Matt Bottrill - Taking time out and reflecting - Sub7.
It’s been a while since my last blog but to be honest since sub 7 I’ve felt really drained . The whole project was a massive achievement and one of the highlights of my career at 45 to have ridden and run the the cycling element it really is something I’m proud of. Since that time I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and thought I would you give you a bit of insight into the project.
So having taken three weeks totally off the bike and having spent some time with the family it’s made me realise moving forwards I work best when have specific goals to work on. I think at the time of writing this I really want to try a bit of everything to improve and keep my overall fitness . I’m going to do a lot of gravel riding this next few months and will also look at doing some cycle cross this winter . I’d also like to pick up some running again and possibly do some early season duathlons . But for now I’m going to get back riding and start building some fitness.
So onto sub 7
What was sub 7? basically it was two athletes going head to head to see if they could break 7hrs for an Ironman distance. Each team were able to select 10 pacers to help them throughout the day to pace each leg .
The project started for myself in early October 2021 I was asked by Richard Melek from zwift if I’d be interested in chatting to Kristian Blummenfelt and his management team which was Adam Acworth(manager) and olav Alexander (coach).
For Kristian they needed a team that could not only ride sub 3:40 for 100 miles but could also ride the new Cadex bikes and wheelsets along with certain items of clothing and other equipment which supported Kristian . With the links I had I was pretty confident that we could not only smash 3:40 but I could get a team of Uk finest athletes to ride with us . So two weeks making calls we put together one of the strongest teams you could imagine but also we knew could fully commit to the next 6 months .
Riders we ended up selecting
Chris Fennal, Adam Duggleby, Thomas Hutchinson , Phil Williams, Axel Dopfer , Gruff Lewis , Kyle Gordon and William Perret.
The first point of call was arranging a training camp which we did in the Dordogne area of France . The riders would get to test the giant and Cadex bikes and get to meet Kristian along with his coaching team . We all hit it off straight away , it took a few days to fall into line and work out the best formation of riders but by the end of the week we did a full 30 miles at well under the pace on a technical circuit so we came away knowing that breaking 3:40 for 112 miles was well within our grasp.
Onto testing 80 miles at race pace
May 3rd we decided to do a full dress rehearsal for the event . Without Kristian present , the process was to gather some data and to look at the pace we could sustain it was also going to be a true test to see if I could hold the pace myself . I’m not going to lie I was so nervous to see if it was possible but I was relieved to hold the pace and wIth good Hr and good power I was also able to pull my turns at the front .
The guys did an awesome job and you could really feel the banter and momentum building within the team.
With the test event then completed we decided that we would be best to have a full weeks training camp . Tom Davies and Andy Wollney had a contact in Amsterdam where we could use a fully closed cycle track and spend a full week building the atmosphere within the team and also start the process of testing out the new Cadex bike ( more on this in another blog ) . Also most days we spent many hours testing different ways of riding . What we decide to set Kristian, up for the fastest overall time . I would act as a sweeper to take the changes in pace and Kristian would follow me through the guys would then take full turns between 90 secs to 3 mins depending on their strength and Aerodynamic drag of 400-450 watts.