Saturday, January 20, 2007

Winter Miles in ABQ - 2007

Albuquerque is a great place to train year-round. Sure, it gets chilly in the winter, but there was only one day all winter long where I was completely prevented from riding outside. Of course, take into account that I'll ride in more conditions than most, I hate to ride my trainer, and I have a flexible enough schedule that I can always just wait for the nicest part of the day!

But the elevation (town is at 5,000 feet with surrounding mountains reaching over 10,000) and the incredible mix of terrain really can't be beat. 5,000 feet is just enough to give you a good boost in your training, but not so much that it makes it difficult to recover. I have lived outside of Taos, NM for several years at about 8,500 feet-- and I can tell you, it's a huge difference.

Also, I've never had such an array of quality athletes to train with. This year I mostly trained with Todd Shoberg, a Cat 1 from Michigan spending the winter in Albuquerque for training (nice life, huh?); Bill Jackobus who recently moved in from Salt Lake City; my teammate Brian Palen; some other teammates from Santa Fe who make the trip down; and Robbie Douangpanya who runs the Nob Hill Velo team.

We have the occassional celebrity appearance as well, and I had a great opportunity to play tour guide and train with Sergey Lagutin (Navigators). Sergey is a multiple-time Uzbek national champ in both the RR and the TT. He won both the Sprint competition and the Overall at the 2006 Tour de Toona; was the 2003 WORLD U-23 Champion in the Road Race (!); and got 4th in Paris Brussels right behind McEwen and Boonen. Training with him was pretty incredible. He had just arrived to altitude the day before, and presumably was doing winter miles (it was the day after Xmas). We did 4 hours at a very good clip; but what was so cool to see was how consistent and disciplined he was at pacing his efforts. This guy knows how to train, and it was an inspiration!

A couple of weeks later, Sergey was joined by the entire Navigators squad along with their sister TeaM Lipton womens pro squad for their winter training camp in Albuquerque. The Belgian Cycling Center was in town at the same time, providing our roads with a large, colorful, and highly skilled peloton. Clearly Sergey's preparation was right on the money-- he took 2nd in the queen stage of the Tour Down Under; no mean feat!


Tightwads of PDX! said...


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