A Q&A with a British Cross Champs flavour as leading rider in Lincolnshire cyclo-cross, Under 23 George Thompson answers the VeloUK questions
Feature: Â George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers)
1. What has been the highlight of your cross season?
George: Stepping onto the podium at the first round of the national trophy series in Southampton is the highlight of my cross season as it was the first time I’ve ever been stood on the podium at the Trophy Series. It has been a goal I’ve been trying to achieve ever since I started riding the national trophies as a Junior!
2. What races will be your targets for 2016 and why?
George: It’ll be the National Trophy series again. I’m moving up into the senior category next year so I want to be targeting some top 10 results there.
3. How did you find the National Championships race compared to the regional and Trophy events?
George: It was hard! The course was fantastic but involved a lot of running. Compared to the Trophy events it shouldn’t have been much different, but as always, it’s the champs so you always want to get the best result you can there and everyone else has the same frame of mind so I found the racing even closer than other races and I found myself trying even harder than ever to make each corner faster!
4. What was your favourite Xmas present?
George: I got a Fitbit watch. It tracks my heart rate which means it’s been possible to check how my heart rate and speed is during a cross race. This is very interesting as it means I can analyse my ride and maybe see where I can improve.
5. When it rains, which its doing a lot right now, is it turbo time or wrap up and get wet?
George: If it’s raining before I leave the house, I’ll most likely sit on the turbo. But if the rains not falling, I’ll head out with a good water proof in my pocket. I really don’t mind riding in the rain, in fact it’s quite enjoyable now and then. I don’t think you can stay dry riding in the rain, as long as you stay warm riding in rain is fine. I find my hands and feet are the first to feel the cold in rain, so the best tip from me is a good pair of warm/waterproof gloves and a good pair of socks and overshoes will help.
6. If you could do any race in the world including the best ones in the world etc, what would it be and why?
George: The Koppenbergcross. It’s one of the most famous ‘cross races in the world and is one of the hardest courses about. I’d love to be able to say I’ve ridden it. Also just to be able to experience the atmosphere of racing in Belgium, the noise must be fantastic with the amount of spectators that come to watch the race.
7. What piece of food can you not do without where ever you are on the road during the season!
8. What is your favourite music track when warming up for a race or on the turbo?
George: Hmm thatâ€™s a tough one. I usually just push shuffle and see what I get, but Dakota by Stereophonics usually gets me in the right frame of mind!
9. If given the option, would you prefer normal brakes or disc brakes on your road bike?
George: I always thought that discs were unnecessary on a road bike, but having got them on my cross bike this year I’ve been really impressed with them and now if I had the option, I’d have disc brakes on my road bike.
10. What’s the spec of your race bike for 2016 and your favourite bits on it?
George: I’m riding a pair of Ridley X night CX bikes with Shimano Ultegra groupset and Shimano’s mechanical hydraulic shifters and Shimanoâ€™s hydraulic disc brakes.
The wheels are Mavics Ksyrium pro carbon with challenge tubs. The wheels and bikes are light weight, perfectly balanced and a pleasure to ride over any surface and round any corner. They also look fast, which is important too!
If I have to find a favourite part of them it would have to be the hydraulic brakes, the stopping power and responsiveness of them is amazing no matter if I’m riding through deep mud or dry ground the braking is the same, this means now I have so much more confidence going into any corner.
I have to say a special thank you to Pedal Pushers and Howard for sorting them out for me!
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