With a little over two months until the start of the World Motocross Championship season in Sevlievo, Bulgaria, the training schedule of the Honda World Motocross team has stepped up a gear as they prepare for an assault on the 2011 MX1 title.

The new rider partnership of Evgeny Bobryshev and Rui Goncalves were sent deep into the Alps to undertake an intensive altitude training programme as part of their pre-season preparation.

Evgeny Bobryshev and Rui Goncalves.

The team have now flown to Sardinia to commence 3 weeks of development testing in the deep sandy conditions of the middle island.

We caught up with the Honda World Motocross Team Manager, Lorenzo Resta, to find out more about how the team is preparing for the 2011 season and how he believes fitness and conditioning will play a crucial part in the push for the world title.

Q. Who were the team training with?
A. The riders were trained by Mr. Remo Longin a professional trainer for the Cross-country Italian Ski Team. The training took place close to Asiago, a beautiful location one hour from the team’s base in Italy. In this period of the year it is cold on the mountain but the weather is also usually dry and sunny. The beauty of the Alps contributes to training with more joy, something which is really important to any training programme.

Q. How important is it for the riders to undertake altitude training as part of their pre-season preparation?
A. Preparation for a new season starts early and is really important to begin focusing on goals for next season during the winter. This begins first with training of the riders and for this we choose the altitude training. Training at altitude effectively explores and utilises additional reserves of performance held within the body. These reserves are increased through training at high altitude. These techniques are used in the discipline of cross-country skiing, where athlete performance in low oxygen conditions is integral! In the total process of training, this type of training helps to increase effectiveness, efficiency and consequently overall performance, whilst decreasing the chance of fatigue.

Q. What area of fitness is it important for the riders to work on and how does altitude training help this?
A. Altitude training is related directly to oxygen. Intake of oxygen is necessary to feed the muscles and is integral to energy production. The higher the flow of oxygen, the more energy can be produced. When oxygen is in short supply, the body has to be more effective in respiration and this is done by increasing the number of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles. Training at altitude for a period of time promotes the production of red blood cells within the body and therefore increasing the amount of oxygen that can be transported to the muscles during aerobic activity. This process increases the performance and strength of an athlete and this increase is still relevant even when at sea-level.

Q. What activities were they undertaking as part of the training?
A. Cross-country skiing was the main activity, to increase endurance, the elasticity of the muscles and to promote the production of red blood cells. Long periods of alpine walking with the snow-shoes also have a similar benefit and the riders interchanged between the two activities. There were also many session in the gym and the swimming pool to offer a full body workout. The full programme was designed around aerobic activities as focussing on respiration was a key part of this training.

Q. What is next in the pre-season training and testing schedule of the riders?
A. Now the riders are heading in Sardinia where they will have over 3 weeks of riding in the deep sand of the middle island. Our mechanics, trucks, technical equipment and of course the bikes are waiting there ready for us as we move into the next stage of development of the 2011 Honda CRF450R.

Q. How do you plan to monitor fitness levels throughout the season to ensure high standards?
A. Before leaving for Asiago, Rui and Evgeny visited Padova University for medical examination and comprehensive fitness test with the medical crew from the Physical Training Institute. It was a very successful test and provided some valuable insight into the condition of both of our riders. The results of the test show that both Rui and Evgeny’s level of fitness was on equal par to that of the Italian National Cycling team so they are both really fit guys. Of course to ride in the MX1 World Championship you have to be super fit and maintain this level of fitness for the duration of the season. As a team, we have a good relationship with Padova University and so at key points during the season we will return with both riders to compare and contrast conditioning and fitness. At this level of the sport, this attention to detail can be vital to success.

Visit the site : www.hondaproracing.com

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