If you thought off road training guru Aldon Baker was all about motocross and supercross then think again – this guy is getting the best from enduro riders too. Working with the KTM USA off road team this summer at the ‘Baker’s Factory’ the legendary trainer has a habit pumping out race winners no matter which discipline.
With multiple tracks, workshops and fitness centre Baker’s Factory is a home-from-home to some of the most successful racers on US soil – the likes of Carmichael, Villopoto and Dungey to name three.
GNCC champion Kailub Russell is among the riders training with Aldon to improve his speed, overall fitness and raise his game for Cross Country racing. Set in nearly 100 acres and a short drive from Orlando, the facility is dedicated to making the best better.
The recent launch of the 2019 Husqvarna MX range was at the Factory which is where we caught up with the man himself – Aldon Baker. We know his history but we took the chance to grab a few enduro training pointers, plus try to figure where the ‘Factory’ came from and what it stands for…
Enduro21: The first question really, for those who maybe don’t know, is do you train and work with enduro riders or is it just motocross?
Aldon Baker: “Yeah, for sure, the KTM USA team are here for six weeks training this summer. I guess Kailub Russell is the lead rider there but the whole KTM team will be here.”
Photo Credit: Ken Hill
In a nutshell why would someone like Kailub come to Baker’s Factory?
“They come here to work on their speed more than anything. Yes, they can go for three hours no problem but if you give them something more intense it’s a struggle.
He [Russell] tested the waters a couple of years back and it helped him because he felt it gave him a lot more focus and higher skill level.”
Where did teh idea for the 'Factory' grow from in the first place?
“It kind of evolved really, as it stands now. I needed somewhere to train people. I’d always been at rider’s facilities and I never had the budget to put something like this together. As a rider retired I would then have to move and go to the next rider’s facility but it was starting to get the case the rider’s facilities were getting less and less because of the overheads involved. When they did do it, it was always a little bit minimal because they were always thinking, ‘what am I gonna do with this thing when I retire?’
“So I had the idea for a while to make the final piece of the jigsaw really, to make some sort of settled facility where I could be based and do the job more professionally. We started it with just a shipping container used as a garage and we began digging a Supercross track straight off and built from there. It’s been four years now.”
So what is the philosophy behind the ‘Factory?’
“The idea is to be a one-stop-shop facility for riders to come and train. We know the riding is critical but we also do the cardio stuff, the strength stuff. The philosophy is to create a whole environment for them to come and work on all their skills. They do enough travelling without having to do that away from the races. So we asked ourselves can we make it enough of an enjoyable experience but a tough environment, that was the goal."
Your training programmes with MX riders is well known but do you apply that same technique to enduro riders?
“Well with someone like Kailub a moto training session is going to be peanuts, he goes out on a weekend and races for hours so a 30minute session here is going to be nothing.
“But the intensity is different here, there are different guys he’s got to maintain against and that kind of woke him up to say to himself, ‘damn I’ve got to do pretty dang good to keep up here.’
“The thing is it definitely translated because when he went back to racing he was a different animal. I mean he was suddenly crushing the other guys because it woke up a whole new area for him. At that time he was training with MX guys and when he comes this time it will be the same.
“We put them all out together because I helps develop the track and make it rougher to have more riders out there.”
Do you train the enduro guys on enduro tracks or is it on the MX course that Musquin and all are using?
“Yeah they go out on track together, or Kailub will, maybe not everyone. They go and do enduro training elsewhere – I have woods here but it’s not big enough and that’s not why they come here. They come for the intensity, the speed and skill. The fast timing and learning to negotiate a track which is maybe more difficult because they are moving faster. It’s about training the brain to work faster.
“With those guys on an enduro course they have to read the track as they go so it is a little different. They have a vague idea where they’re going but the layout is pretty blind normally. Here they know where they’re going, and yes the track changes a lot, but they can step up the intensity here."
Photo Credit: Sebas Romero
And Russell sees the results from that in races?
“I feel like that does translate, yeah. I’ve heard from other riders that’s where he [Kailub] is strong. He can translate and read what’s there quicker than they can or even what he could in the past.”
"As far as the gym programme goes is that also tailored to each rider, should we all look at our body shape and train to suit it and the sport?
“Yeah for sure. Marvin [Musquin] for example with his structure and his body type we’re constantly trying to improve his strength. With Dung it was almost the other way around. I had to have him tone things down because I didn’t want him putting on any more muscle. Even with Zach [Osborne] now I don’t want to add muscle that’s gonna be not useable. So we develop between exercises, repetition and the weight depending on the athlete.”
For someone like Kailub then who has to race long events how does it work for him - are you working on his strengths or his weaknesses?
“Well, both. It’s different for him for example because if you think about the amount of time he has to stand in a race. That’s a heap of different muscle to a Supercross rider. If he has weak legs it ain’t happening.
“A guy like him, a top-level rider in enduro, doesn’t need more muscle. He needs more fatigue training, training relating to muscle endurance. Typically that would be step-ups, not heavy squats but combination exercises like balance ball and stability stuff which he might not to be used to but is picking up his strengths and building on them.
“I’ll also throw a load of core things at him and see if he’s got a deficiency somewhere, like one leg strong than the other of one forearm or whatever – then if he has we can isolate and build a programme and work on that. Then as it gets closer to going racing we taper it down a bit so that he doesn’t arrive worn out to the races.”
Kailub Russell onboard at the Baker’s Factory
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org