Part 1 with Genevieve Whitson
We have a 2 part feature with REDCHILLI brand ambassador and Scottish Women’s Road Race Series Champion, Genevieve Whitson. Part 1 is a 5 minute Q&A session where Gen discuses 2017 and looks ahead to 2018. Part 2 will be Gen’s long term review on the Redchilli FR2 that she has raced during 2017 at some of the top Women’s races across the UK, Europe and Canada, proving beyond doubt that our FR2 is indeed, a top notch race frame.
So let’s get started with Part 1, and a Q&A session:
RB: You’ve had a great 2017 race season. Reflecting on the year, how would you sum up 2017?
GW: Fast and furious. My coach and I made the decision to start the season a bit later this year to be better prepared and in April everything exploded. From mid April to mid July I basically had a race every weekend and/or during the week. When you are bunny hoping between 3 continents that gets a bit tiring. It has however been the best season I’ve ever had, things are moving in the right direction and I feel like I am learning and absorbing more each year.
RB: If there was one thing you could have changed about this year’s race season, what would it be?
To be more aggressive in the races and not to wait for things to happen. Racing in Belgium has helped considerably but I think I missed a few opportunities this year by not taking more risks and chances.
RB: What has been your best achievement this year?
GW: I think my last race in Belgium in stage 3 of the Lotto Belgium Tour. The course just got harder and harder and the riders just kept on dropping off. By the 80km mark there were only 60 riders left of a truly world class peloton. To ride into the top 40 after going up the Mur twice was a truly great day for me, especially when you are surrounded by professional riders – I believe I was the only non professional cyclist to finish the race that day.
RB: So now it’s the off season, how does your riding change compared to when you’re competing?
GW: It’s changed a lot. Firstly I didn’t touch the race bike for three weeks and now I am in a transition phase before we start winter miles again. So I am back in the gym doing squats and dead-lifts. During race season I basically don’t go near a gym so it’s always a bit of a shock to the system when I try my first dead-lift in October each year and the legs wobble like jelly…
RB: Do you eat more chocolate during the off season?
GW: Not really. I am definitely not one of those athletes that has a very strict diet all year round, although I am really focused on five plus fruit and veggies a day. I generally believe in healthy moderation all year because if I sustain from foods I like, I am likely to have a terrible binge session at some stage and bitterly regret it!
RB: When and how will you start to train for 2018?
GW: Its basically already started with gym work to support strength training, followed by long base miles, but this year we will be mixing things up to try and get more speed earlier by doing track racing. I am very excited about this because it’s something completely different and I am hoping to be a sponge and soak up as much information as I can.
RB: What are your plans for 2018 and do you have your eyes on any particular races?
GW: 2018 is likely to have a similar outlook as 2017 including a lot of European races. I have my eye on a few spring classics such as Westhoek & Gooik. It would also be a dream come true to compete for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games which take place in Australia in April next year, that really would be amazing.
RB: You’ve been riding REDCHILLI now for 2 years. How have the bikes helped you?
GW: The bikes have helped hugely because they are so durable and comfortable to ride and I’ve been able to enjoy several wins on them – one definitely can’t complain! The FR1 which I was on in 2016 was so powerful on the flat and seemed to be carving its way through the peloton like a rocket. The FR2 which I have been on this year is an incredible all rounder bike, flat, hilly, undulating – it loves everything. I even used it for several time trials and it didn’t disappoint. It does love to climb though, I will say that and it was very handy when the race went up and the sufferfest started….
RB: If you could ride with any Pro rider (past or present) who would it be and why?
GW: It would be either Marianne Vos or Kristen Armstrong. Vos because she has been dominant for so long and there aren’t many who can say that. Her attitude, her enthusiasm for the sport and her passion for supporting women’s cycling is incredible. Armstrong is an inspiration because of her age and achievements. Being an older athlete myself I find women like her to fill me with so much energy to keep going and to keep trying. I would really like to ask Kristen how she managed to win yet another gold medal after having a baby..
RB: Women’s cycling has grown dramatically over the past few years (which is great to see) but how would you like to see women’s cycling progress over the next 5 years?
GW: Going forward we need more media coverage so that potential sponsors can see the value of investing in the teams. This will help support women’s cycling to a place where every rider on a UCI professional team actually gets a wage. I’d also like to see a full women’s Tour de France and equal prize money so that the next generation of female cyclists feel inspired. A lot of people don’t think that women could complete a three week tour, but we need to remember that there was also a time when it was believed a woman could not complete a marathon?! Some big hoops have been jumped through, but we need to keep the momentum up.