Trainer Aldon Baker (left) and one of his riders, fellow South African Tyla Rattray (right). Photography By: Andrea Wilson.
If you watch Supercross races, one of the things you'll hear from some of the top riders during their podium rundown of thank you's is: "I'd like to thank my trainer, Aldon Baker."
Baker, a native of South Africa, went back to his personal training roots after being a professional mountain bike racer for five years and he is arguably the best in the business. His first client was the GOAT himself Ricky Carmichael, but his list of clients since Carmichael reads like a who's who of racers, including the road racing Hayden brothers and inarguably the best motocrosser on the planet right now - Ryan Villopoto. We sat down with Baker recently to him to ask him about his area of expertise: training and the champions he works with.
All this got started with Ricky Carmichael. How did you meet him?
I was sponsored by Oakley and Johnny O'Mara was involved with Oakley and was overseeing Ricky. So Johnny knew me and kind of knew my background and he's the one that said, ‘Hey you should get together with that guy and see if you could do anything with him' because, obviously, Johnny was in California and Ricky was in Florida. When Ricky would go out to California, Johnny would try and sort of steer him in the right direction, but Johnny was more into general riding stuff.
So then Ricky actually called me and said, ‘Hey...' I know, he'd been already a year in the big class from the 250s and he was struggling, and he called me and said, ‘I need some help, especially in the physical and strength and all the rest of it. I said, ‘Well, okay let's see what can be arranged.'
So I flew out to Tallahassee and I'd never ever been here before. He picked me up from the airport and it started from there. That was basically the middle of 2000. That was right before, basically, I think they had started one round of the outdoors.
So that was 2000... what if anything has changed in the intensity of training and fitness levels since you first started?
Well, I think on the fitness side, obviously you are always learning and a lot of training is finding out what will work for each athlete and I think each guy's different you know. So as a trainer you've got to really be aware of where their strengths and weaknesses are and how they apply themselves to training.
For the complete interview, see this week's issue of Cycle News by clicking on the following link: