Rides of the Year: Jo Tindley (Crit Champ)

It was one of the ‘rides’ of the year when Jo Tindley solo’d to victory in the Circuit Race Championships on her ‘home’ circuit of Lincoln – here’s a Q&A with the champion!

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Rides of the Year: Jo Tindley (Crit Champ)

It was quite simply one of the rides of the year in 2021. Jo Tindley secured a stunning solo victory at the British Circuit Championships in her home city of Lincoln. Tindley (Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen) led solo from almost the start of the race and looked assured throughout, with her lead never falling below 20 seconds, while the chasing bunch behind were unable to effectively work together to claw back the deficit.

Having previously worked behind the bar in the pub overlooking the finish line, the hometown rider knew every twist and turn of the technical circuit and crossed the line 1:12 ahead of CiCLE Classic and Curlew Cup winner, and World Tour pro, Abi Smith. Jo’s teammate Corinne Side was third. Speaking after the race, Tindley said: “If you’re going to do it, you want to do it in front of a home crowd, don’t you? There was quite a lot of drive that kept me going, but it’s not sunk in just yet. There are some really good sprinters in the group, and having done some other races this year I knew I couldn’t just handle them, so for me it was either whittling it down and making one big move. There’s not a lot of rest on this circuit, so I knew I could potentially get away. When the gap happened quite early I had to commit to it, I had no other option.”

“I used to work at the pub just here so I know the finish line very well from looking out of the window at it. You always dream it – it’s pretty special.”

That victory was on October 15, so over a month ago now so the first question to Jo was, ‘has the Circuit Race Championship victory sunk in yet?’
Jo: If I’m honest, no. I think because the season stopped right after the nationals, it just feels like everything has stopped. I felt a little over whelmed the week after it from such a high to just nothing; no training or no structure as it was right into the off season. It’s something I have never experienced before and I felt a little lost.

Q: Now the season is over, is there an element of sadness and wishing their were more race days or were you ready for a break mentally and physically?
Jo: A little sadness yes. It would have been nice to have raced after the nationals, however, I do feel it has been a long season so do appreciate and understand the need for a break.

Q. What is the most pleasing aspect of that victory for you?
Jo: I think the way it all panned out really, it was the way the team worked and winning solo from a very early move is pretty unusual.

Q. Anaylsing the race, how did your teammates help you when you were off the front focused on staying clear?
Jo: The team played a blinder! The way they rode is something I have never seen at a National champs before. Every rider was fully committed to the plan. Every move someone made had one of our girls in it so it must have been pretty frustrating for everyone but it was pretty special to watch back. To top it off, Corinne getting 3rd and being on the podium with me was very special.

Q. Were you more focused than usual for the championship knowing the roads so well?
Jo: Yes. Although I knew the roads, I only looked at the course two times, as I knew it wouldn’t race the way it rode on recces due to the cars and it all being open to traffic. I couldn’t get a feel for the course. However, I knew I did have something missing. I needed to work on my mindset for this race. About four weeks out from the nationals, I started working with Phil from Pro-Noctis (who is Ed Clancy’s Performance coach) so I went into the race the most focused and mentally prepared I have ever been.

End of lap 1 and Jo is second wheel! The rest is history LoL

Q. Do you look back and knowing the strength of the riders behind you, gain yet more motivation knowing, yes, I can do this and here’s proof…
Jo: I have never had issues with motivation, it was more self belief. I look back and think ‘I need to change again to beat them.’ The one thing I love about racing is that you have to keep adapting and evolving. I can’t go into the next Crit and get away with riding like that again so it’s time to sit down and re-evaluate.

Q. Was there any special training for that championship or just your usual diet?
Jo: I said to my coach Dean Downing that I needed more ‘Grunt’ as I call it (Dean totally understood what I meant😂). I had three second places in a row at the Tour Series, so Dean and I sat down and worked on a plan to get that grunt! I also had a plan on how I was going to race the crit, and we trained specifically for this.

Q. Did that victory help make the season your most memorable yet?
Jo: Absolutely. The season started a little on the rocky side for me after a big decision to change teams. The win then made a huge U turn in my season.

Q. In a season of time trials in 2020, were you extra motivated for the racing that was on offer in 2021?
Jo: I feel my motivation has been the same really. I don’t hide the fact I am a bike racer, so the prospect of a season with no racing was quite scary. Dean kept me motivated and in a great place in 2020, so feel I was coming into this season feeling the same as any other season.

Jo with her coach, British legend Dean Downing

Q: As well as the Crits champs, there was a long breakaway with Danni Shrosbree at the Barnsley Road Races; have you found your endurance in 2021 to be the best ever?
Jo: I think fitness all round has been better for me. This is my first real race season being coached by Dean. I do feel that being a good Crit racer transfers across to road racing, where as being a good road racer doesn’t necessarily transfer across to crits.

Q: At what point in the season did you start to feel it was going to be a special year?
Jo: As soon as I made the move to Pro-Noctis – Redchilli Bikes – Heidi Kjeldsen, I knew straight away I had made the right decision as being in the right environment is key.

Q: Was the result in the Road Race championship at Lincoln a very special one too looking at the riders behind you, and on top of that hour off the front in the Circuit Race Championships on your own full gas only two days before.
Jo: It’s quite funny actually. Everyone I speak to says ‘well done on the Crit, but what a ride in the road race’. Looking back at it, it was a great result. Considering the way the Crit panned out, I sat at 2 watts and 2 BPM off my threshold for an hour and eight mins, so it was big effort. We had also had a team get together after the crit so pizza, Prosecco and a late night. I didn’t take any caffeine on the Friday knowing I needed to at least try and get some sleep for the road race on the Sunday. I think it just showed that positioning was key in the road race which I knew it would be, and I made the split due to that. Each lap, I had to make sure I was at the front at the bottom of Michealgate, as I was loosing a fair amount of time on it each lap. You could see me getting closer and closer to my stem!

The Women’s Barnsley Road Race and Jo and Danni Shrosbree broke away and were never seen again!

Q: Besides the Championship races, what other highlights stand out for you in 2021?
Jo: The Tour Series and the East Midlands Champs. I had only been working with Phil for a week or so before the East Mid champs and it was the first I time put to use what we had been working on and something just clicked. I won solo by over four minutes.

Q: We’re into the off season, does all the success help make training in the winter easier
Jo: I have never really struggled with this. I guess riding out in the Champs jersey will give me bigger smile.

Q: What are the goals for 2022?
Jo: I think to continue the success of the team. We have a few exciting new riders and I think as long as we are all having fun and happy, our results will keep coming.

Q. The team were also successful in the national road series – does that team victory strengthen the bond between the riders and help keep them motivated to stay within a winning team?
Jo: I think so. It was a surprise win for us. We really thought CAMs had it sewn up so it wasn’t an aim of ours. We drew equal in the Tour series and lost it because of a crash so it was on count back, so to take the National Series was good, and brought us closer together.

Q. Was the shortened season still enough racing to make you feel you have had a plenty of racing in 2021?
Jo: The season wasn’t shortened for me. I had elite exemption as I was at Pro-Conti level at the start of the year, so I was out racing in March-April with races like Amstel Gold, so I feel like I have had a longer season then normal.

Tour Series team leaders after round 2 and they finished on the same points as winners Cams Basso

Q: As far as I know, you work in between training and racing, so how difficult is it to combine work with racing at national level?
Jo: I graduated from a three year degree course during the first lockdown so was studying, working at The Coffee Chain and doing sports therapy. I had set out to be a sports therapist, with the idea of fitting work around training, which worked really well when COVID wasn’t in the way.

However during the last lock down, I became a coach using my last little bit of my savings and starting working within Downing Cycling. This was a huge life line for me that came at the right time. Since then, I have closed my sports therapy clinic and started a role within Pro-Noctis. This will allow me to work but still train at a high level. I am so grateful for the opportunity’s that have come my way.

Q: Finally, wearing those champion stripes in crits in 2022, will that bring back the memories of that day you won and how you won, and give you that extra bit of mental strength as you take on the best again and again in 2022?
Jo: It will certainly give me more self-belief. One thing I am really looking forward to is how having those stripes will change the dynamics of racing for me. I will have to think more tactically and change things if I am going to win, so I think I am more excited about the challenge of what the stripes will bring, and of course I will wear them with immense pride.

Thank you to Jo for doing the Q&A, big congratulations on a huge year and good luck for 2022!


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