Tuesday 20 December 2011

"Mike Cotty talks Wessex League,National Champs and Mike Simpson"!

Mike Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) has enjoyed a great winter Cyclo- Cross season so far. Five victories in the Wessex League look to have given him an unassailable lead in the series. Dominant on the local scene, Cotty has also proved himself on the bigger stage, his 10th place at the Southampton round of the National Trophy Series was, perhaps, a promise of more to come. Mike spoke to “E D” at the Poole Wheelers Christmas Cracker Cross event in Wareham Forest. Unfortunately for Cotty, Mike Simpkins had not read the script and had just powered himself to a well-deserved victory. Gracious in defeat, Cotty, never the less, was obviously disappointed: “Mike is really, really strong, I looked back and saw him in third place and thought crikey, I am going to have a bit of a fight on my hands, because he is practically made for this course. I did not make any mistakes, Mike just had the legs today” A pause and Cotty adds with more than a nod of respect, “the bugger”. He goes on: "I am disappointed because I always want to win.”

Mike had come off on ice while out training the day before the Poole race, had that affected him?
"When you are racing you cannot really feel stuff, so you don’t know, it’s been pretty painful last night but I was racing good and I would not say it had any bearing on today’s result”
Cotty made a conscious decision to focus on the Wessex League this year
“The national events are so far away, last year I was only just getting into the top twenty, I also had some work commitments so I decided to try to build on the Wessex and aim for the National Champs as well”

Was he pleased with his race at Southampton?
“Yes really pleased, 10th place got me 1 UCI point and I started on the back row. I felt good and that 1 point will put me on the top 2 or 3 rows for the Nationals instead of row 6 or 7” What would be a good result at the Championships? “Top Ten, yeah, I like to try and get top ten but again its horses for courses when you get to the nationals, all the best riders will come through. I have raced at Ipswich before and I quite like the circuit. I will be racing in Belgium between Christmas and New Year for two races, it will be bullet hard it will be a nice little training camp, just a sharpener really, no real expectations just go and have some fun and hopefully it will be good for the National Champs”
Is he training much at this time of the year?
“Just a bit of turbo really it’s too dark after work and too cold for any quality. I normally do 4 to 5 hours on a Saturday so I never come to these races fresh, there’s no point, when I raced at the southern champs I felt so much stronger because I did it right, rest in the week, sleep well, stuff like that. Cotty is already thinking about next season “Its long way to South Shields to get 25th, but the results have been a lot better than I thought this year, so next year I will do the National Trophy. Getting that top ten at Southampton was a bit of an eye opener, I thought, hang on a minute, this is quite good now”

The Wareham Forest course suited Simpson well, what is a good course for Cotty?
“I like it pretty technical, a little bit more like the mountain bike thing, if you are not a roadie you are going to struggle, I have raced mountain bikes all year so I have got my technical hand in, on the technical bits you can put 15 seconds into someone just like that. I don’t mind some nice flat bits but it’s difficult for a guy like me to get away”
Cotty will race Cyclo cross till the end of the season then go straight into base training for a summer season of elite mountain biking
“maybe a couple of local road races after work”.
What does he mean by base training? “Steady miles on the road, a nice threshold session every week, I don’t need a massive base for mountain biking but I like it so I if it’s a nice weekend I will probably end up doing too much” Preparation for the Nationals will include some 10 second sprints in a 90 minute ride, good rest and good diet.

“It makes a big difference, you get to a race and think oh hello, this feels good” What is his favourite discipline Cross or MTB? “I am really enjoying the cross, I like really like the position on the cross bike, it’s a bit more sketchy. If you go into something really fast it’s the guy with the best technique who is going to come out of it. With all the suspension your bike can get you through a lot, where as on a cross bike you are so rigid, like today I was flowing down the descents but Mike nearly came off, he pulled me back on the flat though”.

Work is as a marketing manager for Cyclesports group and Mike regularly rides, and reports on the big sportives for Cycling Weekly. Mike Simpson thoroughly deserved his win, as Cotty say’s “He is a good solid rider “. The two will meet again this weekend at the Crabwood CC, Boxing Day Cross, despite the season, it promises to be a cracking race. Last word must go to Mike Simpson, “I expect Mike Cotty will be out for blood now!”

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