I think they leave the sport because as an athlete they aren’t paid well, so they need to retire and go get a job that they can actually live off of and make a salary so one day they can retire. It’s frustrating that more women don’t continue in the sport but I understand why they leave after being athletes. I think there are a lot of women coaches and seigniors but it would be good to see more women Directors
What are the opportunities for female staff on the women’s teams there? (This is also an important question because I am looking for work as a staff member in performance direction.)
Good question, I have no idea to be honest. I would think or hope that if you are qualified there would be opportunity even as a women. But we both know that even though its 2015 it’s a very male driven sport and environment so equal opportunity might not be the truth yet.
Does your team have a base home and/or where do you stay and train between races?
The European teams I have been on does not have a home base. Each team has a location where the service course is but very few teams have team houses anymore. I think they are not needed because the majority of the teams have a European riders, so its just an unnecessary expense for a already tight budget team. Personally I enjoy Lucca, Italy as my home base when I’m in Europe. This is where I have chosen to live the past two years. This year has been strange and I don’t have a home base. Everything happened so fast with changing teams and coming to Europe. Bigla has been very helpful with housing me and finding a solution to work for the few months I’m here this year.
Studies show that part of recovery – other than rest and nutritional strategies – include some social life. What type and how much social life are you getting in Europe? Like all of us, you probably spend some time connecting via social media but what about real life socializing?
The past couple of months my social life has not flourished… But when I was in Lucca, I always made a point to hang out with people who I met outside of cycling and some in cycling. I think it’s super important to have a balance. Cycling can become all consuming and that isn’t good. I think you need to have some friends outside the sport and make sure you have some hobbies outside the sport as well. Going back to school online is a good idea. It keeps you busy and you get to use your brain in a different way!
How do you cope with homesickness if you have any? Do you find that you race more inspired there or here in the U.S. or does it depend on event size or personal goals or something else for you?
I think these are actually two completely different questions. Homesick is hard to deal with, the older I get the more homesick I get. I miss my husband and my cats big time! Getting to skype or FaceTime them helps a lot. Yes, I Skype or FaceTime my cats. For me it better that I race a lot and that makes the time go by faster and I stay focused at the task at hand. I’m also lucky because I’m married to a European so I’m actually on my way to stay with my husbands family and he’s over here visiting! So that helps a lot. It’s not a normal thing though, sense he races primarily in the US but I’ll take it.
Being inspired by a race is very subjective based on the goal. I seem to do well when the pressure is high and not only from myself but from a teams point of view. I think I prefer it that way. There are also races that I have done well at and I know how to win so that is motivating as well.
How do you personally show appreciation for the people who support you in cycling – family, team, coaches, managers, team staff, race organizers, media etc?( I notice you credit your coach a lot – LOVE THAT – and as a result I know your coach’s name as well as yours. Write about this because it will encourage the thousands of licensed coaches in the U.S.)
In cycling the people behind the scenes never get credited enough, all the way from your teammates to the staff there isn’t enough love to go around. This is a team sport but its very strange that the team doesn’t necessarily get recognized as the winner. I really try to thank the staff and make sure they know that I appreciate them. Sometime I like to buy them a little treat or gift to enforce my appreciation. It’s easy to forget in the heat of the moment of winning a race how much everyone sacrificed and helped to make that moment happen, but to be honest we wouldn’t win races without all of them supporting us. The staff puts in long hours to make sure everything is dialed, this is happening before we even leave to a race. Corey Hart, my coach has been a piece of my success. He is brilliant and I fully trust him to put me on track. I try to thank him as much as possible in different ways. It goes a long way if you are doing a little extra and showing that you care on social media for the race prompters and sponsors. I think you can tell if someone is genuine or not and that goes a long way with people.
I ended up getting more questions then I can handle so I will have to break it up in parts. Here is the first Part:
Questions for Carmen
Women’s cycling has changed and I see it as a tsunami about to hit shore. It’s been some time since I raced in Europe, and I’d like to know about your experiences, as well as how you are using it to prepare for Worlds.
Likes/loves: I love racing in Europe! I love racing on the small technical roads and challenging course. I love that there is 120 plus women at the races and the overall level is very high. What I like about racing in Europe also has nothing to do with the actual race. I like meeting people from other cultures and learning about their lives. I find the differences in our cultures extremely interesting and overall enriching. I also love seeing the different countries. Each country I get to go to has vastly unique country side and landscape. The different architecture fascinates me. How can neighboring country be so close but so different? I love this and there is so much history to uncover in each place I go to.
The US vs Europe racing is a very popular question.
1. Race Courses – European races are much different when it comes to the actual course. Naturally the roads are much small and therefor when racing through towns it become very technical. The road surfaces are also much different. You have old roads made of cobbles, old stones, and bricks. This sounds exciting but you really need to pay attention to the course much more in Europe then you do in the states. Also, picking the right equipment for the course will give a big advantage as well. Typically in the US you will find the roads to be much bigger and less technical.
2. Depth in the fields – In the US a big field would be 70 – 80 riders, Europe that is considered a small field. Most races you will start with at least 120 women and that will increase to field sizes around 150 to 180 sometimes. So you put all these women on a small technical course and the racing gets even harder. Not only are the fields bigger they have more depth in women who are looking to win the races. There are more big teams with women who can potentially win so therefor the race will become more difficult with lots of dynamics in team tactics. In the US you have less teams that have a chance to win so this changes the dynamics of the races. Not making them easy but just different in difficulty.
I will be doing Holland a pre worlds prep and of course training…
I hope my preparation is coming along well. I have my coach, Corey Hart, who looks after my training via training peaks. He measures how I am doing through power and heart rate. I prefer to race a lot to get to my top performance so that is the most important measurement for me. (getting races efforts in)
Twitter – https://twitter.com/smallsunday (@smallsunday)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/smallsunday?ref=bookmarks
Instagram – https://instagram.com/smallsunday/ (@smallsunday)
Website – http://carmen-small.com
Team Bigla website – http://www.bpct.ch/gallery/
Team Bigla Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BiglaProCyclingTeam
I want to share an email with you… Read through it and I will be answering questions from the email in the next couple of weeks. I like this idea because often times I don’t know what to write about because I’m not sure what people want to read about. Hope you enjoy!
Also, I will be traveling to Norway for two races and then Sweden for a World Cup and a TTT (team time trial) the next two weeks so hopefully I can include some pictures from that as well.
Email is good. I am hoping to meet you in person – although I don’t want to scare you as some creepy stalker or anything. We have never met but we did have a brief encounter at Nationals in Chattanooga – 2013. I was showing one of my athletes that the time trial course at the traffic circle was to the outside not the inside. You were there with a coach and Evelyn Stevens. So you both rode it again on that new line. I was proud when you went on to win, although I had nothing to do with it J The difference between the way you rode the uphill section along the main announcement section, and everybody else, was visibly noticeable. Smooth and powerful! But also the intensity of your focus was apparent to me- and much appreciated. That look means champion. And that’s exactly what happened! Whatever source you pulled for that 2013 TT Natz victory, I hope you are remembering that and applying it in a modified way as prep for a peak at Richmond. Build build build strike!
Mr. Gideon’s strength-to-weight ratio is not so good (he was an over-indulged kitty while my husband and I learned how many calories he actually needed versus how many he always wanted.) But he is a sweetie-cat! And he was a barn rescue. His mother died and he was abandoned while his eyes were still shut, so he thinks I’m his mother and he doesn’t know how to purr! And he’s scared of pretty much…everything. I think he may have been terrorized by creatures in the barn before we rescued him. He gives me those love eyes all day long. Love him!
Anyway, I live not far from Richmond in Shepherdstown, WV and my in-laws live near Richmond so I’m coming to watch everything Sept 19-27. I want to take it all in and dream about my next assignment in cycling, discovering where the need exists. Most of my best years as a racer were in Europe racing for Dutch and then French teams in the mid-90’s. I really miss Europe. I realize it is not all glamour – actually the toughness of it appeals to me – but I felt at home there. After racing there and here, I made a very natural transition into coaching and had some successes directing elite and even domestic pro men’s teams and transitioning a few riders from talent ID to contracts. But then I had to come home to care for elderly parents, not realizing that this would take 7 years now! I’ve worked with teams/athletes on a very limited local basis (the 2013 trip to Chattanooga was my only race-side coaching out of area all this time.) Recently, this family commitment has reduced so I can think about how to come back into the racing scene beyond local. I guess your commitment to your family, your cat love, and that focus I saw on you in Chattanooga has caused me to be a fan of yours. Then the decision to race with the men in MN; I had to do that in France a lot because women’s racing in my region, between events, was minimal.
Women’s cycling has changed and I see it as a tsunami about to hit shore. Do you mind corresponding with me so I can 1. Live vicariously through you at the world class level 2. Get back to speed on what’s going on from an insider’s point of view? Anything you share is held in strict confidence. If so…
So tell me about the scene in Europe. What are you liking? Not liking? What is coming up for you next Tour of Norway (if your team’s website calendar is up to date.)? In doing some quick research about Euro-based UCI women’s teams, all seem to be run by men. Are you seeing any female coaches or directors among your competitors’ teams?
I have about a thousand questions, so please take your time. Maybe this can be something fun to do on rest days between trips/events. Understood about access to connections as well. No rush Carmen!
M.S. Exercise Physiology
Excellence | Performance | Pro Cycling
I knew when I hit the brakes I would go down — with a lot of force. Yelling, “inside, inside, inside” didn’t seem to change the trajectory of the girl to my right. It had been raining, and we were coming fast into a decent with a cobbled corner. I knew this could be a dangerous section where crashes could potentially happen, even more so because of the rain.
Before I could react, I was hitting the ground … hard. As a racer should, I got up quickly and back on the bike. I noticed the chain was off, so I shifted it back on as people passed me like I was standing still. I looked down — both brakes were rubbing! I reached down to open the quick releases but no luck, still rubbing. I did everything possible to try to straighten them while on the bike, but I was quickly getting dropped by group after group.
My awesome teammate, Iris, caught me and said, “Come on, let’s go.” I got on her wheel, but she quickly opened up a gap, and I yelled her name. She convinced me to stop to adjust my brakes; she adjusted the rear, and I put my front wheel in straight. Hastily, we jumped back on the bikes and were off, passing people and quickly gaining ground on the front group. With five kilometers to go, I was hopeful there was still time to catch. We could see the first and second group in front of us, but I realized there was no chance to catch them with only 3km to go.
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/08/news/road/carmen-small-journal-another-scar-another-memory_380649#OgMEGGixLHTDqMFk.99
I’ve very happy to announce that I will be joining Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the remainder of the season. I leave on Tuesday to start my European campaign for the rest of the season with this very solid team. First race up is the Giro d’Italia starting on Friday! Here we go, the next adventure starts!
Check out the teams press release here!
I feel like I need to say a couple of things after the most recent news about me changing team. First, I have to say thank you Nicola Crenmer and Mari Holden for having me on Twenty16 and the support they have given me all year, not only with road but with track as well. Second I want to say thank you the sponsor of the team, they as well have nothing but a hug support and I am so happy I got to be a part of what they represent. I think Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air is a wonderful program and wonderful people help run it. I would not have been as successful this season with the their support and am for sure sad to leave the program.
Moving forward I needed to look how I would be best prepare for the World Championships in Richmond. When this opportunity came up on Tuesday, my coach and I decided how important it was for me to race the rest of the season in Europe on a full time basis. So I went to the team and asked to be released. As Twenty16 has done all year they supported me in my next endeavors.
As for the track thing…I think in the VeloNews article it didn’t really paint the story all correct. Track is a very tough sport, there is no doubt about that. I found myself not enjoying the training and really filled with a lot of anxiety about having to go to camps and train. This was not a healthy feeling. I like the feeling of nervousness and I love a new challenge but I didn’t think this was normal. This had nothing to do with the staff or riders, simply myself. I think Andy Sparks does a fabulous job with motivating the athletes and getting them to really push the limits within their selfs. I thanks him for supporting me and pushing me to my limits.
I looked around at the other athletes and they had a sense of joy and accomplishment that I did not have. I had to be honest with myself about how I wanted to move forward. I love the road and I am passionate about racing and time trialing. I like track but know that you would have to be 100% committed and I couldn’t guarantee that. Team pursuit is a team sport and I didn’t want to hold anyone back from being their best.
Now I will start the next chapter. Life is always changing and I hope I can adapt to my new team Bigla and the rest of the season can be as successful as the first part.
Photo credit: Emily Maye
The past six months have been nothing short of a roller coaster powered by a jet engine.
Up and then down. Super high moments and then the bottom drops out and leaves my stomach in my throat. When this happens, I ask myself, ‘What am I supposed to learn from this?’ And there’s always something to learn.
When I changed my direction, deciding to return to road racing, I hoped things would start to turn around, and my luck would change. I started training on the road again after a short break from the track, and was heading to Europe for some spring races to get fit for Pan American championships, the Amgen Tour of California Time Trial, and nationals.
And then the bottom dropped out of my roller coaster, again.
I was motor-pacing behind a scooter, and a car pulled out in front of us. Things turned ugly very quickly, and looking back, I am extremely lucky to have scraped myself off that pavement only partially injured. … Things could have been much worse. As I tried to adjust my wheel to get back on the road, I realized something was very wrong with my shoulder. I sat there on the side of the road, shocked, hurt, confused, and wondering what else could go wrong.
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/05/rider-journal/carmen-small-journal-controlling-my-destiny_369951#qseHK3Z7lfP73Fd1.99
Here are some pictures of nationals. I was 2nd in the TT by teammate Kristin Armstrong by 13 seconds. Thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far this season. As you all know it’s been a roller coster and for everyone who has stuck by my side through the difficult times you have no idea how much your continuing support it means to me!
This was taken by Brian Black at VeloImages right before the start. I was super nervous and Nicola Cramer helped calm the nerves.
Podium: Amber Neben, Kristin Armstrong, Me
I love having a little fun!
Okay, I have a website and I am horrible about keeping up with it! It’s more that I have had some major bad luck and not so nice thing to talk or write about so I have intensionally neglected it. Sorry about that. This is me trying to justify my actions.
What have I been up to?
I went to Europe and that started of well. The goal for the Europe trip was to get good fitness through racing, to set me up to compete at Pan American Championships, and then Nationals. It was going as planned except one big hiccup, well more like a bad crash. I crashed training and new right away it wasn’t good. We immediately booked a ticket back to the US so I could see my doctor in Durango ASAP. Turns out I have a grade 2 AC separation and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it.
I had had enough bad luck over the past 6 months so I thought to myself. “Bleep it” I’m going to do this, I’m not pulling out of the one more important competition (Pan Am Champs) and I’m going to do everything in my ability to try to win. I can handle pain and let me tell you, wow this was painful. I spend the first week back on the bike inside, on the trainer, suffering like a dog. Not because the workouts were so hard, but because how painful the shoulder was in any position. Slowly it started to improve and I was able to get outside and ride my bike. This made things much easier, it’s really hard to do efforts inside on the trainer. Makes you mentally stronger I guess…
So it was time to get on the plane to Mexico and I was very much concerned about the outcome. I was extremely nervous, could I pull this off? I was very uncertain and had a vast pool of emotions flowing through me.
Oh Mexico, my last time I was here was to race was Pan Am Champs in 2013 and man did I have some bad luck. I was about 45 seconds up and heading into the last lap, the wind blew a banner into me, ripping my bars out from under me, and I hit the ground hard. Laying on the ground shocked about what just happened I gathered myself, put my chain back on my bike and then was off. I didn’t know how much time I had lost but I was frantic for sure and a little dazed about what just happened. I had hit my head pretty good but was still focused about finishing the race. I crushed myself that lap and came in 2 seconds behind the women who ended up first. I was devastated. I vowed never to come back to Mexico to race. So here I was! Round two. Mexico 1, Carmen 0.
I pre rode the course and thought to myself this is the most boring course I have ever been on, which will make it really mentally tough! It was literally flat out and back three times. Warming up for the race I felt good but not out of the ordinary, but I had done the homework now it was time for my legs to do the work. Here we go… 3,2,1 Every lap I went faster and let me tell you, it did hurt! Every part of my body was screaming for more oxygen (at 6,000ft), even my fingers ached. My should hurt but luckily my body was so filled with lactic acid that it could ignore that pain and focus staying as powerful as I could. I crossed the finish line and had no idea if I was the leader. I congratulated the Canadian, Tara Whiten, thinking she had won. I think I was super clueless due to lake of oxygen, she said no I think you won. We debated this and got no where…two out of breath, half alive racers telling each other no I think you won. We still had several riders to go. I went back the start finish area and sure enough as the last rider came it I had won! Mexico 1, Carmen 1 – I guess we are even….
I’m really not sure how I pulled it off but I want to say it was all mental. Sometimes you ride over your physical limit if you want something bad enough. This was the case that day. I dug deep and it payed off. All that hard work and finally I had some luck on my side!
Lying sick on the bathroom floor in a hotel is probably one of the worst feelings. But that’s where I was, three days before the world track championships, last month in France. It was like a wave washing over me — cold, chills, goosebumps, nausea. I hadn’t felt very good a few hours before, but I chalked it up to hunger. I soon realized it was much worse than that. I went back to my room still in denial that I was going to be sick. Then I curled up in my bed and prayed.
When it struck, I couldn’t believe the timing. This was happening days before one of my most important races.
We, as elite athletes, are always on the verge of getting sick. We push our bodies to the limit every day and try to do everything in our power to stay healthy. The majority of the time, we can maintain this rigorous physical routine without succumbing, but sometimes our bodies can’t fight illness. This can happen at the most
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/03/rider-journal/carmen-small-journal-unsung-heroes_364965#sEKFKixyTkfVkATd.99
• 1st place – 2015 UCI Road World Championships, team time trial ( Specialized-lululemon)
• 3rd place — 2013 UCI Road World Championships, individual time trial
• 1st place — 2013 UCI Road World Championships, team time trial ( Specialized-lululemon)
• 2010 & 2011 U.S. World Championship Team
• 2nd place — 2014 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Time Trial
• 1st place — 2013 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Time Trial
• 3rd place — 2012 USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors & Paracycling National Championships, Augusta, Georgia, Elite Women’s Road Race
• 3rd place — 2012 USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors & Paracycling National Championships, Augusta, Georgia, Elite Women’s Criterium
• 1st place — 2014 North Star Grand Prix, Overall Classification
• 1st place — 2014 Open de Suède Vargarda Team Time Trial, Sweden
• 4th place — 2014 Giro Rosa, Stage 2
• 4th place — 2014 SRAM Tour of the Gila, Overall Classification
• 1st place — 2013 Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, Germany, Stage 2
• 1st place — 2013 Chrono Gatineau, Canada
• 2nd place — 2013 Pan American Continental Road Championships, Mexico, Women’s Elite Time Trial
• 4th place — 2013 Ronde van Gelderland, Netherlands
• 1st place — 2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar Women’s Individual Standings
• 2nd place — 2012 Chrono Champenois – Trophée Européen, France
• 1st place — 2012 Classica Citta Di Padova, Italy
• 1st place — 2012 Nature Valley Grand Prix, Overall Classification
• 2nd place — 2012 Cascade Classic, Overall Classification
• 2nd place — 2012 SRAM Tour of the Gila, Overall Classification
• 4th place — 2011 Redlands Bicycle Classic, Overall Classification
• 3rd place — 2010 Tour de l’Aude, Stage 3
• 10th place — 2010 Tour de l’Aude, Stage 9
• 1st place — 2010 Sea Otter Classic, Road Race
Carmen has really cool social media feeds, so you should definitely follow her.