Journals Riders

Rider journals 2020: introducing James Jobber

An eclectic 2020 race programme awaits for the 25-year-old puncheur

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 into Continental and elite level racing, at both home and abroad. So far, we have introduced Jacob Tipper,  Savannah Morgan, Joe Laverick and Joe Nally. Our fifth rider is 25-year-old James Jobber…

James Jobber is a rider following a different path to most aspiring British riders. Whilst many pursue either a domestic or European race calendar, or a mixture of both, James’s race programme is truly international. Last season his racing took him to him to Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada, Romania, Northern Ireland and France, as well as the odd National Road Series race in England.

He put together a solid set of results. A stage win at the Tour of the North – a race won by another of our journal contributors, Jacob Tipper – was followed by 2nd overall at the Tour of Ulster. He finished 6th overall at the Tour of Limpopo (UCI 2.2.) in South Africa and bagged 18th at the East Cleveland Klondike GP.

This season he’ll be racing for a Continental team based in Malaysia, so expects his race programme to similarly eclectic, combining UCI Asia Tour racing with National Road Series races at home.

Progression from last season would be to convert some of my near misses into wins

Before he begins his journal series, we quizzed him to find out more about his 2019 season and how things are shaping up for 2020.

James on his way to winning stage 3 of the Tour of the North, 2019

How would you describe yourself as a rider?

A punchy climber. I’m focusing on developing other aspects of my riding but I seem to naturally be quite explosive and am relatively light.

How would you rate your 2019 season out of 10? And why?

In terms of performances probably an 8 or 9 for the first half of the year. I was in great shape and converting the form into some results I wouldn’t have been capable of previously. 

In the second half of the year, I wasn’t able to achieve what I wanted as a result of mistakes in training and my preparation for races. It was a 10 in terms of learning and development but probably a 4 in terms of performances and results.

Tell us a bit about your situation for 2020. Who are you likely to be riding for, what kind of race programme will you be riding, and where will you be based?

I’ll be racing for a Continental team based in Malaysia for 2020. I’ll be living in the North East of England still but the majority of my calendar will be on the UCI Asia Tour, with some racing across on other continents as well.

How will you be supporting yourself next year?

I’ve got various things on the go which give me the flexibility I need to train and travel for races. I run a coaching business, Upshift Vélo, which is growing rapidly. I also work at the Backyard Bikeshop in Newcastle where I spend most of the time building and selling high-end custom builds and servicing bikes.

The reality of racing at Continental level is that there’s a lot of uncertainty around the calendar

What will your first race be?

I don’t know yet. I will probably use a couple of local races or National Road Series events to sharpen me up before the big stage races start. The reality of racing at Continental level is that there’s a lot of uncertainty around the calendar. The team are applying for several races and, once confirmed, I’ll need to prove I’m fit enough for selection.

James wins stage 3 of the Tour of the North 2019

What are your goals for 2020?

The overriding goal is always to improve my performances compared to the previous season. I guess progression from last season would be to convert some of my near misses into wins at 2.2 level. I had some good opportunities to achieve some big results last year and with a bit of race craft or extra gas, I’d have been in with a shout.

I have spent a lot of time analysing what I could have done better and know what attributes would have helped me in those situations. I would also like to achieve a podium on GC at 2.2 level. I had one bad day at the Tour de Limpopo last year which cost me, but I have gained a lot of depth in my legs and feel like I can now compete over multiple days at that level. I am aware I’m yet to achieve a big result on the UK scene as well and a couple of the races suit my attributes pretty well so, depending on how it ties in with the UCI stuff, I may be targeting the National Road Series.

Featured photo: Sharon McFarland

Find out more

James on Twitter

James on Instagram

James’ coaching business, Upshift Vélo