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With training camp just weeks away, BMC's Louder excited for the season to start

23. December 2008

Salt Lake Ciity

Though BMC's Jeff Louder has not made a point of getting out of the cold and snow Utah has offered these last few weeks, he has been pleased with the results from his creative training regime. 

Content to make use of the wintry conditions by snow-shoeing and skate-skiing, Louder nevertheless is looking forward to returning fully to riding on the road at the team training camp in California.

How are you coping in the cold; has it been snowing for you since September?

Jeff Louder: Ha, no it hasn't been that bad.  We had a really nice autumn here and only in the last two weeks or so has it gotten pretty cold and snowy.  It hasn't even been that cold since this past weekend it was supposed to be way down in the single digits, but we seem to have dodged that artic air mass.   Still too cold to ride on the road much, though!

Do you enjoy the cold weather and what sort of training do you manage to do in such cold conditions?

JL: I train in the cold because I have to, and I try to get creative.  I do spend some time on the trainer doing intervals, but I like to supplement that with snow-shoeing and skate-skiing which are both really good aerobic exercises.  I am lucky here in Utah because I have to drive just 10 to 15 minutes to find some really great hiking and other sorts of recreation. 

Does being really close to great recreation opportunities which must make up for the harsh winters?

JL: The weather isn't really the worst part about it; since in Salt Lake we're sort of a bowl in the mountains, we get some pretty severe inversion effects which mean that all the cold air and pollution gets trapped at ground level, and you can't really exercise with that sort of air quality. 

Do you have anybody in the area that you train with?

JL: For the last several years I have trained a lot with Burke Swindlehurst.  We like to go snow-shoeing and skate-skiing together, and during the season we ride together a lot.  I ride a bit with Zabriskie when he is in town.  It's good that we can ride together because we can keep each other motivated.  He spends this time of year in Southern California, I think, so he avoids the cold weather in Utah.  But you know in the southern part of the state it can be warm like a little banana belt, so sometimes I'll go down there to get some road riding in even when it is really cold around where I live.

Do you feel ready for the BMC training camp in January?

JL: I am really looking forward to the camp, especially since it will be two weeks long.  It is hard to be away from my family for that long, of course, but the long camp gives us a chance to get into a real rhythm and program.  There is always so much outside stuff that you have to do at camps too, that the shorter camps are often too packed with other stuff to allow for proper training and recovery.  But with two weeks, we can spread out the external obligations, and still have a chance to concentrate on the riding.

What will be your early season goals?

JL: For the start of the year, the Tour of California is definitely priority #1 for me.  It is one of the biggest races in the US and so we will certainly be focusing a lot of our efforts there.  I will personally be trying my best to be as fit as possible, though it is a bit of a bummer that the race is so early in the year.  That means that most of our preparation for it will have had to be done in the winter and mostly alone; we don't have the advantage of racing into shape, so it makes it tougher to be completely ready. Of course, it comes at the same point of the season for everyone, so that is a levelling factor at least.

Do you think that races in the US and even Europe are going to have a hard time dealing with the current economic climate?

JL: Races are always in flux just as teams are always coming and going.  We hope that the good races can make it.   It is too bad that Georgia had to be cancelled for 2009, but considering it has been around for 6 years, that's actually a pretty good run by American standards.  Sponsoring a bike race is comparatively cheap, though so I hope that corporate America will see it still as a viable form of advertisement.  But honestly, the US race situation seems pretty alive to me.  California is still going strong, Missouri just was upgraded, races are expanding like the one in Oregon taking over from Mt. Hood, and the Tour of New York seems to be a reality, so there are many bright points that we can feel hopeful about.