Truckee men to train T-Mobile cyclists
Physical therapist Darcy Norman will begin the new year with a chance of a lifetime ” training the T-Mobile pro cycling team in Spain.
And if things go well with the German-based team, he may get an invitation to assist with the squad’s preparation for the Tour de France.
As the director of sports performance at Tahoe Forest Center for Health and Sports Performance, Norman trains athletes of all ability levels ” from elite professionals to weekend warriors.
An avid ski racer, cyclist and triathlete, Norman worked as a physical therapist in Arizona at a world-class sports training company, Athletes Performance, before settling down in Truckee with his family more than a year ago.
The project Norman said he is most excited to see completed is a brand new sports training facility, as an extension of the Tahoe Forest Center, that is slated to be completed in January.
“There’s nothing really in Tahoe that’s this model, and no technology like here,” Norman said.
From “start-stop” sports like skiing, soccer, and tennis to “endurance” sports like cycling, swimming and running, Norman said his staff can match the needs for any of the two groups at the new training facility, he said.
The new facility will also be equipped with high-tech computer software in order to compare athletes simultaneously on television, just like what was used to watch skiers at the last winter Olympics, Norman said. Norman’s philosophy of sports training focuses on customizing a workout plan to fit a person’s fitness goals.
“If you train smarter, not necessarily harder, you will be able to achieve a level of fitness and reach your goals,” Norman said.
It’s that approach that led to Norman’s invite to train the T-Mobile pro cycling team in Mallorca, Spain in January.
Norman was asked to assist the T-Mobile team with a pre-season training camp by his previous employer, Athletes Performance, for whom he currently does contract work and also runs an endurance program, he said.
“I’ll be in charge of helping them with their core and strength training as a supplement to their program,” Norman said.
Shepherding 30 male and 11 female athletes from morning ’til night for 10 days will keep Norman busy. And while the T-Mobile team is a mix of international riders, the English skills will vary. There will likely be a “bit of a language barrier,” Norman said.
Some of the team’s stand-out riders include Olaf Pollack, who had two stage wins in last year’s Tour of Califorina, Serhiy Honchar, who wore the yellow jersey three days in the 2006 Tour de France, and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, a member of the 2006 German Olympic national team.
Also added to T-Mobile’s team this year are Axel Merckx, son of legendary Belgian racer Eddy Merckx, and Canadian Michael Barry, formerly of Discovery Channel.
Gone is Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France foil.
Norman, meanwhile, will be accompanied by fellow physical therapist Scott Williams in Spain. Williams has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sports training, with 11 years experience at Tahoe Forest Therapy.
Williams said he helps cyclists with “bike fits,” taking measurements and making adjustments for optimal flexibility and strength. Riders can develop imbalances when they’re on the bike for six to seven hours at a time, Williams said. He said he expect to help the riders with corrective cycling exercises and cycling movement patterns.
“I think we will help them do better than they’ve ever done,” Williams said.
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