Give us Five: Rhys Howells

Racing for Twenty3C-Orbea in 2012, Rhys Howells takes us though his training during the winter

VeloUK: Have you started your winter training and if so, how long did you spend off the bike post season and how many hours a week would you spend now training?
Rhys Howells: Winter training has indeed started. I had a break of about 4-6 weeks of unstructured training at low hours, maybe 4-5 a week – after the SERRL RR Champs in September.  This was the last peak of my season – I had the SERRL Crit at Hog Hill on the Saturday which I won, a great end of season result for me – followed on the Sunday by the SERRL RR Champs at Lamberhurst. I spent the day away in the break but was swallowed up on the last lap.  After this weekend, I just wound everything down – still riding, but completely unstructured. It’s a weird time for your body here, because you’re still going strong and have bits of form coming through here and there, but at the same time you’re aware of the need to rest.

VeloUK: What is a typical weekday ride for you (how long and what intensity) and what sort of rides do you do on a weekend (how long and what intensity)?
Rhys Howells: I’m currently working to about 12 hours a week, up from 9 – two weeks ago.  I’ll do a recovery ride on a Monday, maybe two hours on the road at zone 2 power.  I like to have rest days this time of year where I’ll only commute or do 30 minutes active recovery on the rollers, so sometimes these on a Tuesday.

Wednesdays are a 3 hour 30 road ride at a decent pace, but actively trying to stay sub-threshold. I do another of these on a Sunday, but often this is with a group that meets out in Essex, sometimes with a Cafe stop at the Blue Egg or in Blackmoore. I like to keep my leg speed throughout the season so there will be one long roller session up to 85 mins.  I also work on my core strength this time of year, spending an hour in the gym with a medicine ball and some kinetic own-body-weight exercises and planks thrown in.

VeloUK:Do you ride Xmas day or New Years day?
Rhys Howells: I really look forward to riding Christmas Day! I’m always in Pembrokeshire with the family this time of year and the roads are totally empty. Even if it’s a short one, I will endeavour to do something on Christmas Day.  New Year’s Day is a different story; loads of people drive to Tenby and go for a swim at the beach is tradition, before wrapping back up and munching a bag of chips in the town.

VeloUK: Do you intend to go to a training camp abroad and if so, what would be a typical training camp there in terms of the time spent training and the type of training rides they would be?
Rhys Howells: Yep – we’re going to Pollensa in Majorca – I can’t wait.  I don’t know any specifics on the day-to-day riding, but we’ll be making the most of the sunshine and topping up the tan-lines for sure.

VeloUK: Finally, what will be your first races for 2012?
Rhys Howells: I’m aiming to do a few of the Winter Series at Hog Hill -  the category of these races have been changed to Regional C+ which opens it up to a wider range of riders. The first bit race I’ll be aiming for is the Dengies (Premier Calendar).  The terrain suits me and it’s a target race for many of the big hitters in the UK so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.

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