Name: James Hawkins
How long have you been with JRC Shutt Ridley Race Team and what’s your team role?
I joined the JRC Shutt Ridley Race Team in 2019 when a close friend of mine was on the original team and put me in touch. Now I'm the Junior Road Captain for the men’s team and also get to do some work behind the scenes with the logistics and marketing.
How did you start and what races interest you?
I’d been racing since I was very young and I've always really enjoyed it - even when I was turning up to the local crit and getting lapped!
Growing up my favourite race was always at Bradfield. As it's a time trial you don’t feel like you’re racing against people, you’re just going as hard as possible and trying to beat your own PB. I tend to stay away from hill climbs these days but always do Monsal every year as it's such a fantastic event with big crowds - you feel like you're at the Tour!
I’ll get over to Winnats Pass for the Hill Climb National Championships this year seeing as it's so local but 10 mile Time Trials are where it’s at for me at the moment.
2020 was a crazy year. What was your approach to it?
The support from the team has been phenomenal. I used to have some basic training and was enjoying doing OK in races whilst I balanced training and work. Then when the pandemic hit I was put on furlough and was suddenly able to really step up my level and build my fitness with extra coaching from James Roberts.
I really tried to make the most of it, since I was able to dedicate a lot of time. It helped that the Spring weather was really nice as well!
After the first lockdown ended I was able to get to a few time trials and put in good efforts to take some wins. Even with quite a bad crash in Wales (training ride) midway through the year which put me out for a while I was able to take the TT series victory overall.
If I hadn't been furloughed I'm not sure what would have happened to my riding and racing. I really learnt a lot in 2020 and although I'm not claiming to know everything - I certainly understand a lot more and just how much work has to go into this to do well.
How’s 2021 been so far?
I’ve been building back up and 2021 has gone really well so far.
My training has gone up another level again. I’m using power data really well and putting more hours in than ever before. The end result being a more power PB's and seeing a real noticeable difference on the road.
As a team we’re working really well together in races and one that sticks out this year is the Banbury Road Race. We were organised at the front and putting down such a pace that we ended up riding away from the bunch! Just missed out on the win but it was so great being able to put a plan into action and get a result of 5 guys in the top-10.
You’re a beneficiary of the Tom Simpson Memorial Fund - What does that mean to you?
This is a big thing for me. The guy who runs it, Chris Sidwells is one of those people that makes the sport go round. He puts so much effort into it for the love of the sport.
For the last two year now I've been able to take a cash grant from the fund which is made up from donations and the Tom Simpson Memorial Ride. It’s a massive help to me and makes a huge difference.
It’s funding me but also goes towards the maintenance to the memorial on Mount Ventoux and other places in France where Tom was based, etc
It makes racing that bit more special - to have that backing adds an extra level of motivation. It’s a really great thing and one I’m very grateful for.
What races do you have coming up/what are you targeting?
We've had some exciting stuff planned but the big one is Ronde des Vallées, a 2 day/3 stage UCI 2.1 race in August. We're really hoping that still goes ahead given the current situation and restrictions.
Another target is the National Series. We've had a good start as a team at the Junior Tour of Yorkshire and CiCLE Classic.
National Champs of course...
Favourite pro tour rider and race?
I never really thought about it much growing up but a rider for me that really stuck out for me last year was Tao Geoghagen Hart. I followed the 2020 Giro and he comes across as such a down to earth guy. The way he rode it was amazing.
The Giro d’Italia is always unpredictable and has such amazing terrain. I’d love to do some racing in Italy one day.
Favourite ride snack?
Up until last year my nutrition wasn't great... Luckily we have a nutritionist on the team and she has been able to guide me so I'm a lot better/strict with it now.
On the bike I really enjoy the Veloforte stuff which is just amazing. Tastes like proper food so I'm a big fan.
When I get in I’m looking for anything carby. A Sunday roast is a good one followed by a massive sleep of course!
(Favourite 'bonk snack' is those little fizzy watermelon sweets…)
What’s your favourite bit of kit to wear on the bike?
The Roubaix Jersey is up there. Especially this year where the weather has not been so great.
The thing I used all through Winter and Spring is the Shutt Gilet. Waterproof capabilities are top notch and it adds that extra layer. If you see me on a training ride I'll probably be wearing it!
Wishing James Hawkins and the rest of the JRC Shutt Ridley Race Team the very best of luck for the rest of the season!