Whilst we reported the men’s race, VeloVeritas didn’t make it up to Alyth in time for the Scottish Ladies Road race Championship on Saturday – ‘real life’ stuff got in the way. Sorry ladies. But we did catch up with winner for the second year, Jennifer George (Torelli-Assure-Madison) a day or two after the race; here’s what she had to say to us.
Congratulations, Jennifer – can we start by asking you the basics, how old are you, where are you from and what do you do for a living?
“I’m 36 years-old, born in Glasgow, grew up in Darvel in Ayrshire and now live in South East London.
“I own a coaching company, Go Faster Training Limited; I’m a BC level three road race and time trial coach; I do work with Technogym the fitness equipment company and I’m also a personal trainer.”
How did you get ‘into’ cycling?
“I’ve always been into sport, I have a BSc Hon. in Physiology and Sports Science.
“I was into horse riding when I lived in Darvel but when I moved to London that was curtailed – it’s not like you can take the ponies up the stairs to the flat!
“When I moved to London I started to commute on the bike because it’s the best way to get around.
“One thing lead to another and I joined a cycling club.
“And I did do a wee bit of triathlon but I’m not a great swimmer.
“In the cycling club they were always at me to race, the club secretary took me to a race in 2013 and it all started from there.”
Tell us about your win in the championship.
“There were 10 of us coming in to the finish and on that last tight turn where it kicked up to the dam I attacked, taking Anna Shackley (Edinburgh Road Club, eventual second, ed.) and Beth Harley-Jepson (Team 22, eventual third, ed.) with me.
“Anna attacked, I caught her but she just keep going, which was fine by me!
“The finish straight was pan-flat and dead straight along the top of the Backwater Reservoir dam which suited me perfectly and I won the sprint.”
What did you think of the course?
“I wouldn’t have minded the race being longer, we did five laps of the circuit round Loch Lintrathen whilst the men did an additional two laps around Mount Blair.
“There were two climbs on the circuit, one was into the wind but most of the attacks came on the second climb which curved around the hillside – then it was very fast down off there.”
How have the other results been this year?
“I’ve had a couple of good international results, I was 21st in the GP Cham-Hagendorn in Switzerland in May, that’s UCI 1.2; then ninth in the GP Cycliste de Gatineau in Canada in June, that one is UCI 1.1, so I picked up UCI points there.”
Tell us about your team.
“We have good sponsorship but ride our own bikes, it’s an international team with riders from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Ukraine and we have a good race programme.
“Next month we have a two day stage race in Northern France for example.”
And you have the Women’s Tour of Scotland coming up?
“Yes, I’m very excited about that one, I’m riding on the Scottish National team which is great.
“It’s a beautiful route, Stage One is Dundee to Dunfermline, Stage two is Glasgow to Perth and Stage three is a loop down round the Borders, starting and finishing in Edinburgh with finish laps around Arthur’s Seat.”
Do you ride time trials at all?
“The Thursday before the National Road Race I rode the Ayr Roads ‘10’ – I’m a member of the club and also a member of Dulwich Paragon in London – and was fastest in that on a tough night, I did 22:32 but have a personal of low 21 minutes.
“And I was top 20 in the British Time Trial Championship in June.”
Are you an ‘equipment girl’ or do you just ride what you’re given?
“I pretty much ride what I’m given, my Cervélo S3 is five years old now and everything that’s on it is there for a reason.
“I really love nice bikes – albeit I’m not into discs – but I do have electric gears, the reason being that the cable routing on my model of Cervelo is pretty tortuous and I was breaking rear gear cables – it’s not fun being left with two gears on a regular basis!”
Do you think there’s enough ladies racing in Scotland?
“I don’t live in Scotland so it’s not for me to say but what I would say is that in the UK as a whole, outside The National Series, there’s a shortage of races for first and elite riders, I have to go to Belgium to get races.
“The complaint I have heard from Scottish girls is that the calendar is ‘front loaded’ with races from March to June but then it peters out, so more races later in the season would be good.
“I’d love to show my National Champions jersey off in Scotland but there’s only one more race I can ride, this season north of the border.”
What’s still on Jennifer’s ‘to do’ list?
“I’m looking forward to riding in Scottish colours in the Tour of Scotland but I’d have loved to have ridden in Scottish colours at the Commonwealth Games but I was injured the last time they took place – and the next ones are still a long way away.
“I’d love to ride the Tour of Flanders again, it’s my favourite race, I rode in 2016 and was top 20 until the second from last climb – but back then I didn’t have the endurance I do now.”
With thanks to Jennifer for her time and wishing her the best of luck at the Tour of Scotland – VeloVeritas will be there to watch her progress!