Susie Mitchell

Track Cyclist and full time working mum!!

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Interview December 2014

Interview by Kieran Murphy as appeared in Carlow Nationalist  

Name ?
Susie Mitchell

Brief career resumé ?
I used to be an adventure racer, then I discovered we had an outdoor velodrome in Dublin in Autumn 2011 so took up track cycling and I haven’t looked back since. Eight national titles, four world masters medals and counting..

Career highlight ?
Winning the 2km individual pursuit at the World Masters Track Cycling Championships in Manchester in 2012, just four months after giving birth to my first baby! Most amazing day of my life. I was two seconds slower than the Australian girl in the heats and managed to overcome this deficit to beat her in the final.

Career lowlight: ?
Failing to defend my world title when I returned to Manchester in 2013 – a disappointing silver, beaten by half a second by the same Australian girl I beat in 2012!

Sports person you most admire ?
Sonia O’Sullivan – she is an amazing athlete that achieved so much at the top level of her sport and she is so down to earth. She also gave me lots of great advice on training during pregnancy in the run up to the world masters.

Biggest influence on career?
My coach – Hugh Byrne – he was the first person who believed in me and told me I was capable of achieving anything. Someone believing in you is a pretty powerful thing.

What motivates you?
Improving my times on the track in the timed events such as the pursuit, the 500m time trial and the flying 200m. Even knocking 0.1 of a second off a time can be a great achievement and makes me keep training. Mixing things up is good as well – I love the gym and do a lot of strength and conditioning in winter.

What turns you off?
People who think they should get results in sport without putting in the hard graft. Talent is a limited resource and ability to work hard is the key to success in sport.

Does sports psychology work?
Definitely. Track cycling events are so short you have to be switched on 110% to get everything out. You need to be in the right frame of mind to do this and this takes practice and knowing what makes yourself tick. I am a big fan of visualization and practice it a lot.

If you weren’t involved with sport, what would you be doing?
Researching fish diseases and travelling the world providing veterinary advice for all sorts of aquaculture problems. I’m a fish vet by trade!

Stuck in a jammed lift 20 storeys up with one person. Who would float your boat?
Has to be Chris Hoy – the original track cycling icon– he is an amazing guy. I read his autobiography recently and would love to pick his brains about training

Who would make time drag in the same situation?
My mom as she has a phobia of getting stuck in lifts and would totally freak out! Other than her, Enda Kenny probably. Or maybe both of them together.

If there is a Heaven, what words would you like to hear as you come to the Pearly Gates?
“Well done on breaking the world record in the 2km pursuit!” And then – “there’s been a mistake – go back to earth!”

What TV sport makes you want to flick to a different channel. Why?
Cricket because I don’t understand the rules.

Three people you would bring to dinner and why? (Cannot be relations.)
Keanu Reeves because he is such a talented actor (?) – well he’s easy on the eye, Will Ferrill, who makes me laugh and Steve Peters, the team GB track cycling psychologist as he would have some interesting stories to tell about all those high performance atheletes he deals with!