In Conversation With: Jess Morgan

We caught up with female cyclist and Community Manager at Rapha, Jess Morgan, for some tips ahead of the Rapha Women's 100 next weekend. Jess shares our love for active living and this is her fourth year competing in the race. We chatted about what keeps her motivated and her top tips for taking part.
How long have you been cycling?

I started cycling in 2008 because I was a broke student in London and needed a way to get around that was cheaper than the tube and quicker than the bus. I got a beat-up mountain bike for £5 which got me from A to B for a few months, but after that got stolen I got a beautiful single-speed bike and met some people from the London fixed gear community, which is when I started to see cycling as more than just transport. I started working at Rapha in 2012, which is when I got more interested in road cycling and started track cycling at Herne Hill Velodrome in 2014 which is when I first dipped my toe into racing. I've been living and breathing cycling since then!

What does the Women's 100 mean for you?

My first Women's 100 was in 2014 and I've helped organise Women's 100 rides every year since then. It's so rewarding to see women completing the distance for the very first time, achieving a distance they may have considered out of their reach perhaps only months earlier. It's very empowering, it inspires the confidence to keep pushing the boundaries of what you think you're capable of. I've seen women go from completing the Women's 100 to racing at a high level just a few years later. It can be a great springboard. What's nice is that those women often come back to the Women's 100 to support other women who are starting out in their cycling journey.

How do you stay motivated with your training?

Riding with others is a great way to enjoy training rides, as the miles go by much faster when you're having a great chat. Also, if you've committed to riding with friends or joining an organised ride, you feel more accountable and are less likely to snooze your alarm when it goes off early on Sunday morning! Keeping it consistent also helps, making riding a regular part of your lifestyle whether that's commuting to work, riding to the shops or pub or doing short social rides as well as longer distances means your body gets used to being on a bike and you get stronger without really thinking about it.

What are your top tips for people taking part?

When it comes to training, don't plan just one big ride per week, which can feel intimidating. It's better to do several shorter rides spread across the week. For the day, make sure you eat and drink enough, don't wait until you're hungry or thirsty to do it! So much about the ride is pacing yourself at the beginning, don't get carried away and ride faster than you can sustain for the whole ride, and keep fuelling right to the end. Having a bag of easy to eat sweets in your pocket that you can share is always a winner because you can also make sure your riding buddies are eating too!

Follow Jess: Instagram