Alex Dowsett: 48 hrs on the bike in 9 days in Majorca

Fourty eight hours in nine days, that’s a lot of training at this time of the year! Alex Dowsett explains why so much as he now relaxes for Christmas after a mega training camp in Majorca to prepare for the season which starts in a few weeks at the Tour Down Under

Larry Hickmott writes … Christmas is less than 24 hours away and Alex Dowsett is relaxing  in the knowledge that the hard work has been done for the racing that begins on the 15th of January 2012.

This year has been a mega breakthrough year for Alex Dowsett who has proven he is not only a World class time trial rider, British champion no less, but also able to win road races and lets face it, pretty handy on the track too!

He had three pro victories, the time trial in the Tour of Britain and stage 5 in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes where he was second overall as well as the Time Trial championship. He was also awesome in the London Nocturne where he lapped the field, third in the classic time trial, Chrono des Nations and third too on stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing.

One of Alex Dowsett’s pro victories – British championship many times over

Top tens in stage races as well have shown just what class this Essex boy has but 2012 beckons, Olympic Year, and Alex, from Essex, just up the road from where the Olympics will be held, wants a slice of that action!

His season begins in three weeks on January 15 at the Tour Down Under. To prepare, Alex, and the rest of the Team Sky riders were training in Majorca recently and it was some training camp. In the recent series of Winter Training articles from British riders, a training camp abroad was something nearly all were going to take part in. So who better to ask than Alex about what he did at his training camp.

When VeloUK spoke exclusively to Alex, he explained he was out there for nine days with a  four day block, a rest day and then another four days. “We were mixing it up during those blocks” Alex says. “The coaches would have different efforts for us like we’d have a day of torque efforts which would be low gear and then high gear stuff and then some zone three efforts and then a through and off day. One day was also just a general ride.”

“Everyone was taking rest days at different times depending on when they came out and the need to have one. Myself and Edvald Boasson Hagen were also doing extra behind the motorbike once we got back after these rides.  I think the longest distance I did was 235 kilometres and that was six and half hours but the longest ride in terms of time was six hours fourty.”

“It is more than most would do at this time of the year but I am racing earlier so I feel it’s needed. I always felt I was on top of it except for one day when I felt a bit rough and I knocked that on the head after four and half hours and just stayed in the wheels.”

Getting a lot of rest was important too says Alex. You’re training is only as good as you’re resting so I was chilling out a lot as well. When I am at home, there’s always a bit of buzzing about after training but out there, you get back, have a massage and lie on the bed so you can soak up the high amounts of training.”

Asked to rate the intensity of the efforts in Majorca, Alex says “In a race, when it’s easy, it’s really easy but when it’s hard, it is unbelievably hard. So these rides are somewhere in the middle. So it’s hard all the time and then maybe we go up to 60 or 70 per cent of a race effort”.

Alex explained that the training was done on his training bike which is the same as their race bikes except they weren’t on carbon wheels. They also had mechanics looking after their bikes every night and a following car as well in case they punctured. The terrain varied as well as Alex explained.

“Some day we kept it on the flat, some day we headed out to the big climbs depending on the efforts we were doing.”  Alex then explained that last year, on the wet when the roads in Majorca, he and others such as Russell Downing did come a cropper on a roundabout despite crawling around it at low speed and this year, everyone in the dry, was taking it easy to avoid falling.

“We didn’t go nuts on the descents for example which can be the difference between the amateurs and pros. We used to race down every descent hell for leather but now we take a bit more care when we’re training!”

What Alex does best … time trialling, whether its a time trial or going solo to win a stage ina  Grand Tour. He does admit though its good going into stage races without a time trial to take the pressure off and also show how well he can race the road races.

After such a hard training camp comes a period of around ten days where the training is unstructured. “I have been taking it pretty easy this week to be honest because the camp was tough in terms of hours and intensity for me because of how early I start racing next year.”

“The idea of training camps for us is to get a really big block in where we make the most of the conditions and then chill out. I’ve just started getting back into some training after some time off post camp. I’m going out on the group rides and that kind of thing, riding when I want to ride. Maybe a bit of mountain biking too”.

This easy  block precedes another team camp in Australia prior to the Tour Down Under where Alex says there’ll be some more heavy mileage. You could say that the season is well under way for Alex. Even before the training camp in Majorca he was busy making sure he was fit enough to cope with the demands of the training with his Sky teammates.

“I was quite worried before the camp because I ended the season later with the GP de Nations (TT), and then had the month off. That left me three or four weeks to prepare for the training camp but we were blessed with some good weather down in Essex which made it very easy to get out and get the miles in. I was well prepared after doing blocks of four or five days with four to four and half hour rides. Nothing too horrendous but enough to make sure I got into the training camp fresh and ready to go.”

Alex will now keep his riding ticking over where he’s not pushing on too much and simply maintaining the fitness he has gained in Majorca before he heads to Australia on the second of January and then racing on January 15.

The Tour Down Under is the first World Tour event for 2012 and unlike the early days in the race when the pros would perhaps not take it as seriously as they do now, Alex expects it to be as tough as any race this season. For Team Sky, Edvald and Mick Rogers are apparently going there to do good things for their team on stages and the overall with Alex going there to support them.

Alex says he go to the race to be utterly selfless saying “Mick (Rogers) was instrumental in my win at Tour du Poitou-Charentes so it will be nice to give something back.”

My thanks to Alex for the chat! Have a great Christmas Alex and we all hope 2012 sees you having even more success in the pro peloton. You’ve certainly earnt it!

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