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Matt Bottrill: Making the Transition to Triathlon

Our ambassador Matt Bottrill has achieved some great things on the time trial circuit, culminating in a bronze medal at the amatuer world championships in September. After a successful career on the bike, Matt has decided that he wants get two more disciplines under his belt by making the transition to triathlon.

Before he starts the 2016 season, we took the opportunity to ask Matt about his transition - read the full in depth Q&A below:

Matt, many cyclists have been transitioning to triathlon over the last few years. What was it that made you want to switch?

Some people might find it strange that I’ve made this transition but I know there's nothing left I want to achieve in cycling. I'm driven by setting goals, to carry on would mean repeating what I've already achieved in the past and this was never going to sustain my drive. I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I don't see this as the end of my cycling by any means I just think of it as writing the next chapter.

How has the transition been going so far?

I'm now in the second month of trying to turn my body and mind into a triathlete. Normally I would have a 2-3 week break from any type of training, but after my last race I decided it was time to start the process of learning how to swim and run.

To make sure I get off to the best possible start with my running I connected with Marathon runner Louise Damen for some coaching sessions. Under her instruction I've gradually been getting the miles in. I started very easy with 20-30mins walking and gradually jogging, but 8 weeks later I've managed to build up towards an hour and I'm totally getting into the zone.  I know I have a long way to go to hit the pace I'd like but I feel I can become a strong runner over time.

Swimming is a completely different story, I have to say when I started this process I had no idea how hard it was going to be!  I was expecting to dive in the pool and be able to swim length after length but the truth was I could barely do two lengths - I was fighting the water and burning out. Thankfully with some advice from Will Clarke and a two day intensive course I was able to swim 1500 meters. I wasn’t fast but just being able to breath in the water was a massive step forward.

I'd like to try and swim four times a week to build the technique and strength needed, I would say I dislike swimming the most and it's going to be the hardest to master especially in open water but I'm prepared to put the hard work in.

Are you doing anything in particular to help make the transition easier?

I'm keeping on top of my strength and conditioning work with a great team at Functional Jigsaw, the plan is to build a platform that will allow me to push myself through the training needed. I'm very strong minded and I have a high pain threshold, so I've got to make sure I don't push to much, but I feel I’m in a very good place with the training.

Where can we expect to see you competing in the coming months?

My plan is to start 2016 with the Dambuster Duathlon which I’m quite excited about as it’s based around Rutland water.

Then I plan on competing in the series of Pacesetter events, which includes the Dambuster Triathlon on 18th June and the Vitruvian Triathlon on 10th September. These will be a good test throughout the season to see where my form is.

My other major aim will be the Outlaw 70.3 - I've heard great reviews about the the event and as it’s local I can get in some practice on the course. I have no idea what I will achieve but I do know I will be well prepared when I arrive.

Following that, I’ll be heading to Wimbelball in Exmouth to one of the hardest 70.3 events in Europe, a savage bike course being the main reason I was drawn to it.

What are your long term goals?

I’d like to try and ride the fastest 70.3 bike split ever seen but first I’ll have to complete my first one to say whether this is achievable! Long term my ultimate goal is to make it to Kona and I don't think I will stop trying until I achieve this.

We wish Matt the best of luck on his journey to the top of triathlon!