Q & A: Jen George


VeloUK quizzes Drops Cycling Team’s Jen George about her season so far in Europe – races Yorkshire this weekend

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Q & A: Jen George

One of the riders in the Drops Cycling team for women, Jen George from Scotland, has been busy racing against the World’s best and this weekend, rides the Women’s Yorkshire race. VeloUK quizzed her on the season so far:


Photo: Tom Oldham

1. In your last race, Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira, you raced against many of the world’s best – what was the highlight of the stage race for you?
Jen: The highlight for me was coming 20th on the 2nd Stage finishing in Urkiola cur which was outside our hotel. The Hotelier had come out to watch the finish and was there cheering us on.
My team mates had looked after me to the base of the climb and my team mate Sophie had instilled the sense of 3k to finish. As tough as it was with the steep ramp to the finish, I had an enormous sense of duty and strength from the crowds and the commitment from my amazing teammates that got me there.
It was on this stage that I feel I turned a corner in my confidence and sense of belonging in the peloton.

2. Competing at such a high level and being relatively new to the sport at this level, has that performance given you a new level of expectation of yourself in races to come in the pro ranks?
Jen: My result in Bira was beyond all expectations that I could ever of dreamed of. To finish top 20 in a stage and 23rd overall on GC is something that is yet to sink-in! While expectations remain firmly grounded, the confidence has grown. I went into Bira not knowing if I would be able to climb quickly enough and have left knowing that I can which in itself is a huge boost.

3. What was a typical day in a high level women’s stage race for you from sun up to sun down?
Jen: Ha Ha Ha! It’s very simple – I do as little as possible: don’t stand when I can sit, don’t sit when I can lie down and absolutely sit with my feet up always! Generally the races started at 3.30pm so we had a lot of time in the mornings and very little time in the evenings.


Photo: Tom Oldham

During Bira, I would wake and eat breakfast as soon as possible with the team. Some teammates then liked to spin their legs – I liked to sleep/read but definitely go back to bed till 30 minutes pre lunch when I woke, showered and got into our Drops casual clothes. We would then have lunch as a team, and prep our kit to leave. My race bottles and pre race bottles would be done before leaving the hotel for the race.

We always arrived 90 to 120 mins before each stage to allow time for pre-race protocols and what I like to call ‘Faff time’! I am one to get nervous so I do like to put my headphones on and relax especially during my warm-up.

It helps me to focus and stop wasting energy. The race would then consume the best part of 2-4hrs then recovery would become the most important thing. Recovery OTE shake, rollers warm-down and then a bite to eat and a drive back to the hotel.

At the Hotel, a fight for the shower and then a massage with a debrief with our DS. Meanwhile in any spare time, I like to prep my clothes for the following day and get washing ready from the present day. This includes pinning numbers onto fresh kit, cleaning recovery bottles and charging my Garmin. It is then dinner time followed by a team meeting, a call to my Husband and that all important Bed.

Behind the scenes we had Mike Jenners (Mechanic) cleaning, assessing and tuning our bikes. Mags (Soigneur) massaging, prep-ing bottles for feed zone, and food for the finish and Paul Freeman (DS) planning our next move. Every person with a key role that allowed us as riders to concentrate on racing our bikes.


4. You have ridden some amazing races this year – what are the memories that stand out for you?
Jen: My fondest memory so far has to be from the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Riding such an iconic race with so many people lining the route and cheering, was such an experience. Managing to stick with Lizzie Amitstead in the front group till the Oude Kwaremont was pretty special, especially as it was my first WWT race.

5. How important is it for the riders in the team to have been given this opportunity to come out of the local racing scene and into the big events in Europe?
Jen: Racing as we are in Europe and beyond is taking our skills to a whole new level, one that would not be achieved from continuing to race as we were in the UK.
This gives us the unique opportunity to take this back to UK races and animate them in such a way that will hopefully encourage UK riders to up their game. This can only serve to improve the quality of races in the UK and perhaps see more female riders heading to Europe to race and learn as we are.
It is my feeling that as a team we have learnt loads from riding in Europe, as individuals we are stronger and as a team we have very clear goals.

The opportunities that we have been given will I believe give a stepping stone to the bigger UCI teams. Without Bob Varney this would not have been possible. Without all of our sponsors, we would not be able to race the program we have for 2016 with the amazing kit, bikes, nutrition, clothes and all accessories.

Everyone that helps us from mechanics to soigneurs to relatives of team mates we are all grateful as without them we would struggle to make everything possible.


Photo: Tom Oldham

6. Tell us about the clothing you wear in a race from the team sponsors Prendas, how many layers would you start with and when it comes to jerseys, do you have a few options for cold or warm weather (long sleeve, short sleeve etc) ….

Jen: During Bira, despite the odd bit of rain, we all rode in short sleeve jerseys and shorts as the temperature was never less than 16 degrees and was on occasions a lot warmer. On the final day, I added my arm warmers to the selection for a bit of comfort and was very pleased I had.

Prendas has supplied us with a kit selection that is second to none. We have every piece of clothing from long sleeved jerseys to the Reef Jacket (for cold wet races) to leg warmers. All the kit is of the highest quality, we have no excuses for being cold or uncomfortable during a race, unless the temperature is very hot!

Personally, I like to be slightly overdressed at the start of my warm-up, and always head to the start line wearing extra clothes. It really helps my motivation and moral. However I will always remove some layers and start a race slightly chilly knowing that in 10 minutes I will be warm enough.

Keeping your core temperature correct during a race can have profound effect on how your body performs on that day and the days following. Prendas have supplied kit that allows us as riders to have options.

7. As well as racing around Europe, you also run your own business? Tell us how you manage to do that and train and race etc?
Jen: My business consists of personal training clients. It is a little difficult when I am away for extended periods but it works really well for both parties. A greater emphasis is on the sessions that I deliver when I am there as it forces my clients to become self sufficient and learn about their bodies and exercise.

Of course I am always on email and whatsapp with questions and will remotely set their training based on their feedback when I am away and base on performance when I see them. I have always found that successful clients are those that take an interest in their training, they are also the ones that stay with you for a long time.

I block out time for my training and always ensure clients know my schedule for racing. Having been the Head of Fitness for a large corporate gym and fitness manager for many other gyms, I find that planning is key and sticking to the plan is crucial. Personal Training is no different and corporate clients appreciate this.

I also work at a bike cafe on an adhoc basis to keep variety and a cash flow. I ride in the professional peloton as an amateur rider and whilst I gave up a high powered position in the London to train harder, I still require to have an income without stress.

8. Finally, what race is next for you?
Jen: My next race is super exciting, it’s the Tour De Yorkshire on the 30th April. Really looking forward to this as it’s a good length of 135km and there will be a field containing many Top Professional Riders.


Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,