To celebrate Women in Sport Week 2017, Scottish Cycling caught up with rider Jesse Mitchell. Relatively new to the cycling scene, Jesse is really making her mark amongst her fellow female cyclists in events on the Scottish Cycling Calendar this year!
Name: Jesse Mitchell
Age: 29 and 3/4 (love this!)
Occupation: PE Teacher
Club/Team: Dooleys RT
Primary cycling discipline: Road
Region: Scottish Cycling West
What got you involved in cycle sport?
I had a reoccurring knee injury in netball that caused me to leave the sport. I fell into cycling through attending spin classes at my local gym. The ‘weekend warriors’ were super encouraging and I thought cycling outside sounded kind of cool!
Me being me though, went straight into it pedaling my first 25 miles around the ‘Equestrian Loop’, sore butt, legs and a rather unfortunate encounter with a carpark barrier and bush left me wanting more.
How long was it from getting on a bike to deciding to race?
In between moving house and renovating it, I would say about a year. I had a serious fall in May 2016 and was off the bike and work for about eight weeks. I was advised that maybe strenuous sports weren’t possibly the best thing- but by that point I had the bug.
I had six weeks until Bute Cycling Festival where my younger brother Tom was racing. I thought we could do the two up time trial together- BIG MISTAKE – a young sprightly 15 year old and me = BLOWING. Anyway I entered the 40 mile APR through some serious persuasion by my dad and won it! – (Tom won the mens APR too!)
What was the deciding factor to start racing your bike?
After Bute I still didn’t think I was good enough and Alan McBride persuaded me to go on a ride, which turned into 175km with Ian Archibald – I was still cheerfully chatting at the end. Next I knew I was doing my first winter Renfrew bunch ride and it grew from there really.
What were your aims going into your first season of racing?
NOT GET DROPPED!!!
How do you feel your first season is going?
OK I think. I still have a huge amount to work on and learn, but I’m enjoying it and that’s the whole point -right?
What do you feel the real benefits of cycle sport are?
Not the tan that’s for sure. I love being outside, discovering new roads and the views you wouldn’t normally appreciate or see. Pushing yourself to the limit and seeing the improvement, socialising- Oh and the cake!
What are your cycling aims for the future?
Ultimately to be the best rider I can be, I’m not sure what that is but I’m keen to find out and keep trying different events to gain experience.
Who is your cycling inspiration and why?
Annemiek van vleuten. I remember watching her crashing in Rio at the Olympics and reading about her in an article getting back to full fitness. It kind of resonated with me.
What is your opinion of womens cycling in Scotland? How would you like to see it develop?
I think it has a good foundation from the little that I have seen; the Scottish Cycling Women’s Road Race Series is a great opportunity for many women to experience progression over the five races.
The more opportunities for females through competitive events, increased publicity and female club rides, I think will encourage a wider field of riders and growth in the sport.
What advice would you give to a fellow female cyclist who is hesitant to get stuck in at events?
Confidence - do it! What have you got to lose? Everybody is racing for different reasons. It’s about achieving your own goals and challenging yourself each time.
If you want to find out more about getting involved please see our website here.