Q & A: James Gullen


Question and answer with one of the fastest time trialists in Britain and winner of a stage in the RAS James Gullen who rode for Pedal Heaven in 2016 and will be a man in black in 2017 with JLT Condor

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Q & A: James Gullen

Question and answer with one of the fastest time trialists in Britain and winner of a stage in the RAS who rode for Pedal Heaven in 2016 and will be a man in black in 2017 with JLT Condor


1. What was the highlight of 2016 for you and why?
James: My stage win in the RAS. We went there with the ambition of winning a stage and then to pull it off was brilliant. It was one of the key stages into Dingle and was really nice to repay the team and staff for all their hard work.

2. What was your favourite/most fun race of 2016
James: In the UK, I’d have to say the Lincoln GP. The crowds were unreal and it’s something special going up Michaelgate listening to all the cheers. The RAS in Ireland was also a great experience. We had such a laugh on the road together, that trip will stay with me forever.

3. What was the toughest race of 2016 for you and why?
James: In terms of conditions, the Tour of the Reservoir was the toughest. It was so cold and grim I couldn’t feel my hands for most of it but in terms of sheer effort, probably Wilton GP. I was away solo for 20 minutes before Foxy, Bibby and Matt Holmes jumped across and then I had to bury myself for Will. It’s the deepest I’ve been in a while!


On the podium (left) with  Alex Dowsett and Ryan Perry

4. If there was one thing you learned most in 2016 to help you go faster in a time trial, what was that?
James: To remember how important pacing is. In most low pressure time trials, I get it right and even in the British National TT, I set off nice and steady where it almost feels too easy for the first half. However at the National 10, with the pressure I had and the fact it’s so short, I made the mistake of going out a bit hard and paying the price. You learn from these things though and it makes you better the next time.

5. What is the best piece of equipment for a time trial you are proud of most?
James: All of my TT kit this year has been mint. After doing some research, my local bike shop The Edge Cycleworks helped me sort a Trek Speed Concept TT bike. It’s all so well integrated from the front, there’s just nothing there. It’s a bit of a weapon.

6. What is your warm up routine for a time trial rollers or turbo? Music or no music?
James: If I know the area and there are roads available, I prefer to do a spin on the road with a few short efforts. Turbo’s are great when there is nowhere to go but I always feel like you get bogged down on a turbo and can make it feel like you have bad legs when in fact they are fine. If I’m on the turbo, I will put music on, mainly to stop me being distracted.


7. Would you say your time trialling moved up a level and if so, what do you think you have done to help that happen?
James: I think so, in terms of form, I had a slight increase but most of my gains this year were down to the other details which are just as important. Time trials are like an arms race now so having a bike/helmet/skinsuit on par with my competitors was a start. Then my friend David Allonby is very clued up with aero testing so we did some runs at a local outdoor velodrome (when the weather was good) and managed to make a few positional modifications that way.

8. Will you be going to Oz with the team or staying in the British winter and soldiering on LoL?
James: Yes I will be in the Oz team targeting the Sun Tour at the start of Feb.

9. When will you start training for 2017 and what comes first – long steady miles or a mix of miles and efforts?
James: I have already started training under the wing of Tim Kennaugh, the team’s coach. We had to start a little earlier this year due to the early racing programme in Oz. It’s a good mix of efforts and miles at the moment building up to the Sun Tour.
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10. Do you use a special winter bike with mudguards etc or are using a normal race like training bike?
James: Just a standard road bike like I would use in summer. Mudguards are great for keeping dry but that eternal rubbing sound drives me nuts.

11. What are the goals for 2017?
James: To improve on this year and with the stage racing opportunities with JLT, I would like to see how I go in those with a little more experience. I think the National 10 is local to me this year so it would be nice to finally win a Championship after three silvers in different events over the last few years…

12. On winter roads, your favourite tyre is in training?
James: I use Continental GP4000 II. I don’t find they puncture any more than a ‘sturdier’ winter tyre and if they do, it is more than made up for with the grip on greasy roads.

13. You said you were using clinchers in TTs … what type do you use and can you feel a difference between them and racing on the Conti tubs?
James: I think for road racing, tubs will still win out as you can ride them flat until a team car comes and you can run mega low pressures for cobbles and wet crits but for pure speed like a timetrial, clincher technology has surpassed tubulars now. I use a 23mm Supersonic on the front and a 25mm GPTT on the rear with latex innertubes. The claimed rolling resistance is lower than tubs and I find the grip on par.

14. Finally, when you learnt JLT Condor was going to sign you, what was the reaction? What’s the best thing about going to such a big team – stage racing perhaps?
James: I was really happy to be asked with so much talk of teams folding and so much uncertainty, it was nice to get the call. The race programme is what excited me the most and when I heard who else had been signed, it’s great to be a part of such a strong squad.



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