Feature – Rhys Howells Q & A


Feature question and answer challenge with – Rhys Howells of the Richardson Trek racing team

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature – Rhys Howells Q & A

glendene road race

Winning the Glendene RR

1. When will you start your road season and what will be the first race?
Rhys: Funny you should ask – I’ve got your 2016 calendar open on another browser tab! I’ve never raced the Perfs so I’m considering it. If not, I’ll most likely start with the Peter Young Road Race if it goes ahead. I understand the organisers have been up against it this year. Having organised a road race myself in 2015, I have insight into the difficulties involved. Fingers crossed for them.

2. What races will be your targets for 2016 and why?
Rhys: I was hugely disappointed with my National TT performance in 2015. I know I’m capable of better and that’s a big target for me this year with the more suitable course in Stockton. In February, I’m booked for a consultation with Xavier Disley for some aerocoaching at Newport Velodrome in preparation.

3. How will you spend the time on the bike between now and your first race in training? 
Rhys: I’ve been working with Palmares coaching for 4 years now and my physical performance is still improving with their help. Most of my training will be in the UK but I’ll be off to Majorca for some top-end in late February. I’ve shunned the LSD approach to training if I’m honest. Andy Lyons won’t like to hear me say it! Joking aside though, I’m already doing some work on the turbo, and 160k+ rides are reserved as opportunities to catch up with friends on the bike. My big change this winter is 3-4 hour rides followed by turbo efforts. It’s not easy to hop on the turbo after a ride, but I can vouch for the training benefits.

4. What was your favourite Xmas present?
Rhys: Polly-filler from my mum. After buying a house this year with my girlfriend, we were hosting Christmas and in an effort to tidy up, I managed to put my foot through the loft and into the ceiling on Christmas Eve. I won’t stop hearing about that ‘fail’ for some time.

5. When it rains, which its doing a lot right now, is it turbo time or wrap up and get wet? 
Rhys: At work (Rapha) I’m lucky to have the opportunity to test a lot of kit which is in development. If I have the enthusiasm to test some new wet-weather kit, I’ll lap it up. Failing that, I’ll bail and hop on the turbo. It’s always a toss-up with bad weather and if I’m run-down and there’s a risk of getting ill, I’ll try to make the sensible decision.


6. If you could do any race in the world including the best ones in the world etc, what would it be and why?
Rhys: There’s a chance we’ll be competing at the Ras this year which would be one off my bucket-list. I doubt I’ll have the opportunity but il Lombardia has always looked brutal and I’d love to try to hang-on in that.

7. What piece of food can you not do without where ever you are on the road during the season!
Rhys: I’m a bit of a coffee snob and I’ve been known to take a hand-grinder and filter maker to some Prems. (No sharing lads). My girlfriend also helps out, making me rice-cakes for winter rides, and sometimes I’m lucky to have baked eggs waiting for me when I get in. Recovery drinks are convenient, but I try to avoid them unless I need them.

8. What is your favourite music track when warming up for a race or on the turbo?
Rhys: It varies. ‘Constellations’ by Camelphat is big on my playlist at the moment.

9. If given the option, would you prefer normal brakes or disc brakes on your road bike?
Rhys: I commute through London to work everyday on the same bike as I use for training. When you’re using a bike as often as I do, I can see the appeal of discs. I had a pair of hand-built wheels made-up 3 months ago and the rims are already on their way out. So, for training and commuting, I can see the appeal and I’m sure if I was in the market for a new training bike, I’d go in that direction.

Conversely, I’ve been racing on the same pair of Bontrager Aeoleus carbon deeps for 2 seasons. From a wear-and tear point of view, my braking tracks are like new and with brake pads becoming ever more effective in their modulation, I don’t see the need for discs in racing, personally. Even in a wet race; give me a pair of Swisstop black-prince pads and I won’t be worried about stopping in time. That’s not to say I won’t be shi**ing-bricks if Rhys Lloyd shouts ‘OIL’ in the first 2 miles of a wet Prem like everybody else!

10. What’s the spec of your race bike for 2016 and your favourite bits on it? (include a pic or two if you have them!)
Rhys: I’ll be racing on the same Trek Domane Kopparberg as I was lucky to be given late in the 2015 season. This model is hard to get your hands on, but the bike-position suits me down to the ground, and its short wheelbase makes it great for the mix of crits and road races that I compete in year-round.


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