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Matt Bottrill: motivated to Tri
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Tuesday 23rd June 2015


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Matt Bottrill is currently the undisputed star of the domestic time trial scene. With PB's of 17:40 for 10-miles (34mph), 45:43 for 25-miles (32.8mph) and 1:34:43 for 50-miles (31.7mph), Matt is a man who knows how to ride a bike... VERY fast!

While you may be aware of his exploits in winning many National Time Trial Championship titles in recent years, you may welll be seeing a lot more of him, as he plans on racing triathlon very soon. "I'm very keen... at the back of my mind I would like to make it to Kona before I'm 45" he says, despite have done no swimming for years.

While he has no idea how his body will react to the world of multisport, his competitive drive remains, "I will be giving the races 100%. I'm way too competitive just to get round."


Firstly, congratulations on winning another National 50-mile TT Champs recently. Your 2014 season was pretty phenomenal with PB's everywhere, course records, competition records and pretty much every Championship going – do you feel like you can still go even faster in 2015?

Good question - on the right day, yes, I think it's possible to break the records I set last year. Competition records are very special though, you just need everything to click right; form, weather and temperature. But, I've already broken most of the course records I set last season.

Matt Bottrill

I've long been an advocate of triathletes using time trials as part of their training. Pinning that number on means that you'll manage to push yourself to levels that you'll never otherwise manage – with the added benefits that despite hurting like hell at the time (!) the recovery from say a Club-10, is actually pretty quick and it's a great way to have a quality session. Would you agree?

Absolutely, you will always get the best out of yourself when you stick a number on your back. Plus, by racing, you will also learn how to pace and use aerodynamics within in a race situation. The key to riding fastest is using your best race kit to get a feel of how in handles in a race situation. Basically, to ride faster you need to ride the kit you race with more often.

Talking triathlon, you said after the weekend's race that you were looking towards taking part in triathlon events and were motivated by a new challenge – is this something you've been thinking of for a while?

Yes, quite a while to be honest. I did a duathlon at the end of 2013, and I just loved the whole atmosphere, and loved how family orientated it was. And that's what appeals to me as much as the racing; the fact I could bring my family to watch. I've also found the people I've met though triathlon, to be so friendly, it almost seems everybody wants each other to do well. Last weekend I went to watch the Stafford 70.3 and was blown away again by the whole atmosphere.

Matt Bottrill

The obvious first questions – do you have any background in either swimming or running? Any 10k's, parkrun's, marathons lurking in your past – and how was the duathlon experience?

Not at all, I used to run for the School as a kid, but I was not all that good. I did used to do a lot of running when I was on the post, so I could get my round done faster.

Swimming... I've not done any for years.

Duathlon, yes I finished second in the one I did. It all started of as a bet with one of my friends. He's a good runner and said there's no way I would beat him. So, that was it. Six weeks out I started training, and managed 19mins for 5km on a boggy field. I lost around a minute to the front runners - but smashed the bike leg, breaking the course record, had a lead of 1:45 but on the second 5km my legs just gave way and I finished second. I also put 12 minutes into my mate, hence he's never taken a bet with me again!

Are there any particular distances / events / goals that attracts you to the multisport world? For example, is Ironman / qualifying for Kona a motivator for you?

70.3 is where I'm going to start. I've already pre-registered for the Stafford 70.3 and Outlaw Half, but if there are any organisers reading this that fancy having me at their events, I'm very keen. But ultimately at the back of my mind I would like to make it to Kona by the time I'm 45. I just don't know what I'm going to be like and if my body will adapt to what I want it to do. But that's what excites me, the fact I will have to learn, and push my limits even further.

Matt Bottrill

I suppose also tying to set the fastest bike splits ever recorded would be pretty cool. But again, I don't know what effect the running and swimming will have on my body. But trust me, I will be giving the races 100%. I'm way too competitive just to get round. But that's what also great about triathlon, all the Age-Group stuff.

I know you are not completely new to the sport, as you have been involved with coaching Challenge Roth winner Timo Bracht in the past as well as being cycle coach to several multisport athletes and having team-mates like Vicky Gill. Do you plan to work with a triathlon coach when you do make that move?

I do coach a number of triathlon riders on the bike.

I have no plans to work with a triathlon coach, I will look at working with specialist in each field of running and swimming, I think that's the best way I will learn.

Having worked with Timo / others, and I'm sure seen cycling performances from the likes of Sebastian Kienle and Andreas Dreitz, how would you assess the TT level of the top cyclists within triathlon?

These guys are fast, and their performances blow me away. But when myself and Bob Tobin coached Timo, the biggest mistake he was making was riding his bike too much and not training enough. So, we basically made the training harder than the race. When it came to Roth, he was cruising on the bike rather than having to dig really deep. Hence the reason he got faster on the run rather than blowing with 10km to go. I'm sure if these guys only did cycling they would be awesome, and most likely professional cyclists.

Matt BottrillTalking coaching, you recently set up www.mattbottrillperformancecoaching.com, and my Twitter feed seems to indicate a lot of athletes going faster than ever on the bike, so I'm guessing that has been going well? How do you enjoy that role – and how would you describe your approach to training?

Yes, I'm loving it and yes it had been very successful. But that's how I want it to be. I've failed more time's than I succeeded, and that's what gave me the success and now I'm able to pass this knowledge on to others. Also, I understand the demands of day-to-day life (family & work), can impact training. My approach is assessing the demands of each rider I work with, looking at their goals, then fitting the training into their day-to-day life. All the training is tracked on Training Peaks so basically we all know where we're at.

If we work together its a win-win situation. You just have to work out the fastest formula to get the rider from A to B in the fastest time possible, and it's just applying training, nutrition, aerodynamics then giving each rider the mental belief then to hit their goals. I'm the worst loser out there, so for them to fail would be failing! And that just cant happen! So I guess its quite simple: Listen - Learn - Apply - #smashitup!

Are you still working as the ‘fastest postman around', or is the coaching side your primary ‘work' these days?

No, I finished at the post 12 weeks ago, I'm now a full time coach

We've seen a flurry of Hour Records over the past nine months, culminating in the latest recently from Bradley Wiggins. When the revised rules were set, I believe you had expressed a serious interest in it, but as a non-UCI team rider (and thus not part of the biological passport scheme), you wouldn't be eligible. Is that something you would have seriously looked at – and having seen how the record has progressed and with a good understanding of your own power / aerodynamics, do you have a feel for what sort of distance you think would be realistic for you?

Yes, my plan was when they changed the Hour Record rules to go for the record and we were planning on being the first to go. At that point, there was no rule of biological passport but then I heard on the grapevine this was the case. So, we contacted the UCI and they said that yes, the passport was needed, and the cost would be 7000 Euros and would take 10 months to build. That was just way out of reach, so we called it a day. It's still something I think about... maybe I should just turn up to the track one day and have a go!


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