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Regular readers of this blog will know that inGamba has just launched it’s own battle of the bulge in a bid to be a team full of lean, lightning-quick riders by the start of our 2016 season. We’re calling it #Fitbyspring, and you can read about what we have planned, here.

They say the first step on the road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, so in the spirit of openness and acceptance, we’re not holding back. Below, you’ll find the letter that our founder, João, sent to Chris Carmichael, his friend and one of the best cycling coaches in the world.

It was a brave move that’s inspired the rest of us to tighten up, too, because while our trip staff are all admirable athletes who can throw down at a moment’s notice, some of us behind the scenes have been a little too fond of the pastries.

We don’t want to do it alone, though. There’s strength in numbers and we hope that we can inspire you to join the #Fitbyspring brigade and work with us towards an incredible new year on the bike.



Dear Chris,

What can I say other than I’m fat again. I know I’ve been here before and for the past two seasons I kept telling myself that I am going to get in shape for Donkey Week … and then life just takes over. Family, work, love of good food and wine and too many chef friends keep getting in the way. Well not really, more like a lack of plan and focus, but you know what I mean.

Well I’m done with that. I’m throwing the gauntlet back and making yet another comeback. This time you won’t see me pin a number on (well, maybe…) but when I get to Donkey Week in mid April I’d like to be in fighting shape.

I’m going to warn you that it doesn’t look good. The weight is at 185 – and that’s 40 pounds over my racing weight. I’ll spare you the BMI numbers so not to scare you but lets just say that I’m back on the first hole of the high school belt again.

Let’s get to work.





Whoa, that’s a lot of weight! Not to worry, my friend, there is still time to turn your fitness around and get you back into fighting shape for Donkey Week. That’s not to say it’s going to be easy, but if you’re ready to commit to some focused training and you do the work, I’m confident there is enough time for you to feel strong, prepared, and confident by mid April.

Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to set you up with CTS Premier Coach Jim Lehman. You know Jim already because he was on an inGamba trip in Italy last summer. He knows of your love of good food and good wine, so he’s just the coach to keep you in line through the Holidays and into 2016.

Jim is also going to keep me in the loop, because it is personally important to me that you get back into shape. About 10 years ago I was where you are now. I had gained a bunch of weight, lost a ton of fitness, and let the business and other priorities take over my life. But being an athlete is an important part of who I am, just like it is an important part of who you are, and once I made training a priority again (not my highest priority, but a priority) it made everything better. The same has been true for the thousands of time-crunched athletes my coaches have worked with since then, and the same will be true for you.

If you give the coaching program four months and you do your part, you do the work; we’ll make sure you’re ready for your event. Deal?


We’ll be following the progress of João – and the rest of the inGamba crew – on the blog throughout winter. If you want to join in, keep an eye on our social media channels and the hashtag, #fitbyspring, and check out to see if CTS can help you reach the next level. 

Colin O'Brien

Colin is an author and journalist from Ireland. He first met inGamba's founder João Correia back in 2013. João handed him a bidon full of Chianti Classico and took him to a three-course lunch. They've been friends ever since.