Rider Interview: Ed Hood has caught the gravel race bug and has interviewed one other rider from the primary UCI Gravel World Championship – Mikey Mottram. Mottram has been a prime rider on the UK domestique highway scene, however has been hitting the gravel trails. Ed caught up with him to listen to extra.
Gravel, it’s piqued our consideration – nicely, mine, me being a saddo – right here at PEZ. Maybe it’s again to these halcyon days within the 70’s when Andy Henderson, Dave Chapman and I’d hurtle at daft speeds throughout the ‘Hangingmyre’ observe excessive on the Lomond Hills within the Kingdom of Fife? ‘Tough stuff’, we referred to as it again then.
Even if it’s arduous to be delighted in regards to the UCi, ‘getting it’s hooks into’ gravel, the primary ‘Gravel Worlds’ did maintain a little bit of fascination for us.
Should you’re a PEZular then you’ll have learn the interview we did lately with Hagens Berman Axeon rider, Toby Perry who rode the Gravel Worlds. However Toby was on a UCi continental crew with rides and prime 10 placings in quite a few UCi races underneath his belt.
Nevertheless, a reputation which caught our eye in the results of the Gravel Worlds was that of Mikey Mottram, who was a rider with UK continental crew, Vitus a number of years in the past however hasn’t been driving as a professional for a few seasons. ‘Attention-grabbing,’ we thought to ourselves, greatest ‘have a phrase’ with the person.
PEZ: The fundamentals first please, Mikey?
Mikey Mottram: I’m 32 years-old, come from Oxfordshire and work within the household flooring enterprise on the monetary aspect. I used to trip with the Vitus professional crew however now I’m with Crew Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus which is a multi-discipline 50% male 50% feminine crew.
PEZ: How did you get into Gravel?
I rode the Kings Cup, which is successfully the British Gravel Championship at Bury St. Edmonds, two years in the past and loved the expertise. I rode once more this 12 months and completed sixth to Jacob Vaughan out of a 9 man dash over 76.6 kilometres.
PEZ: Is the UK Gravel scene sturdy?
Not in the meanwhile, it’s nonetheless discovering its ft as a aggressive entity. Within the USA they’ve ultra-endurance occasions just like the 200 kilometre ‘Unbound,’ gained by the Dutch specialist, Ivar Slik; while right here within the UK we’ve got 100 kilometre, ‘have a go’ kind occasions the place throughout the 100K you’ve gotten timed sections inside that, these can differ from one to 5 minutes and you’ll go after as few or as many as you want. Nevertheless, on a the larger stage, the UCi has acquired concerned and have given issues extra construction with a 12 race sequence – seven are in Europe, two in America, one within the Philippines and two in Australia. The person behind the sequence and the Gravel Worlds is former World ‘cross Champion and UCi Gran Fondo supervisor, Erwin Vervecken. The occasions are over 120 to 160K and there are guidelines about how a lot gravel needs to be included within the parcours. However regardless of the UCi, races like ‘Unbound’ will nonetheless go forward.
PEZ: How did you get the Worlds trip?
I rode three of the UCi sequence of gravel races; one in Millau in France the place I used to be sixth to former Flanders and Roubaix winner, Niki Terpstra; in Sweden I used to be twelfth to a different Dutch man, Jasper Ockeleon who was a little bit of a Seashore Race specialist and in The Netherlands I used to be fifteenth to Andreas Stokbro of Denmark who gained the GP Herning this 12 months, that’s a giant, well-established UCi highway race in Denmark which has quite a few gravel sectors in it. [And won by Scottish Eurosport pundit, Brian Smith, back in the day, ed.] These rides certified me however the Nationwide Federation needed to put your title ahead; British Biking didn’t have a crew within the race however they didn’t stand in the way in which after they’d vetted your performances to be sure you have been worthy of a spot.
PEZ: What did you consider the Worlds percorso?
One factor you study fairly shortly is that no gravel routes are ever the identical, the three I rode to qualify have been all totally different. It was a little bit of a foolish begin on the Worlds, up that huge hill; as a result of I had ridden and completed OK in these qualifying races I ought to have had an honest grid place – however then they gave the UCi World Tour and ProTeam riders the entrance grid locations based mostly on their UCi highway factors. After the opening climb there was a technical descent after which one other climb earlier than what was fairly straightforward gravel. By means of the woods there have been hairpins however guys have been chopping the corners; I’d been distanced with the chaos at the beginning so I spent the following hour working my manner into and thru teams till I reached the principle bunch. The accelerations have been arduous, however I held on on this chasing bunch till about 40 kilometres to go.
I then had the more serious 10 kilometres of driving a motorbike I’ve ever had earlier than discovering a second wind, digging deep and driving tempo to the road.
PEZ: What about lining up beside the Sagans and MvdPs of this world?
I wouldn’t say that I’m used to it however I did trip the Tour of Yorkshire with Vitus and the standard of area was fairly good – however sure, cool to be in the identical race as these guys.
PEZ: Inform us about your bike.
It’s a Vitus, that’s our sponsor, Wiggle’s in home model – it’s a prototype, not accessible till subsequent 12 months, an aero gravel machine. I used to be working 1x initially however after France I modified to double chainrings as a result of there was a lot climbing; the factor with gravel is that on a few of the climbs you’re going actually slowly and wish low gears however a few of the descents are very quick so that you want huge gear ratios. I used to be on Schwalbe G-One quick gravel tyres that are actually good.
PEZ: Extra gravel sooner or later?
I didn’t intend to do as a lot as I did however I loved the UCi sequence races and hopefully will do extra subsequent season; there are extra occasions coming round now nevertheless it’s very a lot a summer time sport as a result of most of the trails develop into un-rideable within the winter.
# With because of Mikey for his perception into the world of gravel, only a pity I’m not 45 years youthful. . . #
Because of Crew Spectra Wiggle P/b Vitus for the images.