MOUNT DORA — When hundreds of cyclists descend on Puerto Rico in late January for a three-day, 375-mile trek around the island, a group led by a local cycling expert will be prepared to take on the challenge.
Kameel Abdurrahman, for the fifth year, is hosting his La Vuelta Cycling Camp in Mount Dora to prepare competitors for the grueling La Vuelta Puerto Rico endurance event. La Vuelta isn’t a race. It’s a “premier cycling event for serious endurance athletes,” according to event organizers. It’s aimed at giving cyclists a “pro” experience through 42 coastal towns in Puerto Rico and is definitely not for beginners.
For Abdurrahman, or Coach Kameel as he’s called, the event is about more than just hitting the pavement. It’s about the right preparation, including eating right, properly handling a bike while riding in a pack and safely traversing the road. His training camp begins Saturday, but registration for the two-day, $85 camp already is closed.
The camp is one of the few, if any, in Florida that emulates the La Vuelta road timing but also emphasizes fueling the body properly, he said. La Vuelta organizers feature the training camp on its website as “one of the most anticipated training events athletes from across the state have attended and raved about.” Abdurrahman owns MotionFit, an Orange County business that pairs athletes with bicycles and also offers coaching services for the serious cyclist.
George Feliciano, a recent Mount Dora transplant from Miami, is one of Abdurrahman’s cycling devotees. This will be his seventh year taking on La Vuelta and his fifth training with Abdurrahman. This year, he’ll be working as one of the captains, riding ahead or behind the pack of cyclists to make sure everything goes safely during the event in Puerto Rico.
Feliciano said the training camp is unique because it allows cyclists to train with some of the best competitors.
“Most people need motivation,” he said. “The training camp gives you good structure. Kameel is a great guy. He knows what he’s doing. He’s not one of those guys who is trying to make a quick buck.”