An Interview with Enduro Superstar Cooper Ott
Scott Enduro Cup Moab: 3rd place
Scott Enduro Cup Angel Fire: 1st place
Scott Enduro Cup Powderhorn: 1st Place
Scott Enduro Cup Deer Valley: 1st Place
Series overall: 1st place
Big Mountain Enduro Santa Fe: 1st place
Big Mountain Enduro Crested Butte: 1st place
Big Mountain Enduro Keystone: 1st place
Big Mountain Enduro Aspen: 1st place
Series overall: 1st place
1) You've had an incredible race season! Could you recap a couple of the most memorable moments or wins that meant the most to you?
This past season was amazing. There are two wins that really stuck out to me this season. The first was the Crested Butte Big Mountain Enduro this is my home race and I had never won it before. The trails in Crested Butte are so scenic, their beauty distracts you from how hard the race is sometimes. This race has the longest/fastest stages of any race I have competed in. So winning at home really took the cake this year.
The second race that sticks out in my memory is the Keystone Big Mountain Enduro. I remember racing there in 2016 when we had first moved to Colorado and thinking that I would never be able to ride those trails confidently. I left there bruised and battered. This year was a different story. I was riding features I walked in 2016 and really gave me the boost of confidence I needed to finish the season strong.
2) To what do you attribute your success this year?
It might sound cliche but I think that keeping things fun was the key to success for me. If I am not having fun then I don’t race well. I also worked on skills this year, and got out for some early season rides with friends. A combination of all of these things and the great support of my husband helped to make this season successful.
3) What keeps you motivated race after race?
That is a great question! With my season stacked May-August sometimes it is hard to stay motivated. The thing that keeps me going is that it is a season long series so every race matters. The goal is to be on the top step at the final races of the season.
4) How often do you get on a bike or trainer during the winter/off season or do you take the entire winter off skiing? How does skiing contribute to your enduro success?
I love skiing! It is really important for me to hang up the bike for a couple months and enjoy the winters here in Crested Butte. Taking some time off the bike gives my body and mind time to rest, and heal. Late winter I set the trainer up and try to get a couple rides in a week. But if it’s a powder day you will find me out skiing.
5) Do you experience fear out on the course and if so, how do you deal with it? How do you recover mentally from a bad crash, for example?
Absolutely! Especially during practice where I am riding features for the first time. When I am scared of a feature I try to picture myself completing it from start to finish. Visualizing the start middle, and end. If I can picture myself doing it that means I CAN do it! Sometimes it takes leaving it behind and coming back later after some more riding before I can commit to hitting it.
Crashes happen. It is part of bike racing unfortunately. When it happens I try to understand what went wrong and how to fix the error for next time.
6) How do you use your moto bike for training and does this help?
Riding my moto helps me with strength and getting comfortable with higher speeds on singletrack. After a big high alpine ride I can't stop smiling! The day after one of those rides it feels like I did 200 squats and 100 push-ups! Not only does the moto help develop skills, it also gets me to some pretty sweet places.
7) How does what you are wearing translate to how you feel out on the course?
When I am comfortable I am able to ride better and faster. Podiumwear has such a great line of cycling clothing that no matter the weather I am able to find clothing in my closet to be comfortable on a ride. I've been wearing the Podiumwear Freeride Jerseys and full custom Traverse Baggies all season.
8) Is it important to you that your apparel is made in the USA?
Yes! I love knowing where and who made my kits. It makes me proud to represent a product and company that is designed and made here in the USA.
9) Talk a bit about the design process at Podiumwear. Is it fun to create a custom design that you know will stand out on the course and that no one else will be wearing?
I LOVE being a part of the design process from start to finish! All of the designers have such an attention to detail that it makes the process super fun. For example this year I gave Robin an idea of colors and that I would like Mt. Crested Butte part of the design and she ran with it. I’m not super artistic so I like to let the designers be the creative ones. It was really cool to see what she came up with. My kits were super unique and they really represented who I am. I love them.
10) You spend a lot of time working with younger kids and girls who are just getting into the sport. What advice do you have for kids, girls and their parents who might be interested in trying out enduro?
My advice to them is to talk to someone who races enduro in the area around them and pick a race that they think can be successful in. Find a buddy that you like to ride with (or maybe even a coach) and go out and preride the courses so you are confident when race day comes around. Also! I am always happy to help with any questions! Get a hold of me on instagram: @cooperdendelott or on Facebook: Cooper Ott (Dendel)
11) Who do you count on for support during the season?
I don’t think I could ever tell Phil [Cooper's husband] enough how much it means to me to have him at the races supporting me. Not only does he keep my bike in tip top shape he knows my abilities and helps me through tough lines when my brain is getting the best of me.
12) What is something that you learned about yourself from this past season?
Something that I learned about myself this past season is that I can ride way more trail features such as, rock gardens, drops and jumps than I think I can. Reminding myself to be confident in my skills is the key to success. That is sometimes easier said than done, the human brain is a crazy thing.