Canadian Cyclist


December 5/07 6:24 am - Mike Garrigan Interview

Posted by Editor on 12/5/07

Mike Garrigan Interview

Tom Skinner sent us the following interview with Mike Garrigan, who last month won the National Elite Men's cyclo-'Cross title after an extremely hard-fought battle with Greg Reain and Max Plaxton:

I just thought I'd send you this quick interview I did with Mike Garrigan! He's a fellow rider and buddy of mine and I was a bit confused when he didn't get much attention after winning Canadian Cyclo-'Cross Nationals this year. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he's never really been on a big team and is usually a one-man show. Nevertheless, Mike recently won Ontario Provincial champs as well so I thought I'd tell people what his plans are for the future and let everyone know how he keeps managing to win the big races. Doing stuff like this can't be bad for the sport either; pleasing the sponsor lets cyclists like Mike focus on their training!

TS: So first off, you won the biggest 'Cross race in Canada this year! Was that a big goal for you earlier in the year and tell us about the win.

MG: Yeah, I was so stoked to experience Worlds in Belgium last year. After coming home from that I knew 'Cross Nationals was going to be a much bigger focus for me this time around. It was in the back of my mind most of the MTB season for sure. It wasn't until September that I really started gearing my rides towards that day though. Regarding the win, it just felt so good to know I wasn't totally crazy; the little voices in my head had been telling me I could win.

TS: How did the last lap pan out? Were you in front the whole time or where did you make your move?

MG: The last few laps had lots of attacking! We went back and forth quite a bit. It became obvious that neither of us [Garrigan or Reain] was going down without a good fight as we started the last lap. I dug deep to get by on a re-mount section midway through the last lap, then I had to gas it hard as we hit the power sections. I knew if I could open up a gap on those then I could be more conservative on the final technical section so I wouldn't muck it up. It felt as though I had unlimited power on those last few sections. It was awesome.

TS: We know you won Provincials this past weekend too but how did that race play itself out? And how were the conditions?

MG: Yeah, that was a blast! The course was so fun! I came the day before to check things out and ended up wanting to ride all day. The course had almost everything; ice, slush, sand and slick mud. I love that stuff. As for the racing, I felt pretty solid and it went well. I was motivated to ride well that day. Andrew (Watson) had beaten me the week earlier so I knew I had to be in better form to win Provincials.

TS: What kind of training do you do in 'Cross season? What are some of your harder workouts and are you still training now?

MG: I really like mixing things up. When the weather is like it was today with snow and ice I try to get out for longer endurance rides (around 4 hours). I always feel more confident with my skills after rides like that. I really like challenging conditions. If it's just plain cold then I will ride the rollers and add 10 minutes of jogging for every 50 minutes I spend on the rollers, going back and fourth to keep it fresh. I also do a bit of 'Cross training; hiking or snowshoeing or whatever. I do lots of stuff.

As for harder stuff, I love doing sprints. I will set out to do a certain amount of time at max effort, say 5 minutes. So, over the course of an hour I will do all sorts of different efforts between 3 seconds and 30 seconds mixing it up, all maximum. Also I will do workouts where most of the effort is tempo pace, adding some 15-30 second max efforts of a specific 'Cross skill or some sort of agility training.

TS: So will 'Cross be an even bigger focus for you now that you're Canadian champ?

MG: Yeah for sure, next year I will start earlier with the specific training. Also I will be looking to get two bikes and all the proper gear. I will be more prepared with a full race schedule and more goals laid out. Should be fun!

TS: Are you planning any time off in the next couple months? Or do you have any plans to race the World Champs in January?

MG: Nope, no more time off. It's been kind of a weird season. After Nationals I really wanted to take some time off. I also wanted to travel and experience some of the races in the U.S. so I did both. I just cruised the Interstates [highways] seeing the sights during the week and then raced on the weekends. It may not have been exactly what I had in mind for time off but I'm glad I did it. Up until racing Centennial Park here in Ontario a few weeks ago I was still just having some down time with the intention to start preparing for 'Cross Worlds in December. That changed after having a good duel with Andrew. I became very motivated to try and win Provincials last weekend. So training started two weeks ago. And now yes, I am preparing for Worlds. I would love to have a solid performance there.

TS: Do you have any plans for next year already? Any big goals, new races or major changes?

MG: More focus on MTB Nationals and on the MTB World Cups in Canada. Also Trans-Rockies with a very good, very fast old friend of mine.

TS: What do your sponsors Jetpower and Epic Ride do, and how did you get hooked up with them?

MG: Epic Ride bike shop is in Orangeville, Ontario where I started riding. The owner got me into riding. It's my local shop and where I order most of my gear from.

Jetpower is a new team that I am working to develop. It began with a gentleman who has helped me lots over the past few years. Stuff like travel expenses and cycling gear. If it wasn't for generous people or parents like Mr. Jette I don't know if you would see half the riders at the big events. I know that I wouldn't be there, or at least not in any type of shape. I'd love to ride for a factory team in the future, but hopefully I can keep improving with Jetpower because they have been great to me!

TS: I've heard about your 6 hour powercrank roller rides on Christmas Day. Are those true or does Steve [Neal - Mike's coach] make that stuff up to scare people?

MG: Ha, when did you hear that?! That's how rumours start. That was some time ago, but yes, I think it was more like 5.5 hours. Thanks for the flashback. Maybe I'll go for more this year. I'll let you know.

TS: Do you realize that if you were as good at golf as you are at biking that you would be a millionaire by now? You would probably even have a hot girlfriend like Tiger Woods.

MG: Who says I can't have a hot girlfriend? As far as the dough, it's obvious that golf is far more interesting to watch on TV. And that they obviously have much more cool stuff to sell... but let's not get into that now.

TS: Okay here's a different question for you. Last one; who do you think is the coolest guy on the Canadian racing circuit these days?

MG: I always used to look up to Geoff Kabush. Pure cool factor though, eh? Hmm. I'd have to say most of the Quebec riders are generally cooler than the rest of us. It always seems like they are having a better time if we go out after the races. Also, it's not any of the racers more so the organizers over there who always come up with the coolest ways of saying my last name. Every time I race in Québec I am blessed with a new last name. I love it!

TS: Well thanks Mikey! I hope the jersey opens a few more doors to let you keep doing what you're doing! Good luck training over the winter months and I hope you lay a beat-down to all the Belgians!

MG: Thanks!


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