Let’s be honest – none of us know what lies ahead for the summer of 2021. But our riders are training, just as they would ahead of any race season. We asked Jenny Andrews to talk us through her season prep, and what’s keeping her motivated…
The 2020 season didn’t pan out as expected – what were your goals before Covid happened?
Pre covid I was really looking forward to my first season with 1904rt. It was my first time racing in a team with other women and I was looking forward to taking part in the Women’s British Cup races together. Despite the covid restrictions I still managed to get a reasonable amount of racing in, thanks to some excellent Covid-secure event planning from organisers. Time trials, crits and some cyclocross still took place, so I was still able to pull on the team kit for racing.
What are your 2021 goals?
In 2021 I hope (fingers crossed!) to get to some races with team mates. It’s difficult to have fixed goals, not knowing yet which events will go ahead, so I’ll plan in more detail once we know how the restrictions are looking. I just love racing so will do whatever I can across any of the disciplines I love. Ideally, this will be road races and crits with the team. Also, the World Masters cyclocross championships are coming to Ipswich in December 2021, so that’s definitely on the horizon.
How have you stayed motivated?
I just really enjoy riding my bike, so the last year has been a great chance to get out and enjoy rides without the pressure of racing. I’ve enjoyed riding with friends and team-mates when I can, but I’m also happy riding on my own too.
What are your best achievements so far in cycling?
My best achievement so far is probably bronze in the National masters circuit championship in 2019. I’d set this as an objective for the season and training was going well. Then a few weeks before the event I had a freak accident and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to ride. So being able to turn up, focus on the race and dig in when it got really tough feels like a really big achievement.
How did you get into cycling and racing?
I started cycling by joining rides with my local club, CC Ashwell, and pushed myself to improve until I wasn’t getting dropped quite so often. This turned into taking part in time trials, hill climbs and grass track. But I knew I wanted to try road racing, so I went along to a women’s race training session and was instantly hooked! I’d always ridden a bike as a kid but just for fun; I wasn’t even aware of cycling as a sport back then. I think that’s why I love cyclocross so much; it’s just what I did all the time as a kid for fun.
What advice would you give to a potential new racer?
Find a race training session and just give it a go. I spent a long time thinking it wasn’t for ‘people like me’, but it is for everyone.
What’s your favourite way to unwind off the bike?
I really enjoy planning rides and spend a lot of time looking at maps, finding new routes to explore. It’s a great way to get out and see the country.
What’s the best cycling advice you’ve ever been given?
When travelling in Flanders, respect the Belgian beers!
Tell us abut your hardest day on the bike? And – best day on the bike?
The hardest day(s) on the bike I’ve ever had were in the Tour of Malta in 2017. I started the four-day stage race very much as the underdog due to a recent injury, but I slogged away for all four stages and didn’t give up. It motivated me to improve, and I went back in 2018 much stronger. That year I managed a second place on one stage, outsprinting the bunch whilst my now team-mate Mathilde Pauls took the stage win and then the overall GC. Happy smiles on the podium that day.
We’ll be bringing you interviews with more riders in the coming weeks – for now, check out our interview with team manager Michelle Arthurs-Brennan to find out who is on the team for 2021 and what to expect..