Q & A: James Jenkins (Richardson Trek)

Winning four races in eight days in August; James Jenkins of Richardsons Trek had a good 2019 including 7th at Ryedale GP – we quiz him on the season and much more. Thank you James!

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Q & A: James Jenkins (Richardson Trek)

What does it mean to you to ride for a team as long-standing as this one?
James: I live a five-minute walk from Richardsons Cycles (a bike shop owned by Erik Richardson, our leading sponsor), so to be involved in the team is extra special for me. Andy and Dean (the two DSs) of the team also used to race for my old club (Southend Wheelers) so I have a very close relationship with the team and its history.

James finishing 7th ahead of Matt Holmes and Sam Culverwell in the Ryedale GP

Where are you based in the UK?
James: King’s Cross, London during my uni term time and Essex during the holidays

What is your favourite training area where you are based?
James: Not much can beat an easy spin along the seafront, with a stop at Rossi’s Ice Cream parlour on the way back for a Flake 99

What are your 2019 highlights?
James: At the end of August, I went through a bit of a purple patch, winning four races in eight days. That was pretty special.

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What was the most fun/enjoyable race you did in 2019?
James: Have to give a shout out to Owen Lake at Monument Cycles for the Saffron Walden GP here. An incredibly well-run event in Essex, where I was joined on the podium by my teammate, Isaac Mundy aka ‘The Eternal Second Place’.

What was the toughest race you did in 2019?
James: Probably, the South Coast Classic. It was just brutal from the start and probably blew my doors three or four times that afternoon!

Favourite type of race, road race or crit?
James: I am not very fussy. I will race whatever. Although that being said, I seem to do fairly well in a tough rolling road race.

Do you have a usual role in a race like being in breaks etc or freedom to just race …
James: Andy always wants two guys in every move, even if you are the only rider from the team at the race! I just try to race aggressively, with my head and make a call on the road.

In National A road races and crits, are they quite physical between riders?
James: When I started doing them in 2017 and 2018 you would often get bullied and looked down on by the ‘professional’ riders, however this season it has been different. Richardsons-Trek and other amateur teams and riders have been competing at the sharp end of the races against the ‘pros’ and are now treated with a bit more respect.

Any scary moments in 2019 in races?
James: Ploughing into a bollard 1.5km to go in the 3 days of Cherbourg. Fortunately, it was plastic and hollow so folded down. I was already bracing for impact!

Above: A win at the Saffron Walden Mens Grand Prix – Photo @sfblackwell

Going back to a team car – how much effort does that require or is it quite easy jumping from car to car etc
James: Some of the ‘pro’ teams and commissaries aren’t always the most helpful when moving back through the convoy, so unless there is something I desperately need I try to avoid going.

Has the serious training begun already this winter?
James: Yep! I don’t think you can lose much form over the winter nowadays. Everyone seems to be at least 95% fitness all year round.

Are your winter training days structured or is it just riding to maintain fitness for now?
James: Unfortunately, because I am generally quite short of time, my sessions have to be structured. Especially during the week, but on the weekends I might get out on a group ride or on my MTB.

Do you do any type of racing in the winter?
James: This winter I have started doing the odd running race just to help build a bit of bone strength and also to break the monotony of winter miles.
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How do you manage the training around Uni?
James: I am currently studying maths at University College London, which takes up quite a lot of my time. Additionally, I work part-time in Tescos, as living in London and pursuing cycling is not particularly cheap! I have a very close relationship with my coach, Steve Skuse, and together we fit my training around my busy life. I did notice over the summer, however, the benefits of rest, a luxury, unfortunately, I don’t have most of the year.

What is your favourite race in the UK and why?
James: Tekkerz Crit X. Alec Briggs put the event on at Herne Hill in August with the idea that anyone, on any bike can compete. When British Cycling is so rigid and stuck in the past, competing in an event like this is a real breath of fresh air.

Are there things you would like to see changed about the race calendar in the UK?
James: Not have 90% of the prems in the deep, cold north

Do you spend more time training indoors in the winter than in the summer?
James: Unfortunately, yes. I miss taking my road bike places it shouldn’t go due to the mud and dirt. In the summer you can pretty much ride wherever on it!

Warm weather training camps or grin and bear the British winter…
James: When you grow up on the Essex Riviera, that is all you need

When do you expect your 2020 season to begin?
James: Probably early March. The team usually pick a fish’n’chipper and send a full squad just for a bit of a laugh.

Finally, what races in 2020 are ones you really want to work towards being part of?
James: Hopefully, the team and I will have the opportunity to compete in the Three Days of Cherbourg again. We were filled by french patisserie and cream this year and can’t wait to go back. The level of organization over there from the governing body really puts British Cycling to shame. It was the first time in a race I had any idea of what it might be like in the pro peloton on the continent.

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