In 2020 we are welcoming a new batch of riders to our rider journal series. We have picked six riders to give us an insight to life as a Continental or elite level rider, home and abroad. We’ll be introducing each rider over the next few days. First up is Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling‘s Jacob Tipper…
Fast man Jacob Tipper was one of our domestic riders to watch in 2019. He started the year after a successful season riding for the Memil CCN Pro Cycling team. He had scored stage victories in the Tour de Maroc (UCI 2.2) and the Tour of Qinghai Lake (2.HC) and was an established part of the successful Huub Wattbike track team. But, by his own admission, his season didn’t go quite the way he planned.
2019 probably ended up being more of a transitional year for me, although that wasn’t the plan
Next year he’ll ride once again for Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling and hopes that finding a better balance between work and training can help him rediscover the kind of form that saw him winning UCI races in 2018.
Before he begins his rider journal journey with us, we asked him a few questions to find out how he rated his season this year, and what’s in store for 2020…
How would you describe yourself as a rider?
I would like to say ‘sprinter’, although that is normally just code for someone who is s**t at climbing! I do think whilst not being great at climbing may still apply to me, sprinting is a genuine strength of mine. I just have to be going well enough to get to the finish in a sharp enough shape to use it.
How would you rate your 2019 season out of 10? And why?
2019 probably ended up being more of a transitional year for me, although that wasn’t the plan. I already ran my coaching business fairly successfully, working with 20-30 clients at a time, varying from international athletes to sportive riders. But I also took it upon myself to get a more concrete job and experience by working as ‘Head of Cycling’ at HUUB Design. I maybe somewhat underestimated the additional responsibilities and it came as a bit of a shock to the system. These few extra plates did become a bit overwhelming at times and I think that did reflect in the form.
Out of 10, I would maybe give it a 5. I at least kept my elite racing licence for the 7th straight year. And I didn’t actually crash once! (I normally plan for at least 2-3 get downs a year).
Tell us a bit about your situation for 2020. Will you be juggling racing with work?
Nothing has really changed from 2019 other than I’ve cut my commute down from 35 minutes to 3 minutes by moving to the centre of Derby.
The plan will simply be what I tried to do last year, just executed a lot better! No answering emails while riding, getting into better sleep routines, getting back on top of my nutrition. It’s nothing sexy or game-changing. I would love to say I’ve discovered a new amazing training method of starting every ride with 13 x 24 second max sprints, and now I only eat seeds and avocado before 1pm. But really it’s just focusing on the basics that an athlete needs and working out the coping mechanisms to do so amongst a slightly less conventional schedule.
And what about the track with Huub Wattbike – will that still be a focus?
Thanks to the UCI, like our trade team, track is now dead to me.
In all fairness it was becoming more of a struggle, I well and truly could not keep up in anything, team pursuit wise. Whilst I would like to remind people I did do a 4-lap turn while helping us through to the finals of the Belarus World Cup in 2018, so I wasn’t terrible, I just wasn’t 3.53/3.51 or even world record material.
Without cutting my calves off it was always going to be a struggle to make our starting line-up
Even if I had trained better/harder/smarter I still needed either 10% more power or 10% more aero, so without cutting my calves off it was always going to be a struggle to make our starting line-up. I had hoped the scratch race maybe another avenue for success, but it’s honestly a hell of a lot more aerobic than you think, and I just wasn’t making efficient use of training time by doing track sessions or track league. They needed to be paired with a bit more volume that at the time I was just struggling with the balance of.
Do you know what your first road race will be next year?
I’m not actually sure yet. In my head, somewhere warm with flat sprint stages would be the dream, but in all honesty, it’s more likely to be round a trading estate in the rain making me question my life choices.
The team are still waiting for UCI races to start accepting entries, and for British Cycling to publish next year’s calendar. I can only assume it will be the start of March, as with every season. So right now my winter training won’t change while I just focus on developing some of the aerobic endurance I’ve potentially lacked the last couple of seasons.
Reliability trials also start in February so those non-official road races will likely be my first and potentially hardest hit out of the season!
What are your goals for 2020?
I’ve got them all written down, but I probably don’t want to air them too publicly.
A rough outline would be bettering my best National Road Series/Premier Calendar result, getting back on a UCI podium, and managing to keep my girlfriend happy without having to buy her a cat (or whichever animal she happens to be interested in at the time).
Featured photo: James Huntly
Find out more
Jacob on Twitter.
Jacob on Instagram.
Jacob’s coaching business.