News: Bottrill Back to Cycling in Peak Form

After a few years in triathlon, Matt Bottrill has returned to cycling and was in sparkling form at the Eddie Soens Memorial

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News: Bottrill Back to Cycling in Peak Form

After a few years in triathlon, Matt Bottrill has returned to cycling and was in sparkling form at the Eddie Soens Memorial where he finished second after attacking again and again during the race

Matt Bottrill Video Interview

Matt writes …20 years ago I was just a young road cyclist wanting to win some big races. After loosing Pete Longbottom, my Team road manager when I rode for North Wirral Velo back in 1998, he always said if you win a road race at the start of the year, you will set yourself up for the rest of season.

Pete was tragically killed one month before I won the Soens back in 1998, so I dedicated that win to him and this set me up for my journey in the sport and I did have a lot of success after this.

So today, after 20 years since winning the event, I decided at the back end of last year that I was going to return to cycling after two years away where I concentrated on Triathlon. This was encouraged by my mum who supported me through out my cycling career and knew how much I love it. She devastatingly lost her battle with cancer last year and watching her fight really made my mind up that it was time for me to go back to doing what I love and knowing that it was something she wanted me to do has helped me really focus and dedicate myself to my come back.

It hasn’t been easy and I’ve had to really push myself and go to some dark places which I didn’t think I could do again.

Matt at speed during the Eddie Soens, one of only a few riders on disc brake based bikes

So after my last two events and Team launch being cancelled due to the bad weather, I was chomping at the bit to get my season underway. So to say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement, first race is always the test of how the winter has been and marker of where you are at.

I woke up early and on the road for 6am to get to Aintree and it was chucking it down – typical! But I was so ready for this. Got there in plenty of time and met the boys George Evans, George Fox and Ollie Bates and had our team talk before being ready to roll. Luckily, 10 mins before the start of the race, the rain stopped and the sun came out!

After not riding road races for the last 5 years, this meant I would start as a 3rd category rider with the event being handicapped, the elites were 2 minutes behind. With winning times over the last few years being around 1:40:00 for 46 miles, it was going to take some doing solo as that’s around 28mph on a road bike.

But I find now at the mature age of 40 it takes me a while to get going. So I had a simple plan of riding to one consistent pace rather than all the stop starts that tends to happen in road racing.
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I’m not going to lie I lost count of the amount of laps I spent by myself only to be reeled in. But then with 15 laps to go, 6 of us got away from the mass bunch. We worked well but you could just tell the speed was not quite high enough. So I decided to tap through with the guys until the pace lifted. With 10 to go, we were caught by the Elite riders including the likes of World & Olympic track champion Ed Clancy. I’m not going to lie, I was buzzing and wanted to show everybody what I was capable of doing.

There was a few attack’s but you could see nobody was committed so rather than wait for all the stop start action, I just decided I was going to make one full committed effort. So on the back straight after the headwind section, I just took a flyer.

I heard some guy shout ‘tester and a few swear words’ so that’s all I needed to make me dig in! But the rush I got at that point was like a presence of my mum just being with me. So with around 8 miles to go, I was flying and opened a gap of 15 secs. I knew at this point I was going to take some catching. But Jon Mold from JTL took a flyer and managed to catch me with 1.5 laps remaining.

When he caught me, I’m not going to lie I was gutted, but just said let’s ride which we did. Jon is one of the best sprinters out there so despite my best efforts, 2nd place was on the cards. I was really happy to come away knowing I’d made everybody work. Thanks so much to everybody that’s supported me since I started this come back. I’m well excited to see what I can achieve this year.






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