Posts written by Carmen Small

New Year!

Starting off the new year… What does that mean for me.  Nothing really changes to be honest.  I have been training already for a month formally at least and my goals really haven’t changed.  I was please to be announce to the Olympic long team and that means one step closer to the goal, Rio.  As for new years resolutions, I don’t have any.  Awhile back I decided to make sure I would focus on the positive things in life and be less negative.  That could be a new years resolution but I like it better as just a change in mind set and life in general.  But the new year is bring some new things.


Bigla has a new team name, Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling and we are bringing on some new sponsors so that’s exciting.  We will have team camp at the end of the month so I wont spoil anything before the official revile of everything.  Sorry, you will have to wait.  So this leads me to my time line, what will I be doing next year?  I will leave to head to Mallorca for team camp at the end of the month, then back to Lucca mid February for some final training and preparation to start the season.  As most of you know (and if you don’t) I love Lucca and it’s become a second home to me so I am very excited to get back there.  Lots of cappuccinos to come!



My focus will be on the World Tour races until May and then I will be coming back to the US to race nationals and Philly and then back to Europe for Giro.  I need to see how the beginning part of the season plays out to make my plans for the rest of the season.  Everything is going very well so far, I’m in California at the moment training in the sunshine.  There was a little too much snow in Durango for me, I’ve gotten soft over the year or maybe smarter.




Hopefully I can keep up on the blog this year.  That can be my new year resolution, but come on I want to make it somewhat obtainable. 😉  Hope you enjoy the pictures.  You can alway keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and Facebook

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Dempsey Challenge

This last weekend I was honored to be a part of the Dempsey Challenge.  Two years ago I got to be a part of this wonderful event and as so happy to get to go back this year.  Those of you who don’t know what the Dempsey Challenge is, here is a link and a quick overview of what it is:

What is The Dempsey Challenge?

The Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen is a fundraising experience for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, Maine. Comprised of various cycling distances (10, 25, 50, 70 and 100 miles), and a 5K (3.1 mile) and 10K (6.2 mile) run/walk, participants 18 and over are required to raise $150 (and encouraged to raise even more!) as they prepare for The Dempsey Challenge. A youth fundraising campaign called Positive Tracks is available for young people 23 or under. (Please refer to the Youth section of the FAQs.) The Dempsey Center provides free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer. More information on Patrick’s personal story and commitment, as well as services provided by the Dempsey Center, can be found at

I got to be one of the Pro Athletes at the Challenge and did the two day ride with the one and only Paul Sherwin.  We had a blast all weekend and got to meet some very special people.  Thanks for a great time and I really hope it works out next season that I get to be a part of the festivities again.  Here are a few pictures from another Super Star Casey Gibson.

Day 1 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine.

Day 1 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine. Paul Sherwin and Carmen Small.


Riders on the two day ride as part of the Dempsey Challenge to raise money for the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing.

Riders on the two day ride as part of the Dempsey Challenge to raise money for the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing.


Day 2 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine.

Day 2 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine. Patrick Dempsey and family.


Day 2 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine.

Day 2 of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine. Pro Athletes and amazing couple, Ally Stacher and John Murphy.


Day 2 of the Dempsey Challenge at a rest

stop along the way back to Lewiston, Maine.

Paul Sherwin and Carmen Small lead

the two day ride.

Off Season: Cappuccini, Running, Home Projects

What a treat for me, I get to come home and have a “staycation.”  Every year I struggle with the idea of taking a proper vacation and going somewhere on the beach to lounge and do nothing, but every year I have the same outcome.  I realize it’s the last thing I want to do; travel, get on a plane, live out of a bag, and not cook food for myself.  I got home this season and embraced Durango more then ever.  I have been going non stop training, racing, and traveling since February of 2014.  I raced a full road season, started track, and then another full road season.  Let’s be honest I was totally cracked.  I got home and melted into my sanctuary of home, friends, and family.


Durango is a special place, many people come here to vacation and I get to live here.  I have been hiking up a storm, something I never do during the season maybe I manage walk a maximum of a kilometer per day during my season.  Yeah, yeah… I never said it was good but that’s the reality of it.  I am really good at riding my bike, a one dimensional movement and I’m even better at recovering from my hard training.  Walking doesn’t fall into that plan.  So it’s time to do all the things I miss out on and try to get my body into a more balanced place, mentally and physically.


Hike up to Ice Lakes

Yesterday I got to do a Barista class at Desert Sun.  For someone who’s not a habitual coffee drinker, I have become somewhat of a coffee snob.  I really enjoy having a cappuccino, more for the social aspect of it then needing the caffeine.  I drink tea in the morning and really don’t enjoy having a cup of coffee, well I don’t think I have ever drank a cup of coffee.  That being said I am a coffee snob, not sure how that has worked out.  I can tell a difference from a good shot of expresso verses a bad one and I do like playing barista at the house with our awesome coffee machine.  I recently read that article that’s circulating on FaceBook about Starbucks and how awful the process is for non certified organic coffee beans is.  This made me cringe and for sure I wont be having Starbucks ever again.  As athletes we do everything right for our bodies; training, rest, the food we ingest, etc… Why should we put toxic chemicals into our bodies with drinking coffee?  It just doesn’t seem right.  So it was a great morning learning about the different processes of harvesting beans and learning how to make good milk for cappuccinos!  If you are in Durango, head out to Desert Sun for the barista class or just go out and say hi.  They are a wonderful local company who really believe in selling a great product.


When I thought of “staycation” I thought okay, relax, rest, don’t do much.  NO! Of course that’s not going to happen.  I get home from being gone for the majority of the year and there are projects that have been neglected and new projects I want to start.  If you know me I’m not one to just sit back and let things happen.  I am a doer, a go getter, a mind set of “shit or get off the pot.”  This might not be good for the “rest” that I might need, but it definitely relieves the side of me that misses being home during the season.  I get to garden, plan out new projects, cook great food, and have people to our lovely home.  I have been really busy the last couple of weeks but it is good busy.  Getting ready for the winter, clearing out the clutter in the garage (it’s amazing how much stuff you end up with when you are not even home), and maximizing my time with the cats (Hans and Karen).


In the off season I start to run, it’s good for the body and overall health of a cyclist who neglect any weight baring activity and therefor perfect hosts for osteoporosis.  This year I realized I haven’t ran in almost two years.  With doing track last year I didn’t have time to do my usual stent of running.  So I set out and about 3 minutes into the run I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest.  I guess at 7000 meters this will happen when you have taken ample time of the bike and feeling a little out of shape.  I push on, turning up my music louder trying not to hear my breathing or my heart pounding, like you would in your car when you hear an annoying noise that you want to drown out.  This works for awhile until you start to feel every little pebble under your feel and they start to hurt so bad you think you will have to call someone to pick you up, but again you push on.  Mind you this is probably only 8 minutes into the run, but do I stop? Of course not!  I keep pushing on and totally overdo it and then am so sore I can’t walk the stairs or go to the bathroom without holding not he anything and everything just to sit.  Oh the joys of soreness, but I could have taken it easy but what’s the fun in that?  Now that that’s over with I can enjoy long runs, just joking, I wish I was at that point.  My feet still hurt…


Questions for Carmen Part 2


(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.

Questions for Carmen Part 1

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.

  1. What are you liking/not liking about the racing scene in Europe?

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.

  1. What are some differences in racing styles from the U.S. to Europe and/or among various countries in Europe?

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.

  1. What is your schedule leading into World’s?

I will be doing Holland a pre worlds prep and of course training…

  1. How is your preparation coming; and what measures do you use to track that you are improving?

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)

  1. For some of the races, it’s tough to find results. Your tweets about GP Oberbaselbiet were great; could we have a link to the results of your races also?

Twitter – (@smallsunday)

Facebook –

Instagram –  (@smallsunday)

Website –

Team Bigla website –

Team Bigla Twitter – (@bigla_cycling)

Team Bigla Facebook –

Team Bigla Instagram –  (@bigla_cycling)

“Questions for Carmen”

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.


Journal Entry – Velonews…

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.

New Team! Bigla Pro Cycling Team

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!

“Self press release”

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

Carmen Small Journal: Controlling my destiny


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.