Q&A: Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

After a great start to the season and getting in the break at the British Road Race Championships, a crash in that race cut short Mikey’s season but he’ll be back for the team in 2020

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Q&A: Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

After a great start to the season and getting in the break at the British Road Race Championships, a crash in that race cut short Mikey’s season but he’ll be back for the team in 2020. Here’s a question and answer with him

How is the injury from the crash at the nationals Mikey and how bad was it in the end?
Mikey: I ended up with quite a nasty wrist injury where I fractured my scaphoid which isn’t too bad on its own, but I also ruptured supporting ligaments which meant I had to have two surgeries and a total of about 10 weeks with my wrist fused. It’s doing okay now – I’m still doing a lot of work to get my full range of movement and strength back, but it’s getting there.

When were you able to get back on the bike post-surgery?
Mikey: From the first surgery, I had K-wires fusing my wrist so couldn’t ride with them in case they broke, but once I had my second surgery to remove them I could actually start back on the road within a few days.

Were you able to maintain fitness through the recovery period and if so was that on a turbo?
Mikey: I kept very focused throughout my time off the road. During the first few weeks, I was hoping to make it back in time to have a shot at riding the Tour of Britain but then I found out the injury was worse than it first looked, so I had to readjust my expectations and targets. Knowing that I would be off of the road for longer, I planned to use the turbo and gym to work on my weaknesses and to ensure I could step strongly into the next season.

– You have re-signed with the team for 2020, does getting a new contract so early help motivate you ahead of a typical British winter?
Mikey: Having the team sorted going into the winter obviously helps your motivation. You know what you’re working towards and it’s slightly easier to get through the cold, wet and dark winter training. Seeing the team and the programme Chez is putting together makes it particularly exciting.

What was the highlight of the season?
Mikey: There were a lot of good times this season, but of course, I particularly enjoyed the whole of the Tour of Yorkshire. The whole show and the crowds were great, even in the bad weather. Getting in the break on stage 3 was particularly good.

What races have you been able to do post-crash this season?
Mikey: I haven’t really done anything. I only got back on my bike late in September, so missed pretty much everything from the summer. I’ve dropped into my local airfield crits on a Saturday morning, as they make for more interesting and intense training as part of a longer ride.

Knowing what the races are like now with the team and what suits you, will your training be different this winter or stay with what works for you?
Mikey: I always train with a plan. This winter I’ll be looking to maximise my strengths, so I can exploit them when it comes to racing for the team next year. I’ll also use the winter to figure out what my weaknesses are and to address them while I’m not racing as much.

What was the best race for you (the most fun/enjoyable) in 2019?
Mikey: As I said, I particularly enjoyed the Tour of Yorkshire, but I also thought the Circuit of the Mendips was particularly good. It ended up being a bit different to your normal prems.

You are well known for your breakaway efforts – do you find being in a break ‘easier’ than sitting in the peloton waiting, waiting waiting for things to kick off?
Mikey: I always enjoy being in the break, but it certainly isn’t easier – physically at least. It can be mentally easier, because the bunch doesn’t always settle, and can be twitchy, so the open road afforded to the break is comparatively nice in that respect.

Funniest moment in 2019 with the team?
Mikey: There were a lot of funny moments and the whole team and staff have been great. Actual funniest moments are probably not appropriate for me to talk about, but it’s always a good laugh in the back of the camper.

What was the toughest race in 2019 and why?
Mikey: We did the Tour du loir-et-cher at Easter time, and the stages weren’t always particularly hard but were long and it was the first real hot race of the year temperature-wise. There was one stage during which I got really caught out by the heat and also didn’t feel well and it made the last hour or so fairly horrid.

Do you get to choose what you have in your bottles on the bike in races and if so, what do you prefer, water or an energy drink?
Mikey: Yeah, we are lucky enough to be sponsored by Namedsport and they make a great range of products. Mick is always willing to go the extra mile for us and will sort us out with whatever we need. I particularly like the Hydrafit when racing, it’s got a good balance between hydration and carbs.

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In road races, do you prefer proper food (cake, sandwiches etc) or energy gels and bars
Mikey: A bit of both really. The Namedsport bars and gels are great, but in a long race, it’s good to have a bit of something proper to mix it up. I always fuel from the start of the race, and follow the rule that whatever you can get down at the time is best; so at the start of the race, when it’s really full-on, it’s often easier to get a gel down you, but then later in the race when it all settles down a bit, I would have the bars and normal food.

Is winter training structured the whole time or a mix of riding the bike easy and then getting serious with top-end work?
Mikey: All my training is structured. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional easy ride, but I think it’s important to know what you’re getting out of your ride each time you get on the bike and to make sure you’re getting the most you can out of your whole training programme.

Do you train alone or in a chain gang?
Mikey: I do a lot of training on my own. I really like riding early in the morning, but I know that not many others do. I do also do bits in small groups to keep myself honest and sane.

– What’s the view from you and the riders you mix with on the changes for 2020 with teams folding and riders moving to Europe or retiring – is it all doom and gloom or one of optimism of new opportunities?
Mikey: I certainly don’t think its all doom and gloom. Not all teams and races are confirmed yet so we will have to see how it looks when we get to that stage, but whatever happens, there are certainly going to be plenty of opportunities next season and a lot of talented guys who want to race their bikes, so it should make for some good racing.

Finally, what races in 2020 are ones you really want to do based on those in 2019?
Mikey: The race programme isn’t pinned down for 2020 yet, but I know there are a lot of good races we are planning on attending, and I’m really looking forward to them all. The big races for our team are always going to be the Tour of Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain, and I’ll be working hard to help qualify the team get to get selected for them.

Thanks to Mikey for the Q&A and good luck in 2020 with Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK 



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